Cambridge, MA vs. Troops

On November 6th, 2007 Cambridge, MA election officials have ruled that collecting toiletries, magazines, candy and other items for care packages for US Troops stationed overseas is far too political and violated a Massachusetts State law prohibiting political statements pertaining to a particular election within 150 feet of any polling station . They forced Troop 45 Cambridge Boy Scouts to remove every flyer and every box from the environs surrounding the polling stations despite having twice previously giving their approval for the collection drive!

The troop 45 Cambridge Boy Scouts scouts earned some money in an unexpected fundraiser. Instead of using for the originally suggested purpose of trips to Water Country, Six Flags, white water rafting, or skiing they chose to use it to fund collecting donations of toiletries, magazines, candy and other items for the US troops at the polling sites on Election Day. That’s right, the children chose to give up their fun in order to support American troops who are far from home.

But sadly for us all, on Election Day, Marsha Weinerman, executive director of the Election Commission, removed the boxes from all the polling stations because one woman, a poll worker, complained it was a political statement.

Scouts Had been given verbal permission by the city election commission twice and at the polling stations as well. A promotion for the polling place collections was still up as of November 5th on the Veterans’ Services Department section of the city’s Web site. But it was all in vain; Marsha Weinerman, executive director of the Election Commission had all the flyers taken down and the collection boxes removed because of the complaint that claimed that supporting our troops is implicitly “pro-war.”

The location where this female poll worker was complaining about the flyer was on a bulletin board with 70 or so other flyers, including ones promoting: Get Out of Iraq, Campus Green, College Democrats of America, China’s New Property Law, Save the Non-Proliferation Regime, and Global Warming. The only flyer the Election Commission removed was that of the Boy Scouts collecting things for the troops.

What is truly sad is that, while sickened and enraged, I and many others aren’t even that surprised by Cambridge’s attitudes and behavior. We’ve come to expect such thing from “The Kennedy State.” In the current Massachusetts social and political climate one has to wonder how long it will remain safe for the Boy Scouts to operate. They are in uniforms after all.

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