Finneran: Two Men - One Black, One White

Friday, August 10, 2018
Tom Finneran, GoLocalProv MINDSETTERâ„¢

Malcolm X PHOTO: Wikipedia
It’s August 10 and summer is racing to a close.

College kids are already departing for orientation and classes. Grade school kids are filling their backpacks with brand new notebooks for their new courses. School custodians have painted, washed, and waxed everything in sight while teachers are reviewing their lesson plans.

I’m a bit behind on my summer reading...........perhaps it’s been the entertainment of the Red Sox’ spectacular season. That four-game series against the Yankees was a total distraction.

Nonetheless, I have two good books for you. Truth be told neither book is a Hardy Boy/ Nancy Drew good-guy-always-wins story. Rather, they are searing indictments of man’s capacity for cruelty. Man’s inhumanity to his fellow man jumps off the pages of these books. In several instances, I simply put the book down and closed my eyes, physically and spiritually appalled at the racism and hatred cataloged therein.

“The Autobiography of Malcolm X” was my July read. I had read it about thirty years ago and I wanted to take a second look at it.

Malcolm was a brilliant character, molded and cheated in ways large and small by the brutal and inescapable racism of his time. He was a pimp, a robber, a drug dealer, and ultimately a convict. New York City and Boston were his arenas for crime. He found God—more specifically Allah—while in prison and it was there that he dedicated himself to the person and teaching of Elijah Muhammad of the Nation of Islam (NOI) in Chicago.

A journey to Mecca broadened his interpretation of human relations among and between the races, planting seeds of division between Malcolm and Elijah Muhammad. Those seeds then sprouted into open antagonism when Malcolm began to doubt Elijah’s claimed adherence to a strict moral code.

Malcolm was a media personality before there was such a thing. He penned op-eds and was quoted constantly in the nation’s magazines and newspapers. He was a frequent guest on radio and television news programs and at the time, he may have been the most sought-after speaker on the college campuses of America.

As a black man with a growing following in the black community, he was perceived as a threat. Malcolm knew that. He further knew that danger lurked around every corner, the danger of assassination. He was murdered in New York by gunmen from NOI on February 21, 1965. Read the book.

“From Broken Glass” by Steve Ross was my early August read. Steve Ross’ real name was Szmulek Rozental. He was a Polish Jew, a joyful eight-year-old boy when Germany invaded Poland. The German invasion, defeat, and occupation of Poland was savage in all aspects. It was particularly and horrifically savage in its treatment of Jews. Steve Ross and his brother were the only two members of his extended family to survive the nightmare of the concentration camps and the Holocaust. Steve has the infamous Holocaust identification number burned into his arm.

Spared from a pyre by some unknown grace, and further spared by the arrival of American soldiers at the gates of Dachau, Steve became an émigré to America.

He has made his post-war life in Boston as a social worker, educator, and activist. The New England Holocaust Memorial behind Boston City Hall was his idea, an idea brought to life and to reality by Boston Mayor Ray Flynn. Kudos to Mayor Flynn whose own life is a testament to human grace and kindness, a warm beacon to the underdogs of all races and religions.

The moral degeneracy of Nazi Germany is almost impossible to comprehend. Such moral degeneracy was highly contagious, affecting a wide swath of enablers and participants far beyond the monsters of the Gestapo and SS. A particularly revolting passage describes a ten-year-old child asking a German guard “may I kick one?” “May I kick one in the head with my new boots?” And later, “May I kill it now with my boots?” The “it” refers to an elderly Jewish man on the verge of collapse from hunger and brutality. The ten-year-old boy was part of a uniformed brigade of child murderers, seeking the praise of the guards for their hatred of Jews..........

I have known Steve Ross for many years now. His son Michael was a distinguished member of the Boston City Council and is a skilled and successful practicing attorney. One of Steve’s students, reclamation projects, and friends is Brian Wallace, a Southie kid who served with great distinction in the Mass. House of Representatives and who assisted in the publication of this book. Brian Wallace is a mensch.

Steve Ross, Michael Ross, Ray Flynn, and Brian Wallace are the living human proof that even the most horrid stories can have happy endings. The horror of Nazi Germany met the firmness of American resolve. America won.

Read the book.

Tom Finneran is the former Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, served as the head the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council, and was a longstanding radio voice in Boston radio.

  • Registered Voters

    Q1: Are you registered to vote in Rhode Island?

    Total 501 100%
    Yes: 501 100%
    No: 0 0%
    Don't know: 0 0%

     
  • Gender

    Q2: Are you ...
    Total
    Total: 100%
    Male: 44%
    Female: 56%

     
  • Age

    Q3: In which age group are you?

