Hey everyone… And
big welcome to readers of the Berkshire Eagle!
Thanks to Jessica Willis, intrepid reporter who had tried to track me down for four weeks!
And great news – through the work of Ms Willis, Deval Patrick has agreed to meet with me if elected. Besides Deval Patrick, gubernatorial hopefuls Christy Mihos and Kerry Healey have both already promised to accept the notebook personally. Sweet… The voice of the people will be heard!
How exciting is this?! Historically, midterm elections have seen low voter turnouts and have been as ho-hum as a freshman football game, but this year’s election has all the vibrancy of the Superbowl. Good luck to all the candidates who ran honest, hardworking campaigns. Campaigning is not an easy job, and I admire anyone who has that kind of determination, resourcefulness, and intelligence. That anyone can rise up to become a leader of men, and we have the freedom to choose our own leaders – that’s what our democracy was built on.
Ok, before the Battle Hymn of the Republic starts playing in the background, I have to tell you this wicked cool story. My friend Corrinn, whom I met while teaching in Japan, is visiting me in Cambridge this week. So this (Monday) afternoon, I was showing her around Boston: Quincy Market, Government Center, the Commons, Back Bay (including the house in which Julia Ward wrote the lyrics to The Battle Hymn of the Republic… Seriously! Written right on Beacon Street!), and Beacon Hill. So around 5 pm, we walked by the gold dome of the state house and the Shaw Memorial (Corrinn is from British Columbia, so the story of a white officer leading a black regiment during the Civil War was sort of lost on her), and we had just turned right onto Park Street, to head back down towards Tremont, when I glanced up into one of the windows above the street, and Holy Canoli, I see Independent Gubernatorial Candidate Christy Mihos! His campaign headquarters is on Park Street, and he was sitting alone by the window, working on some papers.
As you can probably tell by the preceding paragraph, I admire anyone who has the dedication to run a 12 month political campaign, and since he didn’t seem to be too busy in a meeting, and since I think anyone who is trying something so monumentous as running for governor could use some encouragement, and heck, since it could be a good learning experience for Corrinn, I thought about it for a second, then decided to pop my head in to offer a Good Luck.
So we walk up the stairs and into the hq, and there are two young guys standing at the door. Hi, Could we see Mr Mihos for a minute? I ask. As expected, they kind of frown and start to say something about him being busy practicing a spee- Come on in! We hear from the next office. We turn around in the hallway, and there’s the man himself.
Now you need to remember that the day before elections, these politicians are busier than Santa Claus on the 24th. But Christy took us into the space by the window he was using as his office and offered us seats. I was just planning on saying a quick Good luck tomorrow, but now that we were sitting down, I began to tell him about my walk and the premiere opinion I had heard about him – People I met loved his TV commercials on the Big Dig. (He has this animated commercial in which a cartoon Christy Mihos approaches an engineer and says something along the lines of, Mr Engineer, Why is the Big Dig so much money over budget? And the engineer begins to mumble something technical, then sticks his head up his ass (I kid you not – go to the Mihos campaign site and you can download the ad) and waddles away. Then the animated Christy walkes up to a group of politicians and asks another question about accountability and the Big Dig, and they all stick their heads up their asses and waddle away, leaving Christy as the only one left standing, looking for answers). Anyways, Mr Mihos went on to talk about the Big Dig and his experiences when he was on the board. Corrinn, who is from Canada, had never heard of the Big Debacle, (as I heard it called on my walk) was asking some pretty hard-hitting questions about where all the money went, which Mr Mihos answered deftly.
After a pbout 5 minutes,I was about to stand up to take our leave – I didn’t want to disturb his work too much the day before the election – but he kept us there another five minutes or so, talking about my walk (the fact that he had heard of it before was a great feeling). We talked about the differences between the eastern part and the western part of the state, such as the dependence on farming. According to Mr Mihos, Mass. Currently has a vacant Dept. Of Agriculture. One of the things he wants to work on once elected is getting that department up and running again. Corrinn, the West Coaster, asked a few more questions about organic farming, which he was proposing to grow from the 2.5% of farming now happening in the state.
We spoke for a few minutes more, then I felt like we really should let him get back to his work.
He saw us out, and I before I left, he said some pretty complimentary things about my walk and my effort to collect messages.
I had made a deadline that today, election day, would be the last day for me to collect messages (I could go on until inauguration, but I felt that if the writers knew to whom the message was addressed, it would skew what they were saying), so yesterday was pretty much the last day of the walk and the project. Meeting one of the candidates, face to face, and have him ask me to sit down while he was so busy and seem genuinely interested in what I was saying about highways and farms – that was a great feeling. He ran a good campaign and I wish him the best of luck.
Although today while I was talking to one of his staff at the polls, I found that wasn’t so uncommon – while out campaigning and meeting people, he’s been known to give out his personal phone number!
I’m not sure when the next update will be… My laptop kind of gave up the ghost, and the keys on the left side of the keyboard don’t work anymore. So I _could_ update, I’ll just never use the letter “A” again…. Arrrrgh…
By the way, this whole thing was written on my cell phone… Please forgive the errors…. Aaarrgh…