Most of this probably isn’t of interest to most of my readers, unless you’re from Massachusetts or are a huge political nerd. But they do look like Oompa-Loompas whenever they do close-ups, and you can hear a lot of dumb fluff questions. There’s some weird obsession with ice cream, and there are occasionally some things that just make you blink because they make no sense. For instance, Japan apparently doesn’t know how to innovate, but we (the US) do. Um…what? Also, one guy seems to think he can fund the entire state by decreasing healthcare costs. I’d love to see the math on THAT.
But if you want to see hilarious fighting, just fast forward to 1:00:28. They just start going at each other–well, except for my candidate, who just kind of sits there and laughs a little.
But I think what really bugged me about this debate (and, well, pretty much all of them) is that poverty barely got mentioned. They spend a good five minutes talking about pensions for judges, which affects an extremely narrow slice of the Massachusetts population. (I couldn’t find an exact number, but I can’t imagine it would be more than a few thousand.) On the other hand, in 2010, 11.4% of Massachusetts residents were living in poverty (source), which is approximately 746, 430 people according to US census data from the same year (source). When you break it down, judges get 8% of the debate, while people living in poverty get only a few brief seconds. The Boston Globe found time for questions about the candidates’ favorite Massachusetts beaches and ice cream flavors, but not a single question directly addressed poverty. Poverty was discussed for only a few seconds, and only in regard to children living in poverty.
I understand that, demographically, people living in poverty are less likely to vote. But I don’t think that means politicians should be allowed to ignore us. It becomes a mobius loop of causality: people living in poverty often don’t vote, so politicians don’t talk to us or even about us, so we don’t vote because we feel like the politicians don’t care about us or address the issues we’re struggling with. I want to see candidates really get involved with impoverished people and communities. I’d like to see the groups that host debates make politicians address poverty issues in depth.
But I don’t know how to get candidates to address poverty issues. I work on campaigns, and I’m well-educated and articulate…and I still don’t know how to get people in power to listen and address these issues. Poor people are so silenced that we forget how to speak. I’m thinking of writing a letter to the editor of the Boston Globe. It probably wouldn’t get a response–I’m sure they get a huge volume of those–but at least I’d be saying something instead of letting myself be erased. I’m also thinking about writing a letter to each of the gubernatorial candidates, including my candidate, to tell them how disappointed I am that they’re erasing me and thousands of other people in similar situations. I might actually be able to get a response since I’m a delegate, although it frustrates me greatly that I have the privilege of being listened to more than any non-delegate. But since I do have the privilege of a voice that carries more weight for the next two weeks, I feel like I have a moral obligation to at least try to be heard.