As a female candidate for office, the general advice is to be nice. Pretend your opponent doesn’t exist and just run on your own merits.
But my opponent, James Murphy, exists.
Representative Murphy is part of the senior leadership in our state legislature. And his thoughtless comments on recent protests, published via his facebook page, are evidence of a real failure in understanding what it means to be a leader. At this critical moment in our nation’s history, it would be irresponsible of me to not point this out.
In 2015, when BLM shut down the highway in protest, James Murphy responded by introducing legislation that would add extra penalties for these sorts of actions. Indeed, shutting down a highway can be very dangerous, but it says something about Murphy’s character that his first impulse was to punish the protestors. Did he give any thought to why the protestors felt such an action was necessary? Did he talk to any of the protestors? Did it occur to him that they might be in deep pain that he, as a senior state legislator, might be in a position to address and alleviate? Indeed, traveling to work that day, he got stuck in the traffic, and his reaction to this was, according to the paper which reported his route in striking detail, to “exit the Expressway at Burgin Parkway in Quincy, and drive through the city and over the Neponset River bridge back onto I-93 north.” (https://www.enterprisenews.com/article/20150117/NEWS/150116997)
To my mind, a leader who sees a crisis developing ahead and takes a detour to avoid it is no kind of leader. And he hasn’t changed.
Five years later, his initial response to the protests in Boston is as tone-deaf and unfeeling as it was in 2015. Even Charlie Baker was able to acknowledge that we have to investigate and root out systemic racism in his remarks condemning the violence.We can’t afford to have anyone at any elected level who doesn’t want to solve problems.
Murphy reacted to a desperate plea for help with name-calling and denigration on his facebook page.His follow-up post acknowledges that justice for George Floyd is necessary, but he has yet to say anything, to my knowledge, about investigating and eradicating the racism that precipitated these events. This is not a problem that can be solved with the arrest of four bad police officers. We have a lot of work to do, and our leaders have to take it seriously.
Because I can anticipate the criticism around using comments from someone’s personal facebook page, I’ll point out now that Murphy shut down his campaign facebook page years ago, and it currently directs constituents to his personal page for updates. Last fall, he unfriended and blocked me from his page, so I only know about these comments because I have been sent the screenshotd by several horrified friends and acquaintances.