Sunday, June 23, 2024

Academics and pundits warn us that democracy is threatened by charismatic authoritarian leaders, polarization and biased sources of information. In the past few months, many have equated our times with those that foreshadowed the rise of fascism in Europe in the mid-20th century. All of this is very scary. Proposed solutions run the gamut from civics education and voter engagement to meditation. As valuable as those solutions are, the public cannot make decisions without institutional transparency in government and the financial sector. Our Massachusetts state government has been identified as the least transparent and least efficient in the nation. That needs to change.

Marjorie Decker has been my representative for 12 years. I have voted and campaigned enthusiastically for her each election until now. In my view, she has become part of the Massachusetts establishment’s opaque legislative culture. She has advocated publicly against government transparency and accountability. I really want the representative for our district to be someone who values the democratic process and seeks to truly represent the will of the people. I’m glad to see that there is a contested Democratic primary this year, but I know many people don’t follow state politics closely.

As someone who came of age in the late 1950s and early ’60s (I entered the University of California at Berkeley as a first-year in 1958), I experienced transformations fostered by “teach-ins.” By participating, we learned and built community and coalitions for women’s equality and reproductive health, peace and voting rights. I believe we need those efforts now on behalf of democracy. This upcoming Thursday, anticorruption organization Act On Mass and challenger Evan MacKay will provide a teach-in on the Massachusetts state government, the lack of transparency and its impact on power and the consequences for things that matter most to our community. Everyone is welcome to join us at The Democracy Center, 45 Mount Auburn St., Harvard Square, Cambridge, June 13th at 6:00 PM.

Lois Fine, Sycamore Street, Cambridge