Alan Chartock: Election day raises fears and questions

Here comes one of the most important American elections in history. In fact, this election may well determine the future of our country. Great democracies have often devolved into political systems that are anything but democratic. That’s why this election is so crucial. A Republican Supreme Court has put us on a very dangerous road to a place where those with the most can buy their way to controlling the political process. If Mitt Romney wins, that court will become more conservative.

Also, if you posit a Romney win, several troubling questions arise.

Will we have a Medicare system that has done such a wonderful job for those over 65? Will we have an America that invests in its children and its education, or will we have a Mitt Romney America where we build more billion-dollar submarines, create wars in which to use them, and go down the road that Dwight David Eisenhower, the U.S. Army general and Repub lican president, warned us against?

Will the Supreme Court become the permanent bastion of right-wing Republican troglodytes who will med dle in American rights and trans form our Constitution from a model of protections to a system of oppression?

Will women and religious minorities lose their rights? Will equal protection under the law be forgotten?

When that great American, George McGovern, died the other day, we were all reminded that the only state he carried was ours. He may have been one of the last American politicians who cared more about what was right than about winning elections. I remember the bumper stickers so well: “Don’t blame me: I’m from Massachusetts.”

The polls show it may go either way and I’m scared to death.

Here in Massachusetts, we have a crucial senatorial election, Elizabeth Warren versus incumbent Scott Brown. Look, you don’t have to love Warren, all you have to understand is that it may come down to a perfect hat-trick for the Republicans in which they will control the House, the Senate, the presidency and the Supreme Court. A Warren win may be the difference between Repub lican control of the Senate and continuance of the Democratic majority. This election is so close that clear Republican efforts at voter suppression may determine the outcome.

The other thing that will count is voter turnout. We saw what happened in Florida in Bush v. Gore, where just a few votes made a tremendous difference. We send teams to foreign countries to make sure that they run fair elections, but increasingly there are hints that there is dirty work afoot here at home.

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A wonderful new eatery has opened in Great Barrington, and it is just what the doctor ordered. The more good restaurants, the more Great Barrington draws tourists and other county residents.

The new restaurant, one of a newer class of restaurants called “gastro pubs,” is named “Bell and Anchor.” Owner Mark Firth is an engaging young man with a British accent who made his place in culinary excellence in Brooklyn. He was a principal owner of “The Diner,” which quickly grew in prominence as the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn became the hottest place for everyone ranging from hipsters to the urban wealthy.

It is our good fortune that Firth, his wife, Bettina Schwartz, and their beautiful children have moved to the Berkshires, where he farms and raises animals that often end up on your table. Everything in the restaurant is beautiful, and no expense has been spared to make it a comfortable place to be. Mark brought Chef Stephen Browning with him, and it’s obvious the guy has culinary genius qualities.

Originally published in the Berkshire Eagle, 10/27/12

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