Dave Richards' Weekly Column in The Woonsocket Call

Dave Richards for July 29th……

--Would you care to know what makes me angry? It’s when you read the literature handed out by political candidates and listen to them speak and read their editorials and position papers and you come to some understanding of the political philosophies of the different candidates and then choose one you think you’d like to learn more about and then they go and do something in public that you so don’t approve of that you couldn’t imagine yourself voting for them and you need to start all over again. Yes, of course I’ll give you an example.

Governor Chafee will not be running for re-election, so a number of people are running to be our next governor. Now, I’m going to tell you my thought process, I’m not telling you how to vote or who the best candidate actually will be because I still don’t know which one I like yet. But I can tell you what I don’t like.

Right away I’m seeing Ken Block as a guy who is over qualified and makes far too much sense to be elected. But worse than that, he looks too good to actually be an effective governor. Nobody would be doing him any favors by electing him. Rhode Island’s charter provides for a weak governor and he’s a strong man with ideas which would be refreshing but wouldn’t have a snowball’s chance in ‘you-know-where’ because they are too radically honest to be allowed by the general assembly. You’d end up with a chief executive like former President Carter. A good man who could get nothing done. And I don’t like the idea of continuing to get nothing done.

Then there’s Clay Pell. I loved his grandfather, didn’t nearly everyone? But the late Senator Pell was elected at a good time for a man with liberal politics. There was true growth in the nation’s economy and we could afford the social reforms which cost big bucks in the 1960’s. Unfortunately, for young Clay to continue along these lines is poor timing. Worse than that is Clay’s close association with Mr. Obama, whose approval ratings are declining monthly and he’s flaunting it. I don’t need a well-meaning but impractical governor.

How about Providence Mayor Angel Tavares? What the mayor lacks in resources, he more than makes up for in courage. Nobody I can recall has ever made the leap from Providence Mayor to Rhode Island governor. Too much baggage.

Lastly, there is the once fair-haired and celebrated General Treasurer Gina Raymondo. “Everybody loved Raymondo” until she wanted to run for governor, then the usual jealousies emerged and the odd thing went wrong at the Treasurer’s Office and, well she finds herself looking for a bit of momentum. Still, I thought she was a fair choice until a few days ago when I saw a TV ad she’s put on the air pounding candidate Tavares with rhetoric. Being a broadcast professional, I thought the ad was well crafted and acted. A Rhode Islander who is a construction worker looks with pride at all the big buildings he helped build over his career……”until Angel Tavares became mayor of Providence”, he says sadly, driving around the city in his beat up Chevrolet. The worker goes on to say that he hasn’t worked regularly for 3 years because Tavares raised taxes on the buildings he used to build, clearly concluding that that’s why nobody is building them anymore and that’s why he and his friends are out of work.

Though I can admire a well-written commercial from a professional perspective, I am personally disgusted by the low blow. It totally turns me off and I resent being used in this way. Instead, I would wish for more of a discussion of issues from the candidates than negative emotional rhetoric, especially at this point in the campaign. I mean, if they’re going to stoop to negative ads more than a month before the primary, how low will they go when the chips are really down in the final days of the contest.

I do not want to see my governor be elected because they were the bully who beat up their opponent in the media better. I want the best qualified candidate to win. And when a seemingly otherwise good candidate reduces themselves to this kind of campaigning, it makes me angry. Very angry.

--With all the war and strife in the world today it’s comforting to know that the Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Annual Summer Festival is only days away. What makes this event the wonder it is today is the longevity, I think. In fact, except for the permanent building they built for their food kitchen, lovingly named, “Cuisine Ronaldo”, after the founder of the parish, Monsignor Ronaldo Gadoury, and the removal for safety reasons of the famous “crows nest”, not much has changed since it started in the 1950’s as a church carnival.

I still remember taking The Fabulous Denise there when we were just high school sweethearts more than 40 years ago. And it’s still just as much fun now as it was then.

When you walk the parish grounds this week, as Denise and I will again, there will be noise and laughter and children squealing with glee, just like our daughter Nicole did so many years ago. And amid all that excitement I will find a quiet calm in my heart as I think back to all the fun so many thousands of people have had for so many years on that wonderful corner. And I will smile.

We’ve seen the rest of the Park Square area change drastically over the years. But the one constant is the family fun and great memories which are made each year on the corner of Park Square where the church is. God bless the volunteer parishioners who toil each year so that we may have all this fun and good memories.

Memories, make some good ones every day. In the end they are what we all become……..

--That’s what I think. What do you think? Comments to dave@onworldwide.com or mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332. Thanks for reading.


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