As we go into the Democratic State Convention this weekend, I couldn’t hold back from sharing my thoughts with those who are interested.
As our Federal government continues to dismantle rights that I know in my lifetime I never thought would ever be endangered: the right to organize in an existing union; or the wholesale deportation of people who have come into this country overwhelmingly for all of the right reasons; the idea that people are being stopped from coming into our country because of their religion ¬– None of these are acceptable to us.
I know from having been at the Senate Listening Tour in the spring of 2017, that the regular people of Massachusetts were coming out who had never done any activism in their lives. They came to tell the Senate Listening Committee that they did not want to be in a state that would not insist upon no Muslim ban, insist upon no wholesale deportations. The felt sense of outrage and gut injustice that wide swaths of the Massachusetts population feels must be reflected with intelligent and effective plans by whoever emerges as the Democratic nominee for Governor in our state.
It is not enough that we might elect a Democrat. We must elect somebody with a unique capacity to stand up to what is increasingly becoming Federally enforced immoral and unjust policies.
There are further actions that I believe we can and must take to rein in and eventually impeach not just Trump, but many of the Trumpettes. Simply removing a figurehead to an unjust juggernaut tearing to shreds our Constitutional commitments to each other as a people and our protections as individuals is not enough.
Therefore, at this juncture, I want to see a pledge by both candidates seeking the nomination for Governor and every constitutional officer, that they will use the full force and power of their office to ensure that we, the people of Massachusetts, are not dragged into a bottomless chasm of ever deepening immorality and injustice.
We have the example of Michigan: when the Fugitive Slave Act was passed at the Federal level allowing bounty hunters to essentially arrest anybody they claimed could possibly have been a runaway slave in any state they chose to enter. The Michigan legislature refused the Federal Fugitive Slave Act and made it illegal to engage in those very activities within the boundaries of the state of Michigan. In fact, if a bounty hunter entered Michigan they were summarily escorted – often a gun point – to the border of the state and told not to return at their peril.
The time has come for us to stand on the shoulders of those who had the insight and guts to stand for what was legally and morally correct in that time period.
In our present time, where people of color and women are increasingly insisting upon equal rights again, as happened in the transition from legalized slavery to the abolishment of it, we must create the same type of effective moral action. We need leaders who will pledge to do the same. Even if the specific mechanisms this time are different, it will take the same kind of clarity: we are not pawns in a greater and horrifying game of injustice; the correct elected leaders will stand with us and help organize us to stand against trends that I seriously never thought in my lifetime we would face.
Grace C Ross
Former Gubernatorial Candidate, 2010, 2006