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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Chelmsford Parade

My friend Richard dropped me an EMail yesterday.  He wrote to point out that there was some criticism of the Chelmsford Republican Town Committee in "BackTalk" in Tuesday's issue of The Lowell SunThe full list of Tuesday's "BackTalk" items can be found here.

The item in question is, I am sure, this one:
INAPPROPRIATE: The parade was very nice, but there was one inappropriate group. The Chelmsford Republican Party's display was strictly anti-President Obama and I do not think that was the place for it. We were celebrating Independence Day, not a political event.

Not exactly.

I am not from Chelmsford, but I have noted that the Independence Day Parade has always been open to a certain degree of partisan politics.  First of all you have the incumbents, up front.  Then you have the challengers further back.  When I was running against Representative David Nangle, back in 2002 and 2004, I marched in the parade.

I think that this year the Chelmsford Republican Town Committee entry consisted of a banner, a car and someone dressed as Abe Lincoln and carrying a sign.  The sign was definitely partisan.  It was slamming former Mass House Speaker Tom Finneran for the way he gerrymandered Chelmsford after the last census.

As you may recall, before 2002 Chelmsford had its own district (which it shared with Carlisle) and Representative Carol C Cleven was the State Rep,  (Yes, as of this AM the IT folks on Beacon Hill still have her web page up.  I guess they don't need the disk space.)

I did blog about this previously, here.

The problem for Speaker Finneran seems to have been that she was either (a) a Republican, or (b) too liberal.  Maybe both. At any rate, he broke Chelmsford up like a soda cracker into four districts, including two that are appendages of Lowell.  If you have ever lived in Chicago, you would think that someone was being punished for not going along,

Next came the non-partisan "Greater Lowell Tea Party."  Non-partisan in that it is not part of any recognized party.  Partisan in that it is concerned about some of the things going on in Washington.  Properly themed in that it takes one of the threads from our fight for Independence, The Boston Tea Party, and links it to today.

The best sign from that group was "Party like it is 1773."  There were a couple of signs opposing the current health care reform and some concerned with the way we are fighting the recession.  I expect this is what the writer was incensed about.  As for me, for most of the route I was carrying an American Flag, although I did help some lady by carrying her sign for about a quarter of a mile.

Then followed Sandi Martinez, who is running for State Senate from Chelmsford.  Somewhere in there was an SUV with stickers for Sam Meas,who is running to get the Republican Party nomination to run against Rep Niki Tsongas in November of 2010. Also, James Wojas was there. Mr Wojas is running as a challenger for Lowell City Council.  Why was he in Chelmsford?  I didn't ask him, but I assume it was because he figured folks from Lowell know a good parade when they see one and were in attendance.  Besides, he was Partying with his friends, like it was 1773.

So, there you have my take on it.  It wasn't the Chelmsford Republican Town Committee.  That said, there was a float raising concern about the direction of our Great Nation.  That seemed fair enough on a sunny but not too hot Independence day.

Regards  —  Cliff


Renee said...

It's been awhile since I've been. I grew up in Chelmsford and went as a child. Last time was for the 350th, they shut down Davis Road so I had to make a long trek with two kids at the time and in-laws, my husband couldn't drop us off. For me it gets old fast, so I have no plans on going again.

With prior parades there has been, there has been floats that presented itself against the conflict the middle east with a focus I believe on peace and pacifism.

I'm on the tea party list. I have to admit I read that one individual carried a sign asking Obama for his birth certificate, implying a conspiracy his mother gave birth in Kenya. As much as I don't like unfound rumors on politicians I like, I hate it more on politicians I don't like. It really undercuts the issues.

Dick Howe said...

Because I was a parade watcher, I can verify Cliff's facts. The Chelmsford Republican Town Committee consisted of two guys with a banner IDing the committee and another dressed as Lincoln with a sign that said "A town divided against itself cannot stand." The two dozen Tea Baggers had signs that included: "Celebrate Independence, not Dependence"; "Stop Socialized Medicine"; "No Obama"; "Do you have Obama fatigue?"; "Recovery doesn't mean spend, spend, spend"; "Free health care is not free"; and my favorite was a toss up between "Obama will make seniors shovel ready" and "End the tyranny of the Fed - Give us financial liberty and the gold standard."

As for the propriety of this demonstration, if you can't advocate political causes on the 4th of July, when should you advocate them?

C R Krieger said...

Renee has a good point here re the "birth certificate."

Under the concept of conservation of enemies, this issue is not a winner. It is (a) going through the courts anyway, and (b) has not gained any traction with the public, so ought to be dropped in favor of more important issues.  If it ever came out that there was any substance to this then it would be up to the US Congress and the US Supreme Court to deal with it.  If either fumbled the issue there would be November of an even year to make the US Congress pay the penalty.

Regards  —  Cliff