Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

An Invitation for Mr. Bush

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

An Invitation for Mr. Bush

Article excerpt

MY town of Wellesley, Mass., defeated President Bush. It went Bush 5,501, Clinton 6,965, and Perot 2,109.

Of course, any number of the United States' 20,000 cities and towns could say that. And that's terrific. For all the talk of opinion polls, campaign coffers, special interests, media intrusion, GDP, all the abstract, wholesale efforts to describe the American political process, it comes down to your own neighborhood, the people you know, the seniors penciling a line through your name at your address as they hand you a ballot in the local school basement and then penciling you out of a second ledger so you can drop your ballot in the oak box.

The Charles River runs through the Newton corner of Wellesley on its way to Boston Harbor. We in Massachusetts, natives or not, still aren't happy about the way fellow Bay Stater Bush dumped on the harbor four years ago when he defeated Mike Dukakis. We likely cared less about Dukakis than about the harbor. There's a lot of good local history - events having to do with religious freedom, democracy, a war for independence - Bush might have stood up for but didn't.

It was the daughters of well-enough-off families here that defeated Bush, as they did fellow Wellesleyan David Locke, longtime Republican leader of the state Senate. Mr. Locke was displaced by Democrat Cheryl Jacques of neighboring Needham. This year for the first time, by some 155 registrants, Democrats had outregistered the GOP in Wellesley.

The concept of the working class is changing in America. The Clinton Democrats have been talking about "the middle class" as a euphemism for working class. They needn't be shy. The flattening of organization structures, the leveling force of computers, the laying off of hundreds of thousands of workers (still disproportionately female), the squeeze on jobs like teaching under government budget cutbacks, the expectation by more women and men that they will have to go it alone, has had an impact.

These same factors have a flip side. More individual Americans realize they must seek innovative ways to find a niche and make a living. Even those displaced who do not strictly have to struggle financially want to make a difference. …

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