Jim Peters, who’s married to the sister of the late Paul Tsongas, shares some thoughts on campaigning for his sister-in-law, Niki Tsongas, and on the upcoming election:
Being related to the Democratic candidate for Congress has its ups and downs. I get my pick of overly large T-shirts with the appropriate logo for that year etched on it, and that’s a plus, especially when you run a landscaping company and you need many shirts to do your work. Functions are really quite enjoyable. You have some cheese and crackers, and talk with people you agree with about politics. You try to figure out how to appeal to those voters who are on the fence or even on the other end of the spectrum. It is good mental exercise.
You have to have a thick skin in the political spectrum. You have to defend the right of a friend or an enemy to disagree with you in the most fundamental way. You have to allow them to scream everything they believe at the top of their lungs while you wait your turn to scream the things that you believe in at the top of your lungs. And, in the end, you need to still be friends at the end of the day.
Most of my friends are conservatives who are voting for Niki because of her outstanding (my word) support for the Veterans, and for the City of Lowell. I mean, Lowell Public Schools just got a bundle from the state which will help us continue to post increases in our standardized testing. We can hire more teachers and retain the good ones we have. Under this governor, Police and Fire Departments have not been as hard hit as they could have been. I like this governor but that is the stuff of another article.
It is hard to see your family and its good reputation tossed around like a piece of chicken in a picnic basket. You lived through some incredibly difficult times, saw persons of great learning and ability die from cancer. Your wife remembers when she was twelve and she met her sister-in-law to be for the very first time. It was exhilarating.
Now you are fighting a fight in which your President’s policies seem to be harming people’s campaigns. This was a President in which you held, and still hold, a great deal of promise. What about the deficit, you ask? Statistically, I believe we had a larger deficit to finance WWII. We practiced, and are currently practicing, something called Keynesian Economics, the spending of money to jumpstart an economy that this President had nothing to do with until the past year and one half. The benefits of Keynesian economic principles is that there is actually a plan to make the money and give it back. As Keynes says, it would be cruel to not spend the money and let the people starve. And, Keynesian economics does not see the nonstop use of money borrowed on credit. It sees an end to it, an end which must be regarded highly.
My question is, “Why are we so mad?” We knew this would be tough. We knew that we were not paying for the Iraq war during the Iraq war. We were not surprised to see that George Bush had put us in debt to the tune of eight trillion dollars in eight years, a trillion a year. Let’s let Keynesian theory run its course. And, let’s not panic in the Fifth District. We are the district, after all, of the start of the American Revolution. We are the district that dictates to other districts how to save money; remember Paul Tsongas’ book, “A Call to Economic Arms.” I was challenged by a man in Gloucester as to how Paul was going to finance education with a balanced budget. I remember my response was something akin to ‘Take a look at page –,”
I met Scott Brown and I know as a Democrat I was not supposed to be impressed but I must admit I was. He seems like a reasonable guy. Little Miss Palin says that he would not measure up in Alaska? Who would? This is a vital election year and it is important that we don’t “throw out the baby with the bathwater.”
Anyway, the Fifth District race is, in my opinion, a testament to our ability to see the whole picture. Veteran’s Issues, Deficit Spending, and all of the other issues keep us educated and honest. We have to stay involved, or our lack of involvement will cost us our country. So whether you agree or disagree with my Democratic leanings, stay involved. It is the best way out of the mess we are in.