Thursday, September 23, 2010

Here come the warm jets

The news this morning was that the Republican Governors' Association will be releasing their latest multi-million dollar ad campaign targeted directly on Deval Patrick. Up to now the cross hairs had been on Tim Cahill, the more tactically immediate target. Of course Cahill's punishment has been much deserved —he has agreed with virtually every policy stance the RGA advocates. He needed to be dealt with.

But now we're going whole hog for the big prize.

I actually don't have a working television, so I'll probably be spared most of the onslaught —and maybe I am being unfair about a sight as yet unseen— but somehow I doubt we are going get a lot new from the next barrage —much else beside 'he-raised-taxes-spent-wastefully-rinse-and-repeat'.

Nevertheless, here they come.

As I mentioned on an earlier post, I spent a good amount of time at the polls on September 14th, holding a sign for a candidate I supported in the primary. What I didn't mention in my earlier post, and what I have been stirring around in my head (a.k.a. 'the crockpot') ever since, was the conversation I had there in the waning hours with an obvious Charlie Baker supporter (the large sign was a dead give away). I've known and liked this person for years. We met literally within hours of our moving our family to Holliston and we felt warmly welcomed then and there when we did.

We hadn't stopped to chat in a while and we actually had quite a pleasant and interesting conversation. I don't think my Deval Patrick support was any less obvious (the button on my shirt being a dead give away) and so the discussion went to the subject of how to accommodate our differences, how to make them less personally contentious and get ourselves back to that place where debating our differing views and approaches was about something more than merely winning a contest.

We each told stories of our family backgrounds, our personal traditions of argument and activism. We each of us described what we believed in as a previous better way, where beyond the magnetic pull of the poles at the extreme there was some room for reasonable moderates to find compromise and consensus.

If we agreed on anything for sure it was that we should all work on making and taking the attacks less personally. Oh, and we agreed on one other thing —and that was that it was lamentable to see our elections turned into contests of campaign coffers and away from the better possibility of candid citizens challenging (and thereby refining) each other's ideas. We agreed that the contest should be on that level of the ideas themselves, not on the level of who could call on the larger resources of cash and organization, who could sell a better message like so much soap.

And so we have it today, that the election season news is of another advertising campaign with some amount of millions attached to it as a price tag. I have no doubt I'll receive a few emails today, asking me for a contribution so as to counter. I'm left with these thoughts of my friend and I talking in the growing darkness as a day at the polls came to a close. And stirring in my mind, the words from an old song:

...though we've nothing these days
Nothing these days
Nothing these days

We're down on our knees and we've nothing to say
Nothing to say
Nothing to say...

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