Why We Cannot Wait

(Thanks D.R. this is brilliant – promoted by Rob “EaBo Clipper” Eno)

Can you hear their voices?

The voices of those who have suffered economically these past four years, the voices of those who wonder if they can still make it in Massachusetts.

The voices of parents who wonder if they’ll have enough to pay this month’s bills, to say nothing about college tuition for their young ones when they get older. The voices of adult children who wonder if they’ll have enough money to take care of their aging parents. The voices of workers who wonder if those on Beacon Hill really give a damn about them.

The voices of young adults who love this state, who never want to leave this state, but who feel compelled to abandon Massachusetts because they don’t see any way they can afford to live here. The voices of the middle class, who fear that they’re only a few steps away from falling into an economic abyss.

Does Governor Patrick hear these voices?

Does he hear the voices of those who voted for him four years ago hoping that he would provide real leadership? The voices of those who believed him when he said he would work to cut their property taxes? The voices of those who see the rampant corruption and wonder if he was serious about putting a stop to it?

Patrick wants to tell a positive story this fall–a story of a state that’s doing well for itself despite a recession, the story of a healthy Commonwealth, the story of a shining city on a hill.

It’s a positive story–but it’s a false one. For all of Patrick’s lofty claims about how well we’re doing despite difficulties, the facts on the ground are quite different.

Patrick’s Republican opponent, Charles Baker, is making use of the slogan “Had Enough?” Perhaps his slogan should be “Not Enough,” because it’s an accurate assessment of what Deval Patrick has accomplished.

Not enough in terms of job creation. Not enough in terms of political courage. Not enough in terms of maintaining our state’s quality of life.

I know this question is an old line from thirty years ago, but in many ways, it’s as pertinent now as it was then: “Are you better off than you were four years ago?” That’s the question Deval Patrick hopes voters don’t ask.

One can’t deny that there are some Bay Staters who are better off than they were in 2006: those Bay Staters are part of Patrick’s base. However, for people outside of Patrick’s cheering section, it’s hard to argue that there’s more prosperity, more opportunity, more hope here than there was four years ago.

Think back four years, to November 7, 2006. Remember that night? Remember when history was made? Every Bay Stater, regardless of political persuasion, thought that this would be the start of a better era, a new age of civic engagement, a new chance for decency in our democracy.

Four years later, we now realize that November 7, 2006 was simply the start of a bitter era, an era of dithering, demagoguery and deception. In 2006, Deval Patrick asked us to put our cynicism down; four years later, we now realize that we had to hold on to our cynicism just to survive.

We hoped that dreams would be fulfilled during the Patrick administration. Now, we realize that there are in fact no dreams, only reality–the reality that Patrick has simply not done enough to make this state better. Some have gained ground these past four years. Most have not.

Anger at Patrick’s failures should motivate us. Yet anger must not be our only motivation; disappointment should also compel us to make a change. We should look at the Patrick years as a human tragedy–the tragedy of a smart, charismatic man who simply lacked the will to clean away the political filth that surrounds Beacon Hill. Yes, Patrick made history four years ago; now, history will judge him harshly.

The desire to force Deval Patrick from power is a representation of righteous rage, the justifiable anger so many Bay Staters feel towards a man who promised us heaven until we found ourselves in hell. Yet there’s another, less emotional way to view this state of affairs. Patrick is a malfunctioning heart that cannot pump enough blood into this state’s body to keep it alive. November 2 is the date we perform surgery, and put a healthy heart in its stead.  

About D. R. Tucker