Deval Begins His Campaign For President
This is what I imagine being said by the Governor, to his posse, after his reelection. "Let's maximize this opportunity."
Four years ago, hope was in short supply. Young people and jobs were leaving our state. Roads and bridges were crumbling. Health care reform had passed, but had not yet been implemented. Stem cell research was restricted. Our clean energy potential was undermined by refusal to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative or to support Cape Wind. And we had had too many years of leadership more interested in having the job than doing the job.
I'm not imagining those words - "Let's maximize this opportunity" - being spoken as an instruction regarding how to offer the leadership that was so sorely lacking during Deval's first, unimpressive term. I'm imagining that the governor, stunned and emboldened by his unexpected reelection in the face of tough circumstances, looked in the mirror and saw something more - something bigger, than doing the job he was elected to do.
Together we set out on a journey to change that. Along the way, the global economy collapsed. Thousands of people lost jobs, lost savings, lost homes. Many, maybe some of you, lost confidence. People all over the Commonwealth began to wonder whether the American Dream itself was up for grabs.
Times like these are more than a test of policy. They are a test of character.
After all, when you've pulled in so many rewards in your adult life in exchange for so little accomplishment, it's natural that one would assume that the rewards should keep coming as you continue to offer little more than a pose - simply because you're you.
So, when the going got tough, we didn’t look for scapegoats or run for cover. We didn’t lose our temper or our way. Growing up in rough times and rough circumstances taught me not to just curl up and wait for better times. No, what I learned was that optimism and effort, hope and hard work, is the only way to climb out of a hole.
Being humble was apparently not part of what Deval learned. Same with being honest.
We chose to invest in education, in health care, and in job creation, because we all know that educating our kids, being able to count on good health care, and having a job is the path to a better future.
Education is in crisis, by the way. What has been accomplished in health care was done before Deval took office. And jobs are scarce in Massachusetts, just as they are elsewhere in the country, even if the nature of our economy means they're a tad less scarce here than they are in many states.
None of this is happening by accident. It’s happening because of the choices we made, the investments you, the Legislature and the people of the Commonwealth, have supported. This and more is happening because we didn't just sit around and wait for better times. We are building a better future for all of us -- by making better choices.
No, few things come about by accident. But you'd be hard pressed to establish any cause and effect between the things Deval took credit for today and his first four years in office. He knows that, but still, he has no trouble delivering, with great fire, the self-aggrandizing pap that he delivered today.
I read a newspaper article some while ago that compared the so-called Greatest Generation to my generation, the Baby Boom Generation. The article described the Greatest Generation as the generation that fought and won the Second World War and then rebuilt Europe; the generation that then came home and built great public institutions and universities and the federal highway system; that created the social safety net we so worry about today; that launched the modern civil rights movement.
Then the article described my generation as the “grasshopper generation,” because we have been feeding off of that all our lives.
Deval is a grasshopper... climbing blades of grass planted and nurtured by others while pretending that he is the sun.
Yes. We have been feeding off what was created by others for a long time, while politicians like Deval have been using borrowed money to hide us from the crisis that we're in. Today, Deval had the chance to set the record straight, to force us to confront the reality of just how bad things are, and to begin the march toward repairing the damage.
And so the work of the second term looms before us. That means jobs to create, schools to strengthen, health care costs to reduce, and urban violence to end. Working together we have made progress on many of these fronts. But this is no time to be satisfied.
Instead of offering some reality today, Deval offered a speech that represents the beginning of his campaign for president.
Nothing we say or do here today will long be remembered. What will be remembered, what will last, is the light we let shine in our neighbor’s lives and in our Commonwealth. And in some fundamental way, that is all about service and sacrifice.
"Let's maximize this opportunity." This is how politics works in America today.