Reflections from Afar

The thing about viewing the world from between your toes, seeing naught but silky white sand and turquoise water, is that it clears your mind.

Re-entry is problematic. I note, for example, that save for the child abduction story, Haiti has disappeared from the headlines here. Is the ongoing human misery no longer a concern? How serious, substantive and sustained will Bill Clinton’s role be away from the spotlight? How will it be possible to transform a Republic of NGOs into a viable nation?

I also note that nothing distracted from Scott Brown’s rock star will-he-run-for-President status until his swearing-in yesterday. This is, as work-aversive former Governor Bill Weld used to say, where the rubber hits the road. At last, Scott Brown will have to get down to business, learn the rules, the issues and his colleagues, and figure out truly whether his primary fealty is to Mitch McConnell, John McCain, a 2012 re-election strategy or to what is best for the people of Massachusetts and the nation. We shall soon see what a Scott Brown Republican really is.

Also greeting me is a story about a Marlborough Councilor’s proposal that all voters have to show photo ID’s at the polls. What’s next? A poll tax? Back in the day, then Senate President Bill Bulger used to joke that, when he died, he wanted to be buried in St. Augustine’s Cemetery in Southie so he could remain politically active. But, to my knowledge, there has been virtually no voter fraud in the Commonwealth since the introduction of voting machines, and photo ID’s would seem to be an unnecessary encumbrance.

On the up side, I note that the Massachusetts House finally passed the no-brainer proposal to ban texting while driving, require hands-free technology for cell phone use while driving and impose vision tests for those over 75 years of age every five years rather than every decade. Critics lament the absence of action on mental acuity tests for older people. Too bad they don’t have that for all of us – especially after a vacation!

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