Thank You

Lexington, Mass.:  Patriots Day Parade Vendor 4/14/13
Lexington, Mass.: Patriots Day Parade Vendor 4/14/13

Within moments of the Marathon Bombing, the phone started ringing and the email notification began chiming.

Thank you all for asking how we are.  We’re fine.  A bit in shock, still, but fine.  Thank you for being there.

 ***

Riding to Brookline on the subway Tuesday morning shortly after 8, the Red Line car was strangely quiet and uncrowded.

Across the car from me sat a young woman with long brown hair spreading over the shoulders of her office coat.  She stared intently at the floor.  She sat in the angular posture of a nine-year-old awaiting a lecture, her feet turned inward.  The beauty of the view from the Longfellow Bridge passed before her unnoticed.

 ***

At Park Street, a couple of soldiers in desert camouflage walked the in-bound platform.  They had communication equipment but no visible weapons.  They and the transit cops at Park Street Over seemed relaxed though watchful.

Just right, I thought.

 ***

As I waited at Park Street for the C Train, five high school boys larked about trying to attract the attention of two girls standing on the platform.  Unsuccessfully.

We all got on the same car.  They continued nattering happily, loudly.  They attracted my attention, which they wouldn’t any other morning.  Their fun contrasted with the blankness of the two women in Marathon 2013 blue and yellow who stood in the middle of the car.

The boys got off at the Hynes Convention Center.  The car became silent and remained so to Coolidge Corner.

***

I’m proud to live and pay taxes in Massachusetts and Vermont.  They are states that work.  Massachusetts would work better had it not been afflicted with a string of small-minded, self-seeking governors named Weld, Celluci and Romney.  But the harm they did was not irremediable, and it did not destroy the great good Michael Dukakis had done in his three terms.

Charles Pierce published a wonderful piece yesterday about his pride in living in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  Read it!

He begins by quoting Barney Frank, our now retired – and much-missed – Congressman on the Marathon Bombing.  Here is Pierce’s source in full.  Barney Frank sure speaks for me.  As reported by VideoCafe:

Former Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank (D) on Tuesday warned that Monday’s twin bombings in Boston were an example of why lawmakers should proceed with caution when considering cutting taxes and slashing the budget.

 In an interview with on CNN, host John Berman posited to Frank that “in some ways, the recovery is based on the response.”

 “Let’s be very grateful that we had a well-funded, functioning government,” Frank agreed. “It is very fashionable in America and has been for some time to criticize government, belittle public employees, talk about their pensions, talk about what people think is their excessive health care, here we saw government in two ways perform very well.”

 The former congressman pointed out that both local and federal government had worked together in “seamless cooperation.”

 “You know, I never was as a member of Congress, one of the cheerleaders for less government, lower taxes,” he explained. “No tax cut would have helped us deal with this — or will help us recover. This is very expensive.”

“We’re not asking people, ‘Do you have have private health insurance or not? Can you afford this or not?’ Maybe the government is going to have to pay for it. And this is an example of why we need — if we want to be a civilized people — to put some of our resources into a common pool so we are able to deal with this. And to deal with it, you can’t simply be responsive once it happens.” [Bold in original]

 Frank added that that “this is a terrible day for our society, but a day when I hope people will understand the centrality of having a government in place with the resources.”

 “At a time like this, no one thinks about saving pennies. But going forward, I hope people aren’t going to think, you spent these tens and tens of millions of dollars — that would probably be a low estimate — let’s just take that out of everything we have going forward. This is an example of why we need to provide the resources for our common good.”

           And, thank you Barney Frank whose 30+ years as a state and federal legislator helped make the good in Massachusetts today.

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