Tuesday, Sept. 08

We can all agree that we don't want the federal government to have tyrannical rule over our lives. However, we also know that when the federal government backs off, Wall Street takes advantage of that parental void. And we can also agree that the only thing we despise more than tyrannical rule by the federal government is being taken advantage of by Wall Street. This leaves us with only one option: to support strong state governments.

Are state governments exempt from corruption? Certainly not. But at least we can readily have a voice in state government, effecting change on a level that is seen, heard, and felt.

For example, a friend of mine, Ben Downing, won a state Senate seat. Now, I don't know if Sen. Downing and I agree on absolutely everything, but I know that when I contacted him via his Web site regarding a bill that would soon reach a Senate committee, I received a personal response from him saying: "I am not on the committee for that bill, but I will look into it." Isn't that the type of reform we are all seeking? Not a reform of this or that issue, but a reform of the way in which we communicate with each other in order to rule ourselves.

Perhaps this type of reform is just not possible at the federal level in a nation of this size, but it is possible at the state level. Let's let states take care of the issues that states can competently handle (health-care is one of these, as Massachusetts has demonstrated) and let's demand that the federal government take a stand against the social and economic injustices that cross state lines. It did so with racism in the 20th century. Can it do so with corporate America in the 21st?

JUSTIN C. MAAIA

Pittsfield