Massachusetts Democrats a Symbol of Why the Party Loses

Hello, my name is Rob and I am politically disenfranchised. When I go to the voting polls my choices are between Republicans, the selfish and savage minions of Wall Street, and Democrats, the foolish and idiotic mouthpieces of Nowhere.

I live in Massachusetts, putatively one of bluest states in what is often referred to as the Union. I assume the word “Union” is meant to be ironic. Ha ha! It’s almost as funny as terms like “representative” and “The People.”  I don’t mean to sound bitter; I’m actually very sad, because these days "democracy" is just a comfortable lie we tell ourselves.

I won’t write about the Clown in the White House or his Reign of Error. Nor is there much I can add to what has already been said about the systematic ways in which Republicans pander to greed, mephitic social irresponsibility, and mind numbing disregard for the very future of the planet. I expect this from the Republicans. I also expect Democrats to behave like Franklin Roosevelt, not George W. Bush with better grammar. Silly me.

It’s pretty obvious that Democrats are incapable of ruling. I’m not just talking about the four recent Congressional elections they managed to lose to candidates defending the most indefensible politician since Joe McCarthy. I’ve grown accustomed to the fact that Democrats could lose to an eight-year-old write-in candidate if Nancy Pelosi endorsed the Democrat.   

The problem is so simple that the same eight-year-old could grasp it: Democrats don’t believe in democracy any more than Republicans do, but they’re not as good at hiding that fact. Let me illustrate with a case from the Blue Bay State. Last fall a voter referendum did something the Massachusetts General Court (our name for the legislature) had refused to do for years: it legalized recreational marijuana. The same referendum, which is supposed to have the weight of law, placed a maximum 12% tax on pot and placed into the hands of local voters the decision over whether individual towns could ban sales or farms.   Call it grassroots politics, with all intended wordplay.

Before continuing, let me state that I am not a pot smoker. I have never used any drug that didn’t come with an Rx on the label; when you grow up in an alcoholic family, getting high is not a phrase that rings with romantic allure. I’m neither pro- nor anti-pot. I get cross, though, when someone bogarts democracy. The voter intent couldn’t be more clear—done deal.

Except it’s all gone up in smoke thus far. From Day One, Democrats have tried to undo voter will, even though Republican Governor Charlie Baker has signaled his willingness to sign a bill into law. That gesture shouldn’t be necessary in the first place—the whole damn point of a citizens’ referendum is that elected politicians don’t get to say. A word on Massachusetts politics: Democrats control the House by a 124-36 majority and the Senate by 34-6. There is no worry that the GOP can sandbag anything, not even with a gubernatorial veto. Nonetheless, Democrats tried to nullify the referendum altogether, a move that not surprisingly met with so many challenges that they backed off. Next came the successful effort to delay implementation of legal marijuana, which was supposed to happen this fall, but will be delayed for another six-twelve months.

Plenty of time to file amendments—more than a hundred so far, many filed by local pols that seem to think that the Catholic Church elected them, not ordinary voters. The current House version slaps a 28% tax on cannabis, a figure that probably won’t pass legal muster, but who knows? The House bill also gives control over local sales and farming to local officials, not voters. Is the real intent  simply to bog down everything until these fools can wrestle away the last semblance of mass democracy? I’d like to say that Senate leader Stan Rosenberg of Amherst has taken the lead in calling out the House. Alas, Rosenberg, who was a champion of local power before he became Senate leader, has joined the Glad-Hand Brigade and become a player. In lay terms, he  has morphed into Mister Waffle.

I'm not sure what will be the final fate of recreational pot in Massachusetts. That’s not the point. Democrats are supposed to represent the will of the masses, but they have no clue who or what the masses are anymore. They have become empty suits that wring their hands with other empty suits when they frequently assemble to dissect why they’ve lost still another election. And they still have no clue.

To all Democrats: Don’t ask me to get excited about your latest vacuous Madison Ave-style ad. Don’t call and ask for a donation unless you want to hear me say, “Political donations are not tax-deductible because politicians are not charities.” Maybe I’ll the word “charitable” to that rant as well. Don’t tell me I have to cast my vote so the Wall Street savages don’t win. Don’t bother, because I’m not sure it’s worth my effort to vote for anyone. I’m disenfranchised.  

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