Frequent contributor Jim Peters shares some thoughts on life, the Patriots and politics
Somewhere between my awareness of our light grip on life, my empathy for the Syrian people, and my understanding of our never-ending quest for knowledge (the Great Satchmo had it just right when he said that our children would learn things that we would never know), I realized that I would never get that doctorate I wanted, never die filthy rich, and never be as smart as I wished I were. So I realized that I would have to settle.
There are a few things that I know. I know there is a God. I know that being born an American is the most important piece of luck in my life. I know that I will eventually take off of this mortal coil. So, I had to decide what was important to me. My love of Native American customs, and my love of history notwithstanding, I have determined that my wife and children are most important to me. I would like to say that that is normal, but in our society I might just be lucky in that I realize such a thing. I watch television and come to the conclusion that very few civilizations are as free and opinion-based as ours. Without those opinions, we would not be able to enjoy the freedom, which was purchased for us through the gift of military men and women. It puzzles me how we can just whittle away at those freedoms by not acknowledging the sacrifices of others.
I have two good friends who would, quite literally, give me the shirts off of their backs. We recently went fly fishing in New Hampshire and I caught my first trout. They took me into their fold, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I find that I seem to have many friends, some closer at times then others, but all close at some point in time. I also found that I totally like fly-fishing. I had breakfast this morning with a man who deserves all of the credit he can get, but never would want to be named in an article. He was once a pro-football player, and he is a big man, both on and off of the field. He cheered for the Patriots in the Super Bowl and was just as disappointed as I was when they failed to win. That would be my take on it, they failed to win, they did not lose. A few plays, and they would have won it. But those New York teams are just bad luck to New Englanders. We forget that historically we surpassed the City of New York during the Revolution and have held our own ever since. So this curse of the “Babe,” and our willingness to admit that our millions of people are not equal to their millions of people are difficult for me to understand. During the Civil War, we lost 2% of our male population, and Massachusetts really put up a fight. Massachusetts always puts up a fight. Other states do not always fight with the ferocity of the Massachusetts citizen or politician. Look at the number of persons from Massachusetts who have run for the presidency and done credibly well. I include my brother-in-law, Paul Tsongas in that number.
Mitt Romney is the one person that President Obama did not want to face, and Romney, despite his moving from Massachusetts, is the scrappy political type. Like John Kennedy, he today, at this late date, decided to discuss his religion. As you know, he is a Mormon. Kennedy saved discussion of his religion for the West Virginia primary in 1960. It is too bad that religion has to play a part in it, but it always has, and probably always will. But, as an American, if not as a Democrat, it is refreshing that Romney, despite, or perhaps in spite of the fact that he is a Mormon, is being taken seriously.
Mr. Obama has accomplished a great deal, and I am grateful for many of the difficult stands that he has taken against a reluctant Congress. Just the death of Osama bin Laden would be enough to get a Republican re-elected, but Democrats, it seems to me, are kept to a higher standard. They have to cure the world’s ills. We have watched for the past few months how hollow you can be and still be a successful Republican candidate in the straw polls of Iowa, and as a former Iowan I know there is a lot of straw out there. Mr. Obama failed in his job the day he was sworn-in, I feel. I still disagree with the war in Afghanistan, I consider myself a veteran of the war to end the Vietnam War, and no, I did not wear long hair, I just politicked for those who ran as anti-war candidates. So, I was not that interesting. Some things never change. But,thanks to a high draft number, I got the chance to have the life I have so greatly enjoyed.
That was a crazy time. Forget Woodstock, children took over the country I felt, and their impact was felt in music, education, and the movies. It was cool to be a kid, and we still believe that was so. Despite the fact that they are in their eighties, we would still pack the Garden to see the Rolling Stones. Music was a force to be reckoned with. It went from a form of artistic expression to just a force.
The 5th. Congressional District played its part. It elected a man who would run for Congress, then the Senate, and then the Presidency. A man who once marveled to me that he got to sit in on a meeting with Red Auerbach. It was the starting point for a man who would be the youngest man to serve in the U.S. Congress the year he was elected, a man named Jim Shannon. It would be the starting point for a man who has changed the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, Marty Meehan. No other district in recent history has, I believe, turned out the number of winners that we have.
Therefore, I believe that we are all better for having been in the 5th. District. Sure, unemployment is up, but my mother assures me it is up in Florida, too. The economy is on the downswing, and I do not have any idea when it will be in the reverse again. But we get to live here. And that is a pleasure and a blessing. So, like Billy Joel waving Brenda and Eddie goodbye, let us wave the old 5th. goodbye and wonder what the new 3rd. will bring to us. Hopefully more of the same.