We haven’t written much about the race for the 3rd Middlesex Senate seat currently held by Democrat Susan Fargo, but a fascinating episode involving Republican challenger (and Chelmsford Selectman) Eric Dahlberg, the Tea Party, and a group called MassResistance has prompted me to pay more attention. This coming Sunday, the Tea Party had a rally scheduled on Lexington Green. Dahlberg, the other Republican candidate Sandi Martinez, and many others were to speak. Dahlberg suddenly canceled his appearance at the rally when he learned that Brian Camenker, president of MassResistance, an organization identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a “hate group” was going to also speak at the rally. According to Wicked Local Lexington, here’s how Dahlberg explained his decision:
“Some consider MassResistance a hate group,” Dahlberg said. “I don’t want to be within a mile of an event that gives someone like that a stage.” . . . Dahlberg said he supported what he considered the main objectives of the Tea Party movement: lowering taxes, streamlining government and advocating for personal responsibility. . . “As far as I can tell, MassResistance has absolutely nothing to do with any of that,” Dahlberg said. “Of course, I support freedom of speech. But I am exercising my freedom of speech by deciding not to appear.” . . . Dahlberg said he would spend the time going door-to-door to meet voters instead.
Apparently other scheduled speakers followed Dahlberg’s lead and canceled their acceptances, so now the rally has been canceled by its organizers.
I suppose some-most-all? Tea Party enthusiasts will be peeved at Dahlberg for messing up their rally, but I think all the rest will see him as acting decisively in a dignified, straight-forward way whether they agreed with his decision or not.