FullSizeRender1 Susannah Whipps LeeDebGoldbergphoto (26)photo (9)

^ new leadership after months of democracy in action : Charlie Baker; State Rep-elect Susannah Whipps Lee; Deb Goldberg; Maura Healey; State Rep Evandro Carvalho (on left of photo)

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The election of a new Massachusetts Governor had already begun before choosing a new Boston Mayor had ended last November. For the past two years, thus, the people of Boston, especially, have ben called to democracy in action. So were we at Here and Sphere.

It was an intense two years, passionate and almost physical, as democracy often is when it takes hold of our society. Opposing ideas were debated, hotly; different interest groups took differing paths, butting heads and leaving some hard feelings. Candidates stood up; some got knocked down, others prevailed. Tens of thousands of activists took on the challenge; many woked on it full time — 17 hours a day for those closest to the candidate, seven days a week, for months without stopping.

That’s what it takes to make democracy work. Nothing is automatic where citizenship in action happens. There are no short cuts. Because every person has one vote to give, every person with a vote has to be talked to, one person at a time. No short cuts. The effort overwhelms all but the most committed.

No matter how much lazy money gets dropped into campaigns, no matter how egregious, false, or ugly the advertising purchased by ignorant money, the real campaign takes place between candidate and voter or campaign worker and voter, or both. Voters aren’t stupid. They know when they’re being had. They get when they’re being respected. They grasp the difference.

Most voters also vote for the best candidate. In Massachusetts it’s the way we do. Partisans tend to forget — or to deny — that voters do this. Those of us who dive into political battle and issues discussion need to rememeber that : the voters decide. we only make the case. we’re the laywers, the voters are the jury.

Sometimes those of us who thrive by campaigning tend to think that we are the big dogs; that we are the deciders of history — “opinion leaders,” as candidate consultants call us. We are not. All that we are doing, in all the hours, weeks, mionths that we put into a campaign, is to prepare the case for our candidate(s) so that the voters can decide better — or so we hope.

For now, the work is done. Charlie Baker is our Governor, Karyn Polito the new Lieutenant Governor. Maura Healey will be our Attorney General, Deb Goldberg our Treasurer — fresh leadership for a society constantly renewing. The next Massachusetts legislature, too, will feature many new faces and a larger contingent of Republicans (36 in the 160 member House, 6 of the Senate’s 40) : debate will actually occur and point to policies more widely inclusive than had been the case.

As for the next campaign — city elections in Boston and elsewhere — it won’t begin till next February or March. So things sound quiet now. There’s time to reflect, to rest up, to enjoy the Holidays; to be glad that we participated and that we helped make democracy work in a society that trusts the people and is trusted by the people.

—- Mike Freedberg / Here and Sphere

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