No one in Massachusetts considers the Massachusetts Legislature to be a representative form of government. It never has been. Some years ago we had a referendum on the Blue Laws, laws which prevented people from doing business on Sunday.
This had nothing to do with selling liquor. That’s another issue altogether. This involved an archaic body of laws that allowed the sale of Christmas trees, but not Christmas wreaths. Mom and Pop stores could be open, but not Mom and Mom stores or Pop and Pop stores.
I think referenda are a stupid way to govern — we once had two contradictory referenda on the ballot and they both passed — but this particular one made sense and it passed by more than 99 percent. More than 99 percent of the people wanted these laws repealed, and yet the state legislature had not done this.
Is it therefore possible to believe that the Massachusetts Legislature is, or has ever been, a representative government?
The one percent of our citizenry that opposed the repeal of the Blue Laws were the legislators themselves. When you have a law that says, “No one may do business on Sunday except… ” you have a gold mine! You get to consider the issue on a case-by-case basis.
In Massachusetts, when you say “case-by-case basis,” you rub your thumb against your fingers in the traditional symbol for baksheesh. Our devoted legislators wanted the businesses of Massachusetts, each and every one, to exercise their first amendment right of free speech by making campaign contributions to the appropriate legislative leaders and their followers.
They could do this through industry groups or invidually. Cash or charge. Nothing is more lovely than businesses exercising their first amendment right of free speech.
Last year, in May, I paid $40, registered my scooter, and got a sticker to put on the back, and anyone with a driver’s license could ride it.
This year, I cannot do that. I have to register it as a motorcyle, insure it, and get a motorcycle license. This also means that other people cannot ride it without a motorcycle license.
All this is because of a law passed by the Massachusetts Legislature in July of 2009, just one month after I registered my scooter.
Imagine my lack of surprise when I found out that, last week, more than one year after the law passed, an identical scooter was registered as a moped.
It seems that, instead of providing a definition of a moped or scooter, the Registry of Motor Vehicles has decided to make this distinction on a case-by-case basis, model by model, manufacturer by manufacturer, day by day, week by week.
They want to provide lots of opportuntities for businesses to exercise their first amendment right of free speech.
My scooter gets 80 miles to the gallon, and if I were to drop 20 pounds, I bet it could get 100. One third of the people in the automobiles that pass me would be happier on a scooter, even in the rain, and if you do the math, this goes a long way toward solving our energy crisis.
The legislators of Massachusetts looked at people like me and said, “Here’s a whole new way of providing transportation for people without much money, that has worked in countries all over the world, that cuts down on greenhouse gasses and oil importation and the trade imbalance — and we’re making it EASY!”
So they went to work in their venal anti-democratic way and now I can’t drive my scooter because some bloated buffoon has not been paid off.
This time they have picked on the wrong guy. And if you think I’m pissed, talk to the good people who are selling scooters. What happened to their right to do business under a fair and even-handed government?
One of the labors of Hercules was to cleanse the Augean stables. I’m not him, but I’m going to see what I can do. I believe strong, unseen forces will work in my favor.