We Get the Government We Deserve (?)

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I went to a fund raiser tonight.

Before leaving my house I had been laughing a lot at the new commercial that Holy Joe's team had put together. If you haven't seen it, head on over to FireDogLake and check it out. There you will find links in the comments to lots of other blogs who took their well aimed shots at it as well.

The fund raiser was for Deval Patrick who is a democrat running for Governor in the Commonwealth of MA. This was the third time I had heard him speak and the third time I had an opportunity to speak with him.

The first time was last October. There were about 20-30 people, max, in a social hall in Framingham and he was one of several candidates who were out in the hustings early trying to build name recognition. At that time we knew Tom Reily and Bill Galvin were planning to run, but who was this guy?

I was impressed by his speaking style and he did seem to want to engage with people. During the Q&A I asked him about the signature campaign (that I was working on at the time) to compel the governor to not send any more MA Natl. Guard troops to Iraq and to keep those home who come home. Would he support such a measure. He answered that he did not believe it was legal and was troubled by it. He wanted to talk further afterward and we did—very briefly. He asked for my contact info. saying he wanted to continue exploring the issue. I gave it to him. Never heard from him. Not surprised.

That was when politicians were not about to get close to the war issue. They thought it was too risky.

The second time I saw him was in Orleans on a very cold Martin Luther King, jr. Birthday. There was a hearty turnout at the Catholic church. How much for the MLK event, how much for him, I don't know. The crowd liked him. He remembered me and said that he knew where he had put my contact info. I was still willing to talk. Never heard from him.

Tonight was a fund raiser nearing the closing stretch of the primary campaign. Three weeks to go. They were expecting about 50-75 people at a law office in Framingham. Democrats from the town committee and from other metro-west towns were invited and they spread the word. About 300 people showed up and they had to move the crowd into the atrium. Congressman Jim McGovern was there to introduce Patrick.

Patrick started slow and then built up. He talked about how all of the candidates had good ideas. They each had one or two and he has learned from them. He got a few laughs as he ticked off the list of candidates and the idea that each of them was running on.

Then Patrick started talking about community and his roots on the south side of Chicago, 34th and Wabash, I believe he said, where all of the grown-ups on the block looked after the kids and kept them in line. He spoke of the education he was gifted with at Milton Academy. And then he ratcheted up the the energy talking about how government is supposed to be not just for the people, but how the people ARE the government and that we get the government we deserve. Yep, that's what he said. Do I disagree? Not really because I think the populace as a whole is uninformed and unengaged. Not those of us who hang out at the blogs, certainly not us. But we are a tiny segment of the voting population. I most surely hope that the country has heard the wake up call by now.

What he did say, and why I am supporting him is that it really is up to us to make the difference. We need to be and demand the government we want. That's why I'm involved with the Roots Project (more on that when it's ready to go public). That's why I went to CT at my own expense to work for Ned Lamont. That's why I spend endless hours reading online and reading books and engaging in conversations about politics whenever and wherever possible. For some, politics is a spectator sport. For all of us, whether or not we realize it, the people we elect to serve in public office are the ones who make all of the decisions that make our lives easy or hard, free or hampered, rewarding or frustrating. Who do we want to entrust with our lives, our futures, to run our schools, our public services, to oversee our roads and bridges (and tunnels!)?

Tonight Deval Patrick won over the support of some folks I met there who said they were "independent." He started some sparks that will hopefully grow and start some fires between now and Sept. 19. Many of the folks there will be making phone calls and walking door to door to spread the word. It is the final push because this primary will probably decide who will be the next Gov. of MA, there's little chance that the republican Lt. Gov. will be elected so this is the big one.

Meanwhile, I told his campaign strategist to take a look at Ned's ads. Deval's need work. PLEASE ditch the "Some say" line from the ads. It's way too Cheneyesque. But what do I know? His ads aren't as bad as Joe's but they are no where near as good as Ned's.