At least we agree on Shemp
Dear (although we hardly know each other) Mr. G. Michael Dobbs:
I enjoy reading your opinion column, primarily due to the fact that I rarely agree with it. They almost always allow me to test my own beliefs and theories against the "counterposition," making me, dare I say, a little more educated. For this I thank you; keep 'em coming. Now on to some of your bullet points:
You write that, "Western Mass. would be better off as a part of another state or as a separate state." To what end? Wouldn't it be easier simply to move the seat of government out of Boston to a more central location. We could auction off all that Beacon Hill property and buy a State House on the cheap in Worcester or Fitchburg or Springfield. The state budget would be in the black in no time. Other states like New York (Albany) and Illinois (Springfield II) and California (Sacramento) had it right when they separated their government from their eco-nomic/population centers.
Next, "The Founding Fathers never intended for elected office to be a career for anyone." I always tread lightly when making claims for dead people. What evidence do you have for this? Madison was in political office from 1789 to 1817, Jefferson (more or less) from 1779 to 1809, Adams from 1782 to 1801, Hamilton from 1789 to 1800, possibly cut short by Burr's bullet, and I could continue although not considered Founding Fathers with Daniel Webster, Calhoun, Douglas, J.Q. Adams, Clay, etc.
In fact, in Federalist Paper #53, Madison wrote, "a few of the members of Congress will possess superior talents; will by frequent re-elections, become members of long standing; will be thoroughly masters of the public business, and perhaps not unwilling to avail themselves of those advantages. The greater the proportion of new members of Congress, and the less the information of the bulk of the members, the more apt they be to fall into the snares that may be laid before them."
"People who send jobs overseas are not patriots." True, and they never claimed to be. They are business people. What is a patriot, by the way? I don't hear you thanking and praising (or maybe admonishing) foreign companies that send their businesses here to the U.S., employing hundreds of thousands of people. Not many things prohibit "long-term development" more than buying American no matter what, paying high tariffs on imports and/or promoting inefficient work practices. Isolationist policies and protectionism have rarely worked.
"People should be judged on their actions ..." Not sure there is a counterpoint to this. Do some people disagree with this statement? Should they be judged by their wallet, height, family, etc?
"... homosexual is of no concern ..." Of course. Government is too intrusive on our privacy, right?
"Organized labor should be supported." OK, but why in the public sector? Who is the fire department "competing" against? They are bargaining with politicians, not captains of industry. Have you seen how difficult it is to correct our public education system? Sure, our societal malaise when it comes to all things educational should take most of the blame, but dismissing a few incompetent teaches has become an impossibility due to union contracts.
"Healthcare is a right." As PJ O'Rourke once said, "If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it's free." Is healthcare a right for those that never exercise, smoke cigarettes, eat junk, drink excessively, etc? Now that we're talking about it, shouldn't home ownership by a right, too? And education? You spoke earlier on behalf of our Founding Fathers, what do you think they'd say about this topic?
Yes, I was always a Shemp fan myself. But Curley Joe was another matter.