    18-24:  7%
    25-34:  16%
    35-44:  15%
    45-54:  20%
    55-64: 17%
    65+      25%

     
  • Political Party

    Q4: When it comes to voting, do you consider yourself to be affiliated with the Democratic Party, the Republican Party, Moderate, or Unaffiliated with a major party?

    Democrat: 38%
    Republican:14%
    Moderate: 6%
    Unaffiliated: 39%
    Don't know/Refused: 3%

     
  • Likely Voters

    Q5: Next year, in November of 2018, there will be a statewide general election for Governor and many other state offices.  How likely is it that you will vote in this election?   Will you definitely be voting, will you probably be voting, are you 50-50...

     

    Definitely be voting.............................. 81%

    Probably be voting............................... 19%

    All others.............................................   0%

     
  • Top Issue

    Q6: What would you say is the number one problem facing Rhode Island that you would like the Governor to address?
     

    Taxes.................................................. .18%

    Jobs and economy.............................. 16%

    State budget.........................................11%

    Roads...................................................10%

    Education............................................  8%

    Healthcare...........................................  5%

    Corruption/Public integrity.................... 4%

    Immigration..........................................  4%

    Housing.............................................. ..2%

    Governor............................................. ..2%

    Homelessness.......................................1%

     

    Other.. ............................................... 14%

    Don’t know..........................................   6%

     
  • Direction

    Q7: In general, would you say things in Rhode Island are headed in the right direction or are they off on the wrong track?
     

    Right track........................................... 19%

    Wrong track......................................... 36%

    Mixed.................................................. 45%

     
  • Optimism

    Q8: Thinking ahead several years, is your outlook about Rhode Island more optimistic or more pessimistic?   
     

    Optimistic............................................ 52%

    Pessimistic...........................................48%
     

     
  • Finances

    Q9: Over the last three years or so, has your family's financial situation improved, gotten worse, or not changed at all?
     

    Changed for the better......................... 24%

    Changed for the worse......................... 33%

    Not changed at all................................ 43%

     
  • Governor

    Q10: Which of the following comes closest to your view regarding each of the following potential candidates for governor of Rhode Island?

    Gina Raimondo, a Democrat

    I am sure to vote for her:  9%

    There is a good chance I will vote for her:  19%

    It is possible that I vote for her:  24%

    It is unlikely that I will vote for her:  18%

    I will never vote for her:  31%

     
  • Governor

    Q11: Which of the following comes closest to your view regarding each of the following potential candidates for governor of Rhode Island?

    Matt Brown, a Democrat

    I am sure to vote for him:  4%

    There is a good chance I will vote for him:  8%

    It is possible that I vote for him:  40%

    It is unlikely that I will vote for him:  30%

    I will never vote for him:  17%
     

     
  • Governor

    Q12: Which of the following comes closest to your view regarding each of the following potential candidates for governor of Rhode Island?

    Spencer Dickinson, a Democrat

    I am sure to vote for him:  3%

    There is a good chance I will vote for him:  7%

    It is possible that I vote for him:  37%

    It is unlikely that I will vote for him:  35%

    I will never vote for him:  18%

     
  • Governor

    Q13: Which of the following comes closest to your view regarding each of the following potential candidates for governor of Rhode Island?

    Paul Roselli, a Democrat 

    I am sure to vote for him:  2%

    There is a good chance I will vote for him:  7%

    It is possible that I vote for him:  35%

    It is unlikely that I will vote for him:  37%

    I will never vote for him:  19%

     
  • Governor

    Q14: Which of the following comes closest to your view regarding each of the following potential candidates for governor of Rhode Island?

    Allan Fung, a Republican 

    I am sure to vote for him:  7%

    There is a good chance I will vote for him:  18%

    It is possible that I vote for him:  28%

    It is unlikely that I will vote for him:  25%

    I will never vote for him:  21%

     
  • Governor

    Q15: Which of the following comes closest to your view regarding each of the following potential candidates for governor of Rhode Island?

    Patricia Morgan, a Republican 

    I am sure to vote for her:  3%

    There is a good chance I will vote for her.:   9%

    It is possible that I vote for her:  32%

    It is unlikely that I will vote for her:  35%

    I will never vote for her:  21%

     
  • Governor

    Q16: Which of the following comes closest to your view regarding each of the following potential candidates for governor of Rhode Island?

    Giovanni Feroce, a Republican 

    I am sure to vote for him:  2%

    There is a good chance I will vote for him:  5%

    It is possible that I vote for him:  24%

    It is unlikely that I will vote for him:  35%

    I will never vote for him:  34%

     
  • Governor

    Q17: Which of the following comes closest to your view regarding each of the following potential candidates for governor of Rhode Island?

