Maybe it’s because my middle name is Francis and I learned to fight before I learned to read, but I don’t expect people to like me. This has given me the advantage in many situations. I’ve always asked the prettiest girls to dance. I’ve never been afraid of speaking in front of groups. And I’ve never shied away from making cold calls for my business.
I do understand that many people are shy about doing such things because of fear of rejection. I can appreciate that many people just want to get along and therefore seek cooperation and not confrontation. This is a noble impulse and one I wish I had more of.
I have met Governor Baker and believe him to be a good and honest man. I believe he is genuine and is trying to make our Commonwealth a better place for everyone. In his first year in office he has had some success.and has been able to make advances that we should applaud.
But that is where the trap is.
Frequently politicians try to get along with other politicians or worse yet media, and forget to achieve the goals of the people who voted them in to office. We see this often in Washington where they talk about getting along with your party and bipartisanship as if this was the goal of a politician. This most definitely is not the goal for any honest politician. We elect politicians to make hard choices not friends.
Our Commonwealth floats precariously on a sea of red ink of about $27,000 for every man woman and child living here. We owe this money not just a nameless faceless institution but to real flesh and blood people who have done work for us as teachers, firemen, policemen, prison guards, social workers, and 100 other jobs that have made our Commonwealth possible for decades. The budget of our Commonwealth has skyrocketed past $38 billion, and yet this sea of red ink is undiminished. To get our Commonwealth’s fiscal house in order will require hard choices. You cannot make hard choices without making enemies.
So my advice to Governor Baker is to be ready for all his fair weather friends to turn on him sharply and stab him viciously when he tries to make those hard choices. I sincerely hope that he is not letting himself be led into a trap that will sink us all.