Friday, August 19, 2005

Sans Seraphim

Our Governor, Willard "the Mitthead" Romney, like most Republican stalwarts, ran on a platform of tax cuts and governmental reorganization. He'd been a money guy, a venture capitalist, CEO type, who claimed he'd run a lean and mean Commonwealth, free from waste, bureaucratic redundancy, fiscal abuses and cronyism. Downsizing ran through his veins like a fine sparkling water with a twist. And, furthermore, he, erm, kinda sorta liked gays (ahem) and sure, women should have reproductive choice (cough cough) but, by God and the Archangel Moroney, he'd cut the hell out of taxes !

Yay ! cried the good citizens of the Commonwealth, waving their pitchforks, stampeding toward the voting booth as if it were a Filene's bridal sale. Let us eat cake !

Well, we all know how the gays and women thing is panning out. As the Mitthead's perfect hair and teeth vie to outgleam one other in the heady kliegs of pre-presidential politics, his social views have spiraled rightward. The joke used to be that this was "Taxachusetts." The Mitthead would be proud to transform us -- at least until November 2008 -- into Texachusetts. Yee haw.

Well, no. He's too patrician to utter a rebel yell. Instead, when confronted with how little he has really accomplished, he's been saying stuff like:

The agenda is as deep as it has ever been, probably deeper.

So, anyway, part of the Mitthead's reorganizational extravaganza was to merge the Metropolitan District Commission -- the agency formerly responsible for certain Massachusetts parks and roads -- with other departments involved in things like conservation. The result is something called the DCR,the Department of Conservation and Recreation.

I have no idea how many dollars his deckchair reshufflement has saved the state. Could be none, could be potsful. Two things, though, have hit home.

The first is the Mitt Romney Memorial Dead Pool. Our town's municipal swimmingpool -- once under the aegis of the MDC, now the DCR -- has been empty and in need of repairs for four years.

The Mitthead vetoed the funds to fix it. I expect that the Mitthead and his spawn need but hop into the Rover and buzz over to The Club when they feel the need for a swim. But what about the kiddos of Waltham, a slightly dilapidated, post-industrial, immigrant-rich city ?

Perhaps they can practice their new no-child-left-behind, MCAS-certified writing skills on the bone dry walls of the Mitt pool !

Or perhaps they can gather in the deep end and chant The agenda is as deep as it has ever been, probably deeper !

There's no end to the educational fun that can be had in the Mitt Romney Memorial Dead Pool. Botany, for example -- there's a whole little ecosystem of weeds pushing up through the crumbling concrete !

Why, one could even hold little MCAS teach-to-the-test sessions to prepare the kiddos for the rigors of the new school year ! The Mitt Romney Dead Pool could hold many, many little desks where the youngsters could sit and work on tough practice questions such as

What is Mitt's agenda ?

(d)All of the above

In fact, the Mitt Pool could become a Mitt School, complete with opportunities for vocational training !


plumbing and glass service,

and even criminal justice

could be offered, preferably by lowest-bid private educational vendors, to prepare Waltham's youth to be the Workforce of Tomorrow !

So much for the Dead Pool.

Second, there's the Typeface.

When the MDC became the DCR there was the pesky little issue of the outdated signage that still referred to the MDC. You could almost hear Team Romney muttering amongst themselves That's soo-oo Dukakis ! Clearly, something would have to be done.

The old MDC signs are are, like the parks and reservations they represent, lovely -- green, simple, with an elegant, serifed typeface.

They broadcast a sense of shade and rest, of dignity and civic pride, of the citizenry taking their well-deserved relaxation amidst nature. They say This is one of the most excellent things government can offer you -- safe, beautiful, natural wooded refuges. Partake of them, splendid citizens. You are worth it. You are our true treasure, hope and delight.

But suddenly, over the past few months, new signs have begun to appear,

signs whose stark sans serif block letters seem more appropriate for a military base or a state hospital for the criminally insane than for a park. What is the subtext of these screaming letters ?

Yes, you may have fun, but not too much and not for too long. There's work to do. And, of course, shopping. And soon we're going to privatize the hell out of these places, so if you don't work your butts off you won't be able to afford the price of admission. It will mean another change in signage --


but it's from someone else's bottom line this time !

And that, in a nutshell, is Mitt's agenda.

As deep and empty as his pool.

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