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Menino’s opportunity

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Menino’s opportunity
“I never knew democracy would be so expensive.”

Menino’s opportunity

At election time, the candidate’s dirty laundry often finds its way into the campaign. While unpleasant, this process is often helpful to incumbents, who tend to be less aware of their shortcomings.

In New York, Mayor Michael Bloomberg spent $100 million of his own money on the campaign. It was the most expensive mayor’s race in American history. He expected a rout against the underfunded democrat, William Thompson.

The voters had another opinion. Bloomberg won with only 51 percent of the vote. Being a republican was not the problem. Bloomberg had been preceded in the mayor’s office by Rudolph Giuliani (1994-2001). Research indicated that New Yorkers had begun to see Bloomberg as arrogant and autocratic. According to news reports, Bloomberg has already taken steps to change that impression.

In Boston, Mayor Thomas Menino won 57 percent of the vote, but this was a battle between Democrats. There has not been a Republican mayor in Boston since Malcolm Nichols (1926-1930) interrupted the reign of James Michael Curley. The last Republican prior to that held office from 1908-1910. It is reasonable to conclude therefore, that the Boston mayor’s race was essentially internecine warfare among Democrats.

Menino has already served longer than any other mayor of Boston and has been elected more times. The remaining challenge is whether he can develop a historic record of achievement. In order to accomplish this, Menino will have to heal the divisions within the party

Unless he plans to run for re-election at age 70 and must, therefore, maintain a combat-ready administration, this term can be his greatest. There are many Bostonians who are willing to help.

A Veteran’s Day salute

Chivalry is dead! The ardent supporters of women’s liberation would undoubtedly yell, “and none too soon.” Public policy outlawing gender discrimination has provided a plethora of opportunities for women to develop their skills. That is indeed a good thing.

Nonetheless, some of those who still matriculate in the “old school” view some of the changes with dismay. While petty courtesies, like opening a door for a lady, can be easily discarded, one consideration is not so easily forgotten by some men of the older generation. Once, not too long ago, men were expected to protect the women in the family.

The last thing self respecting men of that era would do is send their women off to battle. Of course, in recent times, women have always been in the military, but their jobs were behind the lines. In World Wars I and II, the lines where opposing forces confronted one another were always well delineated. Except for occasional accidents, life and limb behind the lines were relatively secure.

War is different now. Armed conflicts are best described as insurgencies. There is no telling where or when the firefights might occur. Places that were safe earlier quickly become war zones. Nothing is more distressing to old school denizens than to see pictures of women soldiers in military hospitals who are missing limbs and recovering from horrendous wounds.

They are the lucky ones. Casualties for military women in Iraq have been climbing, as of July 2, 2008, 97 U.S. women had been killed. This number includes several mothers. The average age of these casualties is 27. While this is a small percentage of the 4,353 killed in Iraq as of Oct. 30, 2009, the deaths of women in combat is so unsettling that the Defense Department is not eager to reveal the current data.

By law, women are not supposed to be assigned to combat zones, but the quickly changing battle fronts have made compliance with that regulation more difficult. The military must do better. All Americans appreciate the sacrifices so many women have made, but most Americans do not want women on the front lines.