With the end of the 2009-'10 formal legislative session fast approaching, Beacon Hill is jammed up over the question of how to shove money into the state's four existing race tracks -- including its two dog tracks, which are in particular financial trouble. Speaker Bob DeLeo wants the state to give the tracks licenses to install slot machines; Governor Deval Patrick wants instead to dedicate a portion of casino revenues to the tracks, a position that Senate President Therese Murray agrees with, if I'm not mistaken.
Now, I don't mean to be rude, but what the fuck is wrong with these people?
Just 20 months ago, the citizenry of the Commonwealth voted -- in a solid, convincing 56-44 vote, in the highest-turnout election in many years -- to ban greyhound racing. You, or I, or Bobby D might disagree with that decision. We might feel bad for the affected employees, dozens of whom lobbied at the state house yesterday.
But the solid majority of voters clearly believe that dog racing is so venal, cruel, and degrading that it should be among that small category of atrocities we won't allow in our state. And they certainly understood, as they cast their vote, that people would lose their jobs as a consequence.
I don't imagine that many of those voters were thinking: I want to shut down these hellish businesses, but gosh, I hope that the state finds some way to shovel great loads of free money to the people who run them.
This can be very difficult to understand from the point of view of someone who doesn't see the owners of Raynham Park or Wonderland as ogres profiting off of a despicable business. But most voters -- I repeat, voters -- clearly do see them that way.
I would suggest that the folks inside the state house mentally substitute "dog tracks" with something like "brothels," or "cockfighting arenas," or "crack dens," and then consider whether they really want to be clogging up the legislative agenda with this pissing match over how best to financially compensate the people hurt by the laws banning their business. Because, to 56% of the Commonwealth, that's exactly what's happening.