I try to avoid partisan politics here at the City Record, but when the conversation turns to Massachusetts Puritans, my ears perk up and I often feel compelled to respond when history is misused. Gregg Jackson of Pundit Review once again turns to history with predictable results in two posts, one entitled "Tyranny Rears Its Head in the Cradle of Liberty". The enemy this time? Marriage equality, which apparently makes a mockery of God's law and is a harbinger of the imminent demise of the American republic (you will recall Gregg's track record on predicting the fall of democracies).
Unfortunately for Gregg, we don't live in theocracy, despite his use of the phrase “Puritan State”. If Gregg did have more than a passing knowledge of Puritanism, he would have realized that in Puritan Massachusetts, marriage was a civil institution and that for many years civil authorities granted magistrates, not ministers, the authority to officiate marriages.
Gregg claims with a straight (no pun intended, as his picture can be seen with the article) face that the vote not to send the anti-marriage equality amendment to a statewide referendum, “is a new Declaration of Independence – not against a tyrannical imperial king – but against the Creator, who founded America.” I'm not sure which Declaration of Independence Gregg is familiar with, but in the 1776 version, which is the one I use, “the Creator” didn't found America. In fact, the 1776 Declaration of Independence is quite specific: “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” It is men who create governments “to secure these rights”. Indeed, the form of government needed to secure these rights isn't even specified—representative democracy isn't singled out by God as the right choice for creating the United States, nor is a republic. God seems curiously agnostic on the question of America's governance for Gregg to be so certain that the Creator founded America.
Then again, Gregg apparently hasn't heard of representative democracy, which was created here in Massachusetts, because he makes the claim “The Democrat legislature in the Cradle of Liberty deprived citizens of the fundamental principle of Democratic government by denying citizens the right to vote on homosexual marriage. “ The people of Massachusetts elect representatives precisely so they don't have to vote on every single issue.
I'm also sure that a “fundamental principle of democratic (that's a little “d” Gregg) government” is not voting on homosexual marriage. Voting on a citizen petition in the generic sense, perhaps, but homosexual marriage specifically? I think Gregg doesn't really care about all of the other citizen petitions which have died in the state constitutional convention over the years, which doesn't say much for his commitment to democracy in the abstract.
Massachusetts is not a direct democracy although the Massachusetts State Constitution does provide for citizen generated legislation through a well defined process. Gregg would do well to remember that having the Massachusetts legislature vote on sending citizen created initiatives to a statewide ballot was a measure created by a Massachusetts legislature with far greater Republican representation, representatives who were worried about the "will of the people". The idea that citizens in Massachusetts have a “right to vote on homosexual marriage” after it has gone through the process designed to handle citizen generated legislation is the cry of an angry little boy who, when he has lost a game, demands that the rules be changed ex post facto.
Gregg can't stop seeing the conspiracies everywhere: anti-gay marriage activist Brian Camenker is taken off the air (raise your hand if you knew he was on the air) and suddenly Christians are being persecuted by fascists in Gregg's mind (have you actually listened to Brian Camenker talk? He's a folding table in Downtown Crossing short of being a La Rouchian). Yet somehow, despite this vast conspiracy, Gregg Jackson remains on the radio at WRKO. The only logical conclusion is that a) Gregg isn't sufficiently Christian to be persecuted b) he's too incoherent to be seen as a threat or c) Kevin Whalen is the brains behind the Pundit Review operation. Me? I vote for all of the above. So while Gregg can shake an impotent rhetorical fist all he wants, I prefer to think that Massachusetts is allowing all of its citizens to pursue happiness in fulfillment of the dreams of the Founding Fathers, instead of making one man happy by making many more people miserable which seems to be the very definition of a tyrannical monarch. I'm sure the citizens of the Cradle of Liberty will join me in thumbing my nose at King Gregg.