Senator Elizabeth Warren has repeatedly and accurately described how “our system is rigged against everyday people.”
One of the best examples of Sen. Warren’s declaration is government-sponsored casinos and lotteries, both of which contribute to rising inequality. If you want to take action to help change our rigged system, then please invest two hours next Sunday, Sept 27th to join us as a Freedom Player.
One of the most amusing story lines I’ve seen in recent times is the notion that casinos are in the state “with the blessing of Massachusetts voters.”
Here’s why it makes me smile. Behind an unprecedented amount of lobbying and campaign spending, the state’s political establishment did everything they could to stop the casino repeal question. The state Attorney General’s office could not recall an instance in the century since the Progressive reform era ushered in the ballot initiative process when a group of citizens had its petition denied certification by the Attorney General; pursued an injunction to force the Secretary of State to print the petition papers; collected the more than 70,000 required signatures despite the looming possibility all of their work and sacrifice could be for naught because their petition was denied certification; and then won the appeal of the A.G.’s decision before the State Supreme Court unanimously. It has never been done before and it will be a very long time until it is done again, if ever.
It was not until July 2014 when these citizens, for the first time, just 15 weeks before the vote, could begin planning and raising money for the ballot campaign itself against the biggest spending special interest in the country. During this time, the gambling interests began airing TV and radio ads in the most expensive media campaign the state has ever seen and it ran all the way up until the November vote. In all of the countless ads, not one showed a slot machine nor barely ever mentioned the word “casino.” Here are three examples #1, #2, and #3 of these willfully deceptive ads that led citizens to give their “blessing.” (What’s more remarkable is that 845,880 citizens in the state saw those ads dozens of times yet still voted to repeal. They understood that when a public policy is dishonest, those who promote it have to talk about it dishonestly.)
Yet even after the SJC ruled, and despite the purposely lopsided nature of the repeal campaign, many opinion leaders looked at the casino repeal ballot question as if it was just a normal campaign where both sides have equal time and opportunity to get their message out. Instead of investing talent and resources into investigating the merits of state-sponsored casinos, finally swatting aside the phony PR narratives employed in every state by these national casino operators, the public was fed opinion polls even though there was very little understanding to build an informed, factual opinion about casinos.
The repeal of casinos is inevitable in Massachusetts. It’s not a question of if but when. It will happen because of sustained citizen action over time, not because of one rigged ballot campaign.
The Freedom Players event in MA is one of more than 100 actions involving thousands of other citizens from across America and Australia on the weekend of 9/26-9/27 as part of the first National Day of Action Against Predatory Gambling
Below are brief facts about the Freedom Players event in MA.
Where To Meet: Freedom Players will meet at Trinity Episcopal Church, 47 East Street, Wrentham, MA on Sunday, Sept. 27th at 3:30pm sharp. Please see the church’s website for directions. www.trinitywrentham.org The event will be finished by 6pm
What The Freedom Players Aim to Achieve: We will be using our freedom to play these machines in such a way that: 1) spotlights how predatory gambling contributes to rising unfairness and inequality in our communities and state; 2) sends a message to the 2/3 of citizens who never use predatory gambling that they end up paying higher taxes for less services because of this dishonest policy; and 3) amplifies the voices of the citizens in or near communities targeted by casinos who continue to fight for a future better than the one predatory gambling offers us.
All Freedom Players Need to Bring the Following:
1) A $5.00 bill or larger
2) Bring a Valid Photo I.D. (All participants need to be 21 years old or older to enter the casino.)
3) Something to do while “Freedom Playing” (i.e. a book, knitting, etc.)
4) Please bring at least one other person with you, a family member, friend or co-worker.
To RSVP or for questions, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call the MA office (978) 683-4339. You can sign up online at this link, and then share the link with your email and social media networks.
This is the first time that thousands of citizens across the US and the world have all acted together to confront the unjust and dishonest policy of predatory gambling. Please make very effort to participate in some way. Thanks.