Mariano: Flag burning is a very emotional issue

Editor’s note: Please continue to enjoy this free preview of the Sun’s newest feature, and be sure to check back in coming weeks to find out how you can keep on reading Worcester’s best commentary without becoming a Sun member when the preview ends.

Ray Mariano

Ray Mariano

Growing up in the turbulent 1960s and ’70s, protests, some involving flag burning, occurred with some frequency. At that time, people felt their government leaders were lying to them. They were angry and their emotions were boiling over.

I was never comfortable with burning the American flag. Even as a young protester, burning the flag seemed the exact opposite of the point we were trying to make.

Most of us were saying that we loved our country and it was because we loved it that we expected more from our leaders. I always thought that we should have raised the flag high and let leaders know that this was OUR country.

As a young elected official, I remember being confronted with the issue. As the City Council was considering whether to pass some sort of law prohibiting flag burning, I turned to my dad for advice.

Sina-cism: Time for Jill Stein to go back to Town Meeting

As a fundamentally friendly and open-minded guy, I really wanted to like Jill Stein and her Green Party. I favor competition, whether in business, life, sports or politics. Many, myself included, had hoped for a viable third party in the recent election.

Chris Sinacola

Chris Sinacola

Moreover, I view candidates and parties as continuing forces whose fortunes and ideas rise and fall. Republican presidential nominee Barry Goldwater stood no chance in 1964, for example, but played a huge role in shaping Ronald Reagan’s victory 16 years later.

But I am done flirting with Jill Stein — and I’ve never even met the woman. At least, I don’t think I have. At some point during my tenure as a mild-mannered reporter, columnist and editorial writer for a once-great metropolitan newspaper I may have crossed paths with her. If so, neither database nor diary hints of it.

The end of the would-be intellectual affair was confirmed by the recount debacle that Stein engineered in the wake of the 2016 election. But the warning signs have been there for some time.

Mariano: Young patriots, raise your voices

“To those who find student protests un-American, I would remind you that this is precisely what freedom looks like. It is highly likely that the freedoms that you cherish were won, at least in part, by patriotic young Americans who dreamed of making their country better.”

Sina-cism: DACA is no way to reform immigration

The current debate over the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program — called into existence by a whim of President Obama in 2012 — illustrates the confusion many Americans have regarding civics.

Chris Sinacola

Chris Sinacola

DACA permits illegal immigrants, including many who were brought to the United States as children, to remain here, provided they pay an application fee, have completed high school, are not convicted of felonies or serious misdemeanors, and meet several other requirements.

Many of those who qualify happen to be college students. And since president-elect Donald Trump has expressed opposition to DACA, there is a growing chorus of support for the program being heard on college campuses.

Related Sina-cism: The real line on immigration, and how Obama crossed it

More than 500 college presidents nationwide — including the presidents of Clark University, WPI and the College of the Holy Cross — have signed a letter to leaders in Washington, D.C., declaring in part:

“Since the advent of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in 2012, we have seen the critical benefits of this program for our students, and the highly positive impacts on our institutions and communities. DACA beneficiaries on our campuses have been exemplary student scholars and student leaders, working across campus and in the community … To our country’s leaders we say that DACA should be upheld, continued, and expanded. We are prepared to meet with you to present our case. This is both a moral imperative and a national necessity …”

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 116]: A Joe Petty fireside chat

Worcester is under siege. Not by violence or economic disparity, necessarily, or even pigeons or college students, but by rhetoric and hyperbole. And now, maybe more than ever, fear is spreading.

Hitch’s greatest hits: Gomez and Healey and Fresolo — oh my!

Our estimable mayor, hizzoner Mr. Petty, has been around long enough to see days like these ebb and flow — but even he’s not sitting idly by this time. He wants Worcester folks to know, he’s there for you, which is admirable.

Also: downtown gentrification? Still on! Here’s Hitch.

Editorial: Rooting for Romney and Brown

In choosing key members of his administration, President-elect Donald Trump is also choosing a tone and direction.

That is why this is such a closely watched, and worrisome transition. We are getting our first look at the true Trump — the man who will be the free world’s leader, and whose decisions and diplomacy will affect us personally and impact the stature of our country. This is when we begin to find out what the future holds.

So far, Trump’s selections have held to the tenor of his candidacy. Our unpredictable future president has veered from dismayingly tone-deaf in selecting far-right media executive Steve Bannon for chief strategist; to decidedly hard-line in choosing retired Marine Gen. James “Mad Dog” Mattis for Secretary of Defense, who already enjoys broad bipartisan support; to interestingly open for tapping South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley for United Nations ambassador.

Two Republicans with strong political ties to our state, Mitt Romney and Scott Brown, would bring needed credentials to the president-elect’s inner circle.

Both are principled, experienced and — particularly in Brown’s case — well matched to the offices they seek.

On Beacon Hill: Mr. Moore, state senator, goes to Washington

From State House News Service


  • Mr. Moore goes to Washington, in a position to make an impact
  • AIDS Project Worcester caseworker speaks at State House
  • McGovern needles Trump in push for tax-return transparency legislation
  • Neal nabs key leadership post on Pelosi team
  • Chandler joins healthcare fact-finding mission to Minnesota


Millbury senator tapped for U.S. Attorney General planning panel

While Massachusetts’ influence in Washington could wane with Republican Donald Trump in the White House, at least one state senator expects to be among those making suggestions to the new administration’s Department of Justice.

State Sen. Michael O. Moore of Millbury, a Democrat and member of the DOJ’s Global Justice Information Sharing Initiative Global Advisory Committee (GAC), spent two days in Washington, D.C., last week working with the GAC on ways to use data to fight the opioid epidemic, combat sex trafficking and improve information sharing.

Sina-cism: Alexander Hamilton’s message for those Worcester Trump protesters

On the Saturday following Election Day, hundreds gathered in downtown Worcester to protest President-elect Donald Trump. They marched about, spoke with the press and expressed their displeasure.

Chris Sinacola

Chris Sinacola

I’m sure the participants and organizers, the Worcester Socialist Alternative, found the event therapeutic and helpful. I’ll grant that the amalgam of liberal, humanitarian and ecological causes that flavored the event won the popular vote, so to speak.

But speaking of popular votes, I took exception to the words of one protester, 31-year-old Terrance Ford, who told the Telegram & Gazette, “… it’s repulsive we have the Electoral College where the popular vote doesn’t matter.”

This is akin to saying that it’s repulsive that we have a bicameral legislature, or three branches of government, or that Marbury v. Madison secured the principle of judicial review.

The Electoral College (EC) is simply how we elect the president. It has been so, with slight amendment, from the moment the Constitution was ratified. In this nation, “winning the popular vote” is an empty phrase.

Mariano: So, what now?

“While it may seem hard to believe, this campaign was not about Clinton or Trump. It was about the rest of us and about the kind of America we hope for. If our government remains as divided as we are and our leaders refuse to work together, we are all the worse for it.” Ray Mariano on how to make the best of a Trump America.