Senator Scott Brown recently told me and a gathering of his supporters a heart warming story, as explained to him by Mrs. Nancy Reagan:
69 days into his young presidency, after President Ronald Reagan was shot, on March 30, 1981—Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill (D-MA) raced to the Washington D.C. hospital to see the gravely wounded President. At the President’s bedside, here the leaders of the Democratic party and Republican party were joined quietly in prayer.
O’Neill took Reagan’s hands in his, reciting the Psalms. The Speaker then rose, kissed Reagan on the forehead, and said that he didn’t want to keep him from his rest.
Reflecting on that story, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, once a senior aide to O’Neill— wrote in a column: “These political giants recognized their shared humanity, despite their stark differences of philosophy.”
And Sen. Brown reminded all of us in re-telling Reagan and O’Neill’s poignant story—that we are all Americans first, before any political party.
Sen. Brown visited nearby Maynard on Sunday, Dec. 4 to march in their annual holiday parade. In these difficult fiscal and economic times, it is necessary to reach for the public leadership Reagan and Tip O’Neill displayed 30 years ago.
We are in trouble:
- According to a leading member of the Maynard Business Alliance, in September of 2009 there were 4700 people working in Clocktower Place. Today, that number is down to 1500.
- On the I-495 Corridor, the commercial vacancy rate stands at 40-50%.
- In the last 3 years, Boston Scientific, Fidelity, Monster.com, Evergreen Solar and other smaller, but no less important small businesses have either closed their doors, or shed jobs in communities spanning from the old Ft. Devens and Ayer to Marlborough and Hudson.
Without broadening our revenue base by making Massachusetts more competitive for new jobs—local municipal and school budgets (the taxpayers) bear the brunt of this economic exodus and ghost towns of our main streets.
In this crisis, it is simply unacceptable not to at least try to work with both (R) and (D). The goal must be to look at every issue on the merits, and vote based on what is in the best interest of the people. Reagan and Tip O'Neill did that, and so can we.