Couple of items on the manufactured scandal over Evacuation and Bunker Hill Days. (For those of you who don’t know, the two days are official Suffolk County holidays celebrated, respectively, on March and June 17ths. Bunker Hill Day is pretty self-explanatory. Evacuation Day is a little more arcane – it celebrates the day in 1776 when the British army evacuated Boston. Both houses of the Legislature recently considered amendments to eliminate the holidays, in what I would guess is a vain attempt to throw beleaguered taxpayers a bone. Both amendments were narrowly defeated.)
First, despite some rather overblown rhetoric emanating from the Legislature – cue Angelo Scaccia, whose defense of the holidays includes this tidbit (You can read the full text on State House News, subscription required.):
People, Mr. Speaker, who only shot a gun to kill some quail. Yet those people and the guns they transported faced down the biggest empire in the world and brought us today, freedom. Mr. Speaker, that man has got to be turning over in his grave, when we compared his two holidays and we make them the holidays of all that is corrupt, of all that is wrong in Massachusetts. Shame on you, shame on you, shame on you.
it is worth pointing out that Evacuation Day didn’t become an official Suffolk County holiday until 1962. In light of that, I’m forced to ask two questions: 1) If commemorating Evacuation Day is so important, why’d it take us almost two centuries to decide to do so? and 2) Isn’t it just possible that celebrating Evacuation Day in Suffolk County has less to do with its historical significance than with its date?
My second and third items on this matter come from this morning’s Herald. In her article, Hacks to the wall, pols vote to keep extra Suffolk holidays, Hilary Chabot writes:
Republicans, who added the amendment eliminating the holidays to a $30-million supplemental budget last night, said axing the days off would help disperse the ethical black cloud looming over the State House.
Again, I have to ask: Not that it wouldn’t be a start, but do Republican lawmakers honestly believe that eliminating Evacuation and Bunker Hill Days will disperse the ethical cloud over Beacon Hill? I think it’s going to take just a little bit more than that.
Further down in the same article, we come across this:
Suffolk County politicians spent three hours pacing the House floor last night in an effort to shore up dwindling support for the obscure holidays.
So, let me get this straight. Enormous budget deficit, new taxes, badly best custom essays you can find here needed transportation, pension and ethics reform, but somehow we can find three hours to shore up legislative support for holidays.
Ultimately, all of this is, however, a side show. Should we eliminate the official status of the two holidays? Probably. Should it garner as much focus as it has, both in the press and in the legislature? Probably not.