— Tracey Leger-Hornby (@tlegerhornby) May 20, 2017
I always joke that there are two great seasons in Massachusetts, the month of October, with its crisp days and bright leaves, and that one day in May.
It happens that Mayor Setti Warren was blessed with that one day in May for his gubernatorial announcement. In what was one of the worst-kept secrets in the city, our mayor is running for governor.
You can read the nuts and bolts in the various outlets that are part of the media blitz, including sit-downs Warren did prior to the announcement with both the Associated Press and NECN. You can also find photos
What I found interesting is the images that came across in this carefully crafted display. Here we were in front of Warren’s house, the one that plays prominently in the online video and acts as the stand-in for the American dream, hearing Warren talk about being a 7-year-old in Governor Dukakis’ office as the former governor and his wife stood in the crowd. He was the most well-known state figure in attendance.
But it’s the dream that’s as the center of the campaign. It’s the American dream his father was able to attain after growing up in a very tough neighborhood in New York City, serving in the military (as did his father before him), being educated on the GI Bill, fighting for civil rights in the south and then settling in Newton.
We didn’t hear much about Setti Warren’s own upbringing. We saw his beautiful family, the American flag behind him, set up for the cameras, and kids running up and down the hilly front yard of his neighbor. There was also the image of the local politics that Warren is leaving behind. Local politicians who work with him daily used the crowd as a chance to get the signatures they need to run for office, including those looking to replace him. Few attended without a clipboard.
So there we were, a crowd on a tree-lined street in one of Boston’s best suburbs, with Cabot’s Ice Cream being scooped nearby (because Newton) and the image was clear: this is a slice of what people want. And Warren’s message is that today, they simply can’t have it.
And this brings us to the core issue behind his campaign: bridging the gap of economic inequality. He called it “the defining issue of our generation” and told the crowd that “this is our generational call to service,” a clear callback image to his father and the fight for civil rights.
He laid out a lot of problems along the way, issues that we need to fix, but also offered up two solutions that are catnip for any liberal: free public college and single-payer healthcare. All of this, of course, based on the reality of taxes.
On this beautiful May day, it’s OK to dream a bit, to reach out for the beautiful house on a hill, nestled under a canopy of trees, for the more-equal world where everyone has healthcare coverage and a college education is available to anyone who wants it. But time will tell whether these dreams can become reality.