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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Unrealistic expectation

Deval Patrick became a depository of hopes and dreams when he was elected. He is now seeing a lot of withdrawals, from people frustrated when things don't happen overnight.

You can never downplay the hurt and anger of parents who lost a child through a senseless act, and so Kim Odom was speaking from a broken heart when she lashed out at Patrick for failing to come calling like Boston's political and police leadership after her son was gunned down.

But simply put, it's not his job. He is the Governor of Massachusetts, not the Governor of Boston. Unlike Mayor Tom Menino and Police Commissioner Edward Davis it's not his job to protect the streets and citizens of Boston. His charge is broader.

This isn't the first time Patrick has been called out for not coming to call. After all, politicians are supposed to play the game. Patrick clearly has shown either a discomfort or disdain for that gain.

Had Patrick shown up to pay his respects, he would no doubt have been accused of grandstanding.

As Dorchester activist Lew Finfer notes, the expectations are higher because Patrick is not Weld, Cellucci or Romney. Patrick is also not the great liberal hope he was made out to be.

He is a man who is shaped by his background -- which included not only the mean streets of Chicago but the boardrooms at Texaco and Coca-Cola.

His election was an inspiration, but it was not a cure-all, a delivery from 16 years of indifferent Republican governors and seven years of a Washington administration that clearly values only the lives of the unborn.

The death of Steven Odom was senseless. So were the deaths of hundreds of other young men and women who die in the streets of Boston and around the nation because of laws that encourage gun ownership, even by those who have no business owning them.

Deval Patrick can't fix that. As much as we may want him to.

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