Wednesday, January 18, 2006
When we last saw our hero (that is, me) I was returning from my wonderful honeymoon and also from a less than stirring side trip to Libertarian Party headquarters in Washington, DC. You can read all about it here.
(I will now point out something that should be obvious to even the most casual observer. I write without a net. That is, I just sit down and type; I never write up an outline beforehand or anything like that. So, sometimes it flows in a fine linear fashion, while other times I end up going back and forth trying to piece everything together at the last minute so that it makes at least a little sense.
In this instance, I have actually taken the trouble to write down some notes. However, they don't take effect until tomorrow's chapter [yes, it will be continued] so please bear with me. Also, I had some campaign materials which I wanted to scan and put in the body of this entry, but I can't [as usual] make heads nor tails of anything having to do with modern technology, so no pictures today. Sorry, on all accounts.)
We arrived home in March of 1992. I found out about a meeting of the local branch of the Libertarians, happening in Cambridge on the coming weekend. I told MY WIFE that I was going to attend and possibly see about becoming active in some way.
The last thing she said, before I went out the door, was, “Whatever you do, don’t volunteer for anything. You know how you are.”
I said, “Oh, don’t worry about that. I’m just going to sit back and watch. I just want to see what kind of people they are. I’ll probably be home early.”
When I arrived home, later than expected, I walked in the door and she knew. She absolutely knew. She probably knew before I left, but we’d only been married for two weeks, so maybe she wasn’t positive.
She said, “So?”
I replied, with an embarrassed grin, “Say hello to the Libertarian candidate for state representative from the 13th Suffolk district.”
I honestly had gone there not expecting to sign up for anything. I really didn’t want to get so highly involved right from the get go. I only wanted to sit there quietly and listen to what happened at such a meeting. I had never been to any sort of political get-together before, of any type, so I didn’t know what to expect. I mean, I had a vague idea that there might be a speech or two and perhaps some talk of strategy. Maybe there would be more literature for me to read. I liked that.
The meeting was held at an Italian restaurant in Cambridge. It was, however, the Boston chapter of the party. That might have tipped me off to the fact that something wasn’t quite right, but I figured that any party that had its national HQ on the second floor of a walk-up slum tenement might not be all that particular about where they met locally, so I didn’t give it a great deal of thought.
I entered the restaurant and asked a waiter where the meeting was. I was directed to a back room, where I saw five or six folks sitting around a table. I introduced myself and was warmly greeted, then invited to sit down. I told my story of going to the hovel in DC; that I was recently married; and that I worked as an announcer and producer. It seemed to impress them. There were the usual questions (“Have you done anything that I might have heard?”) and while I was making with the small talk, another five or six people showed up, and then the meeting proper got underway.
There weren’t any speeches. It was all just more or less small talk, albeit concerning politics. Some of the talk centered around the fact that, in the past elections, a referendum was passed allowing voters to register as Libertarians (or, for that matter, as whatever else they wished, so long as there were at least 50 of that particular whatever) so the coming elections were going to be the first opportunity to actually place candidates on the ballot with the label “Libertarian”, as opposed to “Unaffiliated”.
Naturally, after that subject, the next subject was the search for actual candidates. The person to my right (a very politically-intelligent woman by the name of Lee Nason) asked me if I might be interested in running. While I initially deferred, I’m nothing if not easily flattered. As she continued listing my supposed attributes – intelligence, a good voice, a decent appearance (I wore a three-piece suit to the meeting – how was I to know most everybody else would be in shirtsleeves and jeans?), a good Irish name, etc. - I was imagining my picture in the paper and a ballot with my name on it. I liked the thought of that. It would be a kick to be able to walk into the voting booth and actually pull the lever for someone I knew I liked and admired - myself. And I wouldn’t mind making a speech or two. Wouldn’t mind? Hah! You’ve seen how pompous I can be when I’m writing. Imagine what I’m like in person. I finally said yes and everybody applauded.
Dinner was ordered and just about everybody there volunteered to be some part of my campaign team. Lee would be my chief of staff and a very nice woman by the name of Tonya Grimes volunteered to be my manager. Tonya was actually from Dorchester and she was black, so we both figured that might be of help in swaying some precincts. Others who joined in were Jeff Chase, Walter Ziobro (my treasurer), Howard Pearce, and a very energetic college student by the name of Matt Taylor. There were others who pitched in to help as time went on - and I once again thank you if you're reading this - but these are the main characters who I'll refer to as the story continues.
And continue it will, tomorrow, when I am able to give you some graphics, some actual tales of the campaign, and perhaps a story with actual flow. Until then...
Go to Part III