Don’t Mess with Massachusetts

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On January 21st, 2016, Massachusetts residents carried on a proud tradition of showing up for social justice.

As a Massachusetts native, I’m often bemused when the national media portrays us a socialist nanny state run by Ben Affleck and the PC Police, where mobs of shrill feminists will shout you down in the town square for any perceived microaggression, or worse, force you to buy health insurance.

Move over Texas. You may have more guns, but we have history on our side . . . and health insurance.

The truth is my home state has always been on the vanguard of social justice. I’m not just talking about the American Revolution. We all learned about Sam Adams, Paul Revere, and company in elementary school, elite white men who rose up to protect their profits from the King.

We don’t know as much about Danny Shays, who organized farmers in western Massachusetts in 1786 to demand debt relief and pensions for veterans. And most of us don’t know anything about Mum Bett or Quock Walker, Massachusetts residents who fought for emancipation in court, making slavery illegal in Massachusetts as early 1781.

In 1850, Massachusetts refused to cooperate with the Fugitive Slave Laws, which required residents of free states assist the federal government in returning escaped slaves to the south. Instead, residents risked their own freedom to shelter so-called fugitive slaves on the underground railroad.

In 1853, when a runaway slave named Anthony Burns was arrested in Boston, abolitionists stormed the federal courthouse where he was being held. Eventually it took 2000 federal troops, at a cost of $40,000, to escort Burns through the streets of Boston to the ship that would return him to his “owners” in Virginia.  All along the route,  protestors lined the streets shouting, “Shame! Shame!”

It’s no coincidence Massachusetts was the first state to legalize gay marriage and provide universal healthcare. So don’t expect us to sit down and be quiet while the new president twitters away our constitutional rights. Move over Texas. You may have more guns, but we have history on our side, and health insurance.

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