Back during the Mel Gibson and Michael Richards idiocies, I started thinking about the nature of anger, and just what effect it has on people. I speculated that such rage might bring out some people’s “true nature,” in other cases it will simply cause them to blindly lash out in the way that they think will be most harmful. In Richards’ case, I said that he might indeed be a vile racist — or, in his fury, simply latched on to the most visible, recognizable, distinguishable characteristic of his antagonists and used that as his weapon. I don’t know enough about Richards to know which might be true, but I thought it was worthy of discussing.
It’s something I’ve seen a lot of. Some people, when lashing out, aren’t thinking rationally. They level the “biggest guns” they can find, and simply say it over and over again in hopes that mere repetition will give it credence. I once had a disagreement with a woman on a bus whom I knew extremely casually that kept escalating — first I was a drug user, then I was a drug dealer, then I was a drug pusher — one of the biggest in the city. There wasn’t a scintilla of fact to her argument, but she made it so vehemently and strenuously that she probably had herself convinced.
Something very much like that might be playing itself out in New Hampshire political circles, and I don’t like it one bit.
The Democrats had a very good November last year. They retained the governorship, they took both houses of the New Hamsphire legislature, the Executive Council, and both seats in the US House. (The only reason we still have two Republican Senators is because, I believe, neither were up for re-election this go-around.) In the wake of that election, the Democrats’ long-standing chair, Kathy Sullivan, announced her resignation. She said that she had spent years and years working towards that victory, and wanted to go out on a high note.
In the wake of her announcement, one figure emerged as her likely successor: longtime Democratic activist and vice-chairman Ray Buckley. But before the largely token election, a Republican dropped a bombshell.
State Representative Steve Vaillancourt, a former housemate of Buckley’s, came out and said that Buckley was heavily into child pornography. He said he’d seen it in Buckley’s room, and reported his concerns to the police in a letter. Buckley, stunned, announced his withdrawal for the race.
Since then, a lot of questions have been raised — and nearly all of them aimed at Vaillancourt. Does he have any evidence, or is it all based on his word? Why did he sit on this information for so many years? (He and Buckley stopped sharing a home in 1999, after 16 years.)
I have absolutely no knowledge about Buckley or Vaillancourt whatsoever, and have no opinion whatsoever on whether Buckley is a perv or if Vaillancourt is an asshole, or both. But I do know that there is an old truism — “extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof” — and Vaillancourt has shown absolutely nothing to back up his devastating charges, and pretty much says he has none.
All I have to say is that this whole sorry mess is downright embarrassing to the state of New Hampshire, and the best hope I have is that it can serve as a lesson to others on how NOT to do things.