Thursday, September 29, 2005

There's Nothin' Left to do but Smile, Smile, Smile ...

Republican House Majority Leader Tom Delay Indicted on Corruption Charges

For anyone who has spent anytime in Republican controlled Washington, D.C., especially in the past 5 years, the news that former House Majority Leader Tom "the Hammer" Delay was indicted on several counts of criminal conspiracy had to illicit a wide smile.

The man who has called the Environmental Protection Agency the "Gestapo of the federal government" and has run roughshod over our democratic processes and traditions truly ruled by the Machiavellian theory that it is better to be feared than loved. Unfortunately for Mr. Delay, the rule of law still exists outside of the chambers of the House of Representatives. District Attorney Ronnie Earle has a history of prosecuting corrupt elected officials of both parties (12 of his 15 indictments have been of Democrats) and fighting against abuses of power. Rest assured, the extremist Republicans of Washington will attempt to paint Mr. Earle as a partisan with an ideological agenda. But the American public is above such manipulations of the truth and will only stand for the pot calling the kettle black so many times.

As for the question, "what should progressives, independents, Democrats do in reaction to this news?" I say we should turn to an unlikely source of wisdom ... Jerry Garcia, the late leader of the Grateful Dead, used to sing "there's nothin' left to do but smile, smile, smile." That sounds like a fine strategy by me.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

The Corner Office

For too long, the office of the Governor of Massachusetts has served as a stepping stone for politicians who have focused their gaze beyond the problems of the Commonwealth that elected them. This trend must stop. Massachusetts is too great a state, with too deep a tradition of inspirational progressive leaders, to continue to serve as a jumping off point for politicians, who promise one thing to the voters and deliver another, if anything at all.

In the 2006 gubenatorial election, the voters of Massachusetts will be presented with a choice between two candidates. It is the belief of this humble citizen of the Commonwealth that the best candidate to represent the Democratic party in that contest, and win, is Attorney General Tom Reilly.

Since graduating from Boston College Law School in 1970, Mr. Reilly has dedicated himself to public service and speaking out for those in our society who lack a voice. Whether it was as a young graduate working for South Boston legal services, or taking innovative steps to promote community based solutions to crime as Middlesex District Attorney and Massachusetts Attorney General, Mr. Reilly has continually shown his commitment to the greater good of the Commonwealth.

The praise for Mr. Reilly, especially in his time as Attorney General, has been wide and far ranging, but that is not what impresses and inspires those who have chosen to support his candidacy. Mr. Reilly, despite his electoral success and well deserved praise, has maintained a modest and humble demeanor. Unlike the current resident of the corner office (and his heir apparent), Mr. Reilly understands the strains that working men, women and families throughout the Commonwealth feel. He understands that the good, hard working people of the Commonwealth are not asking for the world, but they are asking for a Governor who can relate to their lives and respond to their needs.

Attorney General Tom Reilly has dedicated his life to the best interests of the Commonwealth. He is a man of unquestionable integrity, unshakeable resolve, and unmatched commitment to the values we citizens of the Commonwealth cherish. If we are to move Massachusetts forward in a progressive manner, Mr. Reilly should be the Democratic nominee and ultimately the Governor of Massachusetts.


Idealism without illusions is about leadership. It is about dedication to public service and commitment to the common good above all else. It is about making decisions that will be unpopular from time to time, both with supporters and with the opposition, but holding to that course because it is in the best interest of the community, the commonwealth, or the nation.

Too often, in our current political environment, "leaders" put their finger in the air to determine their values. They test the polls and talk to the interest groups, to avoid a misstep. This is not leadership, it is timidity.

If we are to move forward in progressive manner, our leaders must be able to make tough choices and take difficult stances. FDR pushed through the New Deal, while conservative voices in Congress told him government intervention would make things worse. Harry Truman gave the first speech by an American president to the NAACP, saying full civil rights and freedom must be guaranteed for all Americans, much to the chagrin of Southerners in both parties. And LBJ pushed through comprehensive civil rights, voting rights, housing and poverty legislation, all to the dismay of those who believed that social inequity was natural and could not be alleviated by government action.

Leadership, especially at the highest levels, has the ability to move society in a more fair and just direction. Leadership also acknowledges that the movement towards a more just society does not happen over night. It requires vision, commitment, effort and dedication. This is the type of leadership we need from our elected officials today, and we must demand it.