1919

The following is cross-posted from a Facebook post by YDM member Matt Giancola. Thanks for writing this Matt!  – John

So, I’m not going to lie, I wasn’t overly excited to make the trek to Springfield for this year’s Democratic State Convention.  It was cold, rainy, and a Saturday – aka, best sleep-in conditions ever.  But I said I would, and as Chair of the Marlborough Democratic City Committee, it’s a responsibility I have.

No drive-thru Dunkin at the Westboro turnpike rest stop?  I need to go in? Fine.

The road, coffee, and Kanye pandora station (you do it too) having sufficiently woken me up, I was back to being a human.  I got to the MassMutual Center and after berating some Lyndon LaRouchites (side note: this is a particular favorite activity of mine at conventions), I got my credentials, said hi to friends and sat with the Middlesex-Worcester delegation.  I got there a little late, and was just in time for Lt. Governor Murray’s and Governor Patrick’s speeches.  To watch a Tim Murray or Deval Patrick speech is to behold expertise. To say much more would water down their mastery of the art of public speaking.  A few of the delegates in my delegation saw them speak for the first time  (imagine that!).  To see the amazement in their eyes brought me back to 2006 (when we were all so young..)

What particularly struck me in the Governor’s speech was that no matter the outcome of the convention, Massachusetts Democrats would be nominating a woman for the United States Senate for the first time. I’ve been a committed Elizabeth Warren supporter since she entered the race but Marisa DeFrance spoke to Democratic values and I was glad to have heard from her.  Contrary to some reports by the media, no “machine” engineered a blowout win for Ms. Warren.  She won the old-fashioned way; reaching out to voters, tirelessly visiting cities and towns, and talking about what needs to be done.

Hey, what does need to be done?  June 2012 brings us to a crossroads in our country.  The economy is growing, but slowly.  We’ve added 4 million new jobs, but we need more.  We are importing less oil and making gains in green energy. We have a president leading with ideas for investment in infrastructure, additional jobs, and fair pay, but a Congress committed solely to roadblocking him.  Not even watered down, boring compromises are good enough for this Congress.  Full-on, total nothin’.

Enter Scott Brown.  A nice guy who’s had a few good votes in his short tenure.  A guy who says that he’s independent and beholden to no party.  A guy that Massachusetts voters should feel comfortable voting for.  And you’d be right, until you look a little deeper.   Sen. Brown tried to dismantle President Obama’s law regulating what banks can and cannot do.  Because of the President, we will never have to bail out the banks again the way we did in the Fall of 2008 (get it? get it? Fall? nevermind).  He didn’t make this known to the public, but instead quietly, very quietly.  In fact it just came out today.  Elizabeth Warren on the other hand stood up for consumers, and helped create one of the most important new regulatory bodies in our government.

Also out today, Sen. Brown decided to vote against the Paycheck Fairness Act, a bill giving women more tools to equal the playing field when it comes to how much they are paid.  What was his reasoning to vote against that? He said it would be a “burden to businesses”.  You know what else was a burden to business?  The 40 hour work week, weekends, a ban on child labor, a minimum wage.  You know what happened?  Business got over it.  Society got healthier.  People became more productive and grew wealth.  Capitalism endured.  Sometimes, Senator, burdens are good.  Sometimes, it’s just the right thing to do.

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On this day in 1919, women got the right to vote.  This was after cars were invented, planes were in the air, and World War 1 was over.  I was born in the same century.  You get the idea.  So far, 2012 doesn’t seem that far removed.  A lot of us may have though some of the battles of old were largely over. Sure there would be continued arguments over abortion at the margins and bickering over gender roles in pop magazines but comeon, most of that was settled in 1975 (definitely 1995).

What we did not expect to fight again were the battles of 1963: birth control, the role of women in the workplace and the right to privacy.  What we’ve seen the Republican Party become over the past few years is a wholesale degredation to the fringe.  A frightening idea of what America could become. “Fair pay for women?  Too much trouble.  Birth control? Too much freedom there. Don’t even get me started on gay marriage.”  Mitt Romney may be its candidate but this is the party of Santorum.  This is the party of certain old men, desparate to hold on to the old way.

Elizabeth Warren and Barack Obama represent what 1920 should have been and what 2013 must be.  A country where the only test is a person’s willingness to strive.  A country that doesn’t limit opportunity due to gender or imprision a soul because of who they love.  A country that continues it’s quest for an elusive perfection.

So, on Saturday, I cast my ballot as delegate for Elizabeth Warren, got some pizza at the Red Rose, and drove back home to Marlborough to spend the night with friends.  I’m very glad I got out of bed.