Public Enemy #1
I have never volunteered or donated to a candidate with the exception of two and there are a number of reasons for that. First, I am an anarchist at heart… I don’t desire the hierarchy that representative government requires – I don’t see politicians as leaders. Second, I think that the bar is set way too low as to what is qualified and elected by our voters. The results are actually quite absurd in my mind… on the local and recent we have Murphy, Vacon and Bresnahan? What the fuck are people thinking? Not just the voters, what motivates these freaks to actually put their hat in the race? It really boggles my mind. If we actually had real leaders then maybe I could reconcile the first problem in local elections. Third, there is the buyer’s remorse. The system is the system and I participate even though it is against my better judgments I suppose. I voted for Vega… I voted for Deval. I have since self-flagellated a million times for these crimes I have committed. Of course, I admit that it is true that I have had reservations about a few people and have been rewarded. But mostly I am cynical and disappointed when it comes to politics. That all said, I did support and volunteer for two candidates: Robert Reich when he ran in the Democratic (puke) Primary to potentially oppose Mitt Romney. His failure sent me deeper into the politics-hole. Recently I donated time, money and support to our newly elected Mayor Morse. Why? I thought that he embodied and supported what represented success to my city – our city – and I see him as a leader, honest, qualified and committed. I believe in him as do many.
Now we exist in a bacchanalian revelry for what seems to be a victory with two big fundraising parties this week. Yes, Morse is a win but he’s not the only thing that will bring us out of the darkness. As a 22 year non-native resident of Holyoke I can attest to the fact that in the past five-ten years the -potential- of Holyoke has been its calling card. Much has changed – old Holyoke is in its death throws, a thriving arts district has developed, the canal has been recognized as an asset, Victory Theater is a reality, state leadership has helped with the data center project and now Morse arrives at the right time to be the facilitator and architect of Holyoke’s renaissance. It is not just him… as there a number of concepts that one would credit as prerequisites to the success of a city – especially with a small city like ours. With the exception of a few of the obvious offerings that municipal government is expected to provide I will name a few positives that I find extremely important, and I am sure that you, the reader, will agree with most of these: Good schools and libraries – especially the presence of a college or community college in city limits, like HCC; after-school and summer activities for kids and teens – organized by schools, non-profits or community based actions like KPAO! and the Unrestrained Youth Group; arts and culture – especially venues that foster homegrown talent and creativity; successful local small businesses that cater to the public; employment within city limits – ideally not looking towards big-box corporate part time / wage labor; public transportation within and to and from our downtown; neighbors helping neighbors; leadership that engages the population; ethnic, gender, religious diversity and acceptance; community policing; civic pride… etc.
That all said… there is one very powerful and influential force that is almost wholly absent from our sphere: Media and Journalism. Outside of blogs and weekly papers there really is not that much coverage as the only local daily paper that focuses on Holyoke stoops to tabloid nonsense and local broadcast TV while similar is increasingly irrelevant in the internet age. Holyoke has long been the whipping boy in the news and I do find it odd how this works… sure, there is plenty to report about with crime, casinos, fiascoes and bad politics… but when there is nothing else to report what do you do? You make stupid vapid nonsense into controversy. The Republican has nothing to offer but coupons for Dunkin’ Donuts and tabloid journalism. It really is a shame… it has a glorious history with Tom Wolfe, Charles Dow and Edward Bellamy (anyone that has not read Looking Backward should). Check out this headline and story from The Republican’s best and brightest reporter, the beef-witted Mike Plaisance: Holyoke’s new Mayor Alex Morse generates excitement, but how long before backlash arrives? When? It arrived when you wrote this bullshit “story”.
I would go as far as saying that The Republican is anti-Holyoke.