I received this email tonight from a friend who was passing it on…feel free to do the same…sometimes you just can’t help but seeing all the way through…take the time to read it please…
I’m writing to share some ‘insider information’ with you – reasons I urge you to vote for Martha Coakley on Tuesday, January 19th. You might remember that in November 2008, my partner, Sara Orozco, ran for the Massachusetts State Senate. What you might not remember, is that she ran against Republican incumbent, Scott Brown. My unique vantage point inside that campaign allowed me to learn a lot about the real Scott Brown and I feel compelled to pass along my impressions before Tuesday’s election just in case it might convince even one more person to make the time to vote for Martha. These are my observations and memories, alone. I do not speak for Sara. For those of you who see your story here, I hope you can understand why I am speaking up. I’ve left names out to preserve confidentiality.
Memories from the campaign trail…
Sara had never run for office before but still managed to win 41% of the vote in a pretty conservative district. What I learned throughout that campaign was that there were a lot of people in the Norfolk, Bristol, and Middlesex, District (Brown’s constituents) that disliked him strongly – not for reasons of politics, but for reasons of personality – the way he had treated (or mistreated) them and people they knew. Here’s a sampling:
· Take the voters in Norfolk and Millis who had contacted State Senator Brown to urge his reconsideration of a particular issue having to do with education. Brown called the voters back and berated them for their calls to his office, then quizzed them about some telecom legislation – chastising them for not knowing about every issue he had to consider. The word they used to describe these encounters was that they felt bullied by him.
· Take the teachers at the prestigious school his daughters attended who reported being on the receiving end of nasty voicemails Brown left for them arguing about a grade or something to which he thought they were entitled. The voicemails were disturbing enough for them to save.
· Take the students and faculty at a high school in his district who were shocked when he referred to an African American student in the class as a Metco student, even though the student was not part of the Metco program. After that embarrassment, Brown ended up co-chairing the Metco Caucus and was able to spin that assignment as an honor, rather than the lesson in cultural competency it was designed to be.
· Take the retired woman from Needham who was recently cornered by Brown and chastised because he knew she had donated money to Martha Coakley. Intimidation – even behind a made-for-TV smile, is still intimidation.
· Take the activist from Wayland who called Sara’s campaign to alert us to a “whisper campaign” of Brown calling people at home to ask them if they knew Sara’s local voting record that she was gay and why she was hiding it from the voters. (Now if you know Sara, you can understand how ridiculous that suggestion was!) But the truth didn’t matter to him. Only winning mattered – at any cost – even if it meant playing on people’s fears and prejudices.
· Take the woman Sara and I met one day while canvassing a mobile home park in Attleboro. She was a proud born-again Christian and her first question to Sara was about her position on abortion. Sara told her that she supported a woman’s right to choose even though she knew it was going to earn her an earful – and did it ever! Sara listened politely and respectfully and they managed to find some common ground about a less volatile issue (a shared love of animals perhaps?) Anyway, as we were walking away, the woman called us back and told Sara she would vote for her even though she disagreed with her on abortion. She said she respected Sara’s honesty and that she had met Brown several times over the years, asked the same question – her most important question – and NEVER gotten an answer.
· Take the Republican businessman (and former Brown supporter) from Wrentham who ran into Brown at a local supermarket and said “Hi Scott”, only to have Brown shoot back, “That’s Senator Brown to you”, as he hastily brushed past him as if he were garbage. And so many others who consistently remarked that he looked through them, over them, or past them as if waiting for someone more important to engage.
· Take the group of gay, lesbian and bisexual people who met with Brown prior to his vote AGAINST marriage equality to whom he told he didn’t have any gays and lesbians in his district. They assured him that he had quite a few, but he was resolute. His message to them was clearly that they did not exist to him and he did not represent them. And that is exactly how they feel to this very day.
· Take the folks on Beacon Hill who talk about how disliked he was within his own caucus – so much so that his own leader supposedly wouldn’t approve his requests for stationery early on because he found him too arrogant.
This affable, friendly, warm “Mr. Nice Guy” that we are now seeing as part of the Brown media blitz is really not the same person I came to understand during Sara’s campaign. This new image, carved brilliantly by Mitt Romney media handler, Eric Fehrnstrom, is simply not to be believed.
If Scott Brown were really the greatest thing since sliced bread for the state’s GOP, don’t you think that Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey would have chosen him as her running mate in 2006? Or that Charlie Baker would have asked him to be his running mate in 2010? Brown was hardly subtle or secretive about his ambitions to be picked by both – and yet he was not. Doesn’t that make you wonder why????
And, yes, it’s true that even if he were a really great guy I wouldn’t vote for Scott Brown because of his political record – against women’s reproductive freedom, against marriage equality, against critical programs to improve the lives of people across the Commonwealth. But it is because of the ways I know he has mistreated and disrespected some people in his own district that has my alarm bells ringing. That is why I write to you today.
Maybe it seems silly to be talking about the feelings he has hurt along the way, and the good people whom he has caused to feel disrespected, invisible, and insignificant. But those were people he was elected to represent and fight for. Character matters.
When I think back to the days following the death of Senator Kennedy, the stories that have stayed with me aren’t the political heroics, but the stories of countless regular people who talked about how much they felt he cared about them, how he listened to them, made them feel important, looked into their eyes to share a moment – regardless of how much money they had, how well spoken they were, or what they asked of him.
We were all Kennedy’s people – black, white, gay, straight, young, old, rich poor, Republican, Democrat, scholarly or illiterate. He represented all of us and treated us with respect even when he disagreed with us. Martha Coakley will surely carry on Kennedy’s tradition of ‘people first’ progressive policies and I have every reason to believe that she will come to be known as a person of great compassion and warmth as well as a skilled leader. She was, incidentally, the first person to call Sara the morning after Sara lost the election. Martha congratulated Sara on a well-run campaign and commended her for her spirit, gently reminding Sara that she, too, lost he
r first election. She did this privately, quietly, and kindly.
Maybe you have been lamenting the so-called mistakes that the Coakley campaign has made along the way. I really don’t care why it is that this race became so close. All I care about is making sure that we elect a person on Tuesday that is decent, honest, compassionate, intelligent and real. Martha Coakley is that person.
We have time. Call your friends. Tell them it matters.
Ask them to vote.
Ask them to vote for Martha Coakley.
Thank you for “listening”.