How I Decide To Vote: Would I Like To Have A Couple of Beers With the Person: Part Two

2010-10-18 11.17.42If I am using that beer test to decide who to vote for does the introduction of female candidates into the equation change things? Let us take a look back to how it was in the early Twentieth Century prior to the time women could vote or hold office. Here’s a little insight into that from Felix Frankfurter.

When he moved to Washington,DC for the first time he was a bachelor. He ended up living in what was called The House of Truth with a bunch of other guys who were also bachelors. He said it got that name because it was “where truth was sought, and everybody knew it couldn’t be found, but even trying to seek the truth conscientiously is a rare occupation in the world. The dominant quality of the house was that you were unafraid to talk about anything.” (Perhaps that remained subconsciously in my mind when I first read it which occasioned this blog to be named Trekking Toward The Truth. We may not find the truth but we’ll certainly expose the many untruths.)

Frankfurter said his wife believed that to understand the gaiety, spirit and relaxed behavior of the house it was “that it was run by men and there was no sticky woman around making it sticky – nobody who worried about things being just right. . . . unimportant things were unimportant.”  He went on to say the house was run in an “easy, devil-may-care sort of way . . . [with] great informality, great ease, free flow of talk. There were no sacred cows. You weren’t afraid to express differences of opinions, which is the very life of good conversation. Men felt that what they said was not going to appear in a column, let alone appear in a distorted and untruthful fashion. . . . [W]e were all friendly, truth-seeking and truth-speaking people. The friction of minds through the friction of tongues would make everybody have a good time, and in the second place it would make us see things a little bit more comprehensively than each man saw it alone in his own mind. The free spirit of man, in short, asserted itself and gave enjoyment in its exercise.”

I take that Frankfurter believed that things would not have been the same had women taken part in any of the discussions in the house. That’s not to say women had no influence on matters. We know that they have always had great input in decisions made in this country from as far back as Abigail Adams or even farther. But they were made one-on-one with a spouse and not in the free-for-all discussions Frankfurter was talking about.

One hundred years have passed since the House of Truth was in its heyday. In the latter part of the 20th Century we had in America the Great Awakening with respect to women. They came from their confinement in the “being seen but not heard” corral to the present time where they have somewhat of an equal voice with men. As political candidates they are now ubiquitous with one or two aiming for the big spot.

Does that mean I can no longer use my long established yard stick in deciding who to vote for? In other words are there some women I’d like to go out and have a couple of beers with and expect to have an enjoyable evening in the same way I would with a guy.

Thinking back to my early days as a prosecutor I founded a group called the “Golden Knights of the Bar.” The group met monthly spending many golden nights in various bars in Norfolk County. At first it was male only but after a bit we opened the door to our fellow women prosecutors. I must admit the free-flowing discussion was not inhibited in the least by their addition, in fact it was enhanced. The Golden Knights didn’t last too long as you might expect. After it faded away there were still times I’d find myself sitting in a barroom with boy and girl prosecutors enjoying our discussions.

There were some women I looked forward to having a beer with and others who I’d run from. I realize that was the same for the men. So, I’m happy to say that the test in deciding how to vote is still valid now that women are on the ballot. Which means I must decide whether I’d like to have a couple of beers with Martha Coakley. I’ve already made that decision when it come to Hillary Clinton.

(Next week is FBi Agent John Connolly week.)

4 thoughts on “How I Decide To Vote: Would I Like To Have A Couple of Beers With the Person: Part Two

  1. Paul Garvin, a Dot guy, St.Peter’s, son of a firefighter, is the pancreatic surgeon; Paul Galvin chose the bar-business since college at the Tam O’Shanter and Falmouth’s Bill Crowley’s Bar: Oar and Anchor; Paul also chose to run marathons and work on boats and ships down good old Cape Cod. I like guys who took roads less travelled by and it seems many of our Vietnam Era guys stepped sideways off the beaten paths. Wally Keenan was IBM man of the year, and the Marine chose the bar business over the white collar world, as did Jimmy McDonald, a banker, who ended up owning a little bar-restaurant in the North End, as did Charlie Westfield, an accountant with degrees from Bentley, who ended up in the restaurant business, then an independent contractor painting houses and chopping down trees. And many more: All these guys I’d vote for whatever they ran for, although none were politically inclined, really.

  2. p.s. MODIFICATION: since I don’t drink beer, I modify the above by saying I’d really like to have a cup of coffee with many folks who I’d never vote for.

  3. Matt, a very insightful and very informative comment. I’ve found these justices, even when I profoundly disagree with them, to be men and women open to all viewpoints. Holmes-Brandeis in dissent in the Wobblies case (commie Workers of the World) wrote in defense of free speech that “every idea is an incitement . . . calling for assent or dissent.” If you say, “I like candy”, I say, “I don’t like sweets; I like salty or spicey.” so too every word is an incitement of sorts—it strikes our minds, whether spoken or written–so the word Dog, some get good vibes who love animals, and some who are afraid of animals get bad vibes. Truman said it, “If you can’t take the heat get out of the kitchen.” Many of us in law, politics, literature, science, history, like the heat. Some people like no controversies, no contentions. Many of us like to fight: verbally, or literally, former boxers, wrestlers, hockey players, football, basketball, handball, stickball. The point is this: It’s good to disagree; we learn from challenges. 2. As for the beer test, I’d love to have a beer with my classmates Tommy O’Neil, lifelong good friend of Jack Gunner Gurry, Paul White, a great Dot guy, Sal DiMasi, a great North End guy, Nick Sannella, a great doctor, lawyer who at 55 became a Catholic priest, Paul Galvin, surgeon, Paul Garvin, bartender-ship’s mate, etc. I’d really enjoy having a beer with one and all. I’d vote probably only for Paul White and the non-Pol Jack Gurry who most reflect my views. 3. Women are different; too many are thinned skinned; but among the younger set and some in my age group they can give as good as they can take; but they are different: their brains, intestinal tracks, musculature, fat composition, fat distribution, hormonal and neurochemical biochemistries, needless to say, their anatomies, are different. Every cell in their body is different than every cell in the male body, except two lines of cells: Red Blood Cells have no nucleus and hence no XX or XY chromosomes; I forget the second line. Women are as smart as men and as artistic (visual, musical arts). Out of eight in my family when I was growing up, the three women–two girls and mom—were smartest. In fact, I recently checked all high school grades and my little sister, the youngest of six, scored higher than all others including her big sister and her four older brothers. Testosterone screws up young males! 4. FINALLY, here’s why we’ll be fighting ISIS type jihadists for a long time: (INTERVIEW WITH A TERRORIST)

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