GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Opinion

August 24, 2013

Letter: Standing up for true political leadership

To the editor:

I am writing in response to letters in the Gloucester Daily Times of Aug. 21.

First, as to letters again complaining about Massachusetts’ tax increases of this summer, let me congratulate Rep. Ferrante and her colleagues for their “yes” votes in this regard.

Our state is providing necessary leadership for the rest of this country in showing how fiscally responsible legislators with the political courage to lead can provide needed budget support for our society which must improve its schools, its health care, its bridges, its roads, etc. ... and provide once-in-a-great-while salary increases for its workers. Bravo.

Also, in Mr. Rubin’s letter, he mentions a 25-cent gasoline tax increase. The actual raise that was voted was 3 cents. This is exactly the kind of factual misrepresentation that Republicans love to use to paint their pictures of doom; and, as an old employer of mine used to say, “it’s not what the facts are, it’s what we believe them to be.”

Third, as to the letter raising the prospects of a changing and growing Republican Party in Massachusetts, I would welcome that and the political competition it would provide.

But as long as the Republican Party’s most visible image remains Tea Party folks like Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, I doubt whether that will ever happen.

Responsible political leadership is and has always been the ability to get to yes — through negotiation and compromise — and the ability to take action that is best for the country, not best for your political base. For instance, threatening to shut down the government rather than increase the debt ceiling in order to provide the money to pay the bills for which we are already obligated, is no way to govern.

As we approach the 50th anniversary of The March on Washington and Martin Luther King’s great “I Have a Dream” speech next week, it would be good if all of us who have the privilege of living in this great country announce our own dream — that our political leaders again find the courage they thought they had when they ran for office and implement that courage in doing what is best for America.

Then, and only then, could another president do what John Kennedy did so many years ago and write another “Profiles in Courage.” Right now, that would be an impossible task.

WARREN SALINGER

Rockport

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