    Luis-Daniel Muñoz, an Independent

    I am sure to vote for him:  3%

    There is a good chance I will vote for him: 6%

    It is possible that I vote for him: 33%

    It is unlikely that I will vote for him: 38%

    I will never vote for him: 21%

     
  • Governor

    Q18: Which of the following comes closest to your view regarding each of the following potential candidates for governor of Rhode Island?

    Joe Trillo, an Independent

    I am sure to vote for him:  1%

    There is a good chance I will vote for him:  8%

    It is possible that I vote for him:  37%

    It is unlikely that I will vote for him:  34%

    I will never vote for him:  19%

     
  • Governor

    Q20: If the election for Governor were held today and the candidates were: Democrat Gina Raimondo, Republican Allan Fung and Independent Joe Trillo - for whom would you vote?        

    Allan Fung, a Republican..................... 33%

    Gina Raimondo, a Democrat................ 33%

    Joe Trillo, and Independent.................. 16%

    Don't know     18%

     
  • Governor

    Q20: If the election for Governor were held today and the candidates were: Democrat Gina Raimondo, Republican Patricia Morgan and Independent Joe Trillo - for whom would you vote?         

    Gina Raimondo, a Democrat................ 39%

    Patricia Morgan, a Republican............. 20%

    Joe Trillo, an Independent................... 19%

    Don't know ......................................... 22%

     
  • Governor

    Q21: If the election for Governor were held today and the candidates were: Democrat Matt Brown, Republican Allan Fung and Independent Joe Trillo - for whom would you vote? 

    Allan Fung, a Republican..................... 35%

    Matt Brown, a Democrat...................... 25%

    Joe Trillo, an Independent.................... 14%

    Don't know .......................................... 27%
     

     
  • Governor

    Q22: If the election for Governor were held today and the candidates were: Democrat Matt Brown, Republican Patricia Morgan and Independent Joe Trillo - for whom would you vote?        

    Matt Brown, a Democrat...................... 30%

    Patricia Morgan, a Republican............. 20%

    Joe Trillo, an Independent.................... 18%

    Don't know .......................................... 33%

     
  • U.S. Senate

    Q23: If the election for the U.S. Senate were held today and the candidates were: [ROTATE] Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse and Republican Robert Nardolillo - for whom would you vote?

    Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democrat........... 53%

    Robert 'Bobby' Nardolillo, a Republican.. 31%

    Don't know............................................... 16%

     
  • U.S. Senate

    Q24: If the election for the U.S. Senate were held today and the candidates were: [ROTATE] Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse and Republican Robert Flanders - for whom would you vote?           

    Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democrat........ 54%

    Robert Flanders, a Republican............. 32%

    Don't know.......................................... 14%

     
  • Schools

    Q25: If there was an election today, would you vote to approve or reject issuing $250 million in financing supported general obligation bonds to repair Rhode Island's deteriorating school buildings and bring them up to minimum standards called "warm, safe and dry"?

    Net: Approve...................................... 74%

    Definitely approve............................... 36%

    Probably approve................................ 38%
     

    Net: Reject......................................... 17%

    Probably reject....................................   9%

    Definitely reject....................................   7%


    Don't know..........................................   9%

     
  • PawSox

    Q26: The Rhode Island General Assembly is in the process of negotiating a $40 million public financing deal with the Pawtucket Red Sox for a new stadium, hoping to bring a vote before the House and Senate this summer.  

    In general, do you favor or oppose the use of public funds to help finance a new stadium for the Pawtucket Red Sox?
     

    Net: Favor.......................................... 33%

    Strongly favor...................................... 13%

    Somewhat favor.................................. 21%
     

    Net: Oppose....................................... 59%

    Somewhat oppose.............................. 21%

    Strongly oppose.................................. 38%
     

    Don't know..........................................   8%

     
  • Fane Tower

    Q27: The City of Providence and the state of Rhode Island are considering a proposal by New York developer Jason Fane to build a 46-story luxury residence tower in Providence, next to a public riverfront park.  The developer will invest $250 to $300 million of his own funds.  The project is called the Hope Point Tower, it would be 170-feet taller than the Superman building and would require waiving height restrictions and the use of state tax credits.

    In general, do you favor or oppose development of the Hope Point Tower?

     

    Net: Favor.......................................... 39%

    Strongly favor...................................... 13%

    Somewhat favor.................................. 27%


    Net: Oppose....................................... 50%

    Somewhat oppose.............................. 23%

    Strongly oppose.................................. 27%


    Don't know.......................................... 11%

     
  • Elorza/Traffic Cameras

    Q28: How would you rate the job that Mayor Jorge Elorza has done managing issues related to speed cameras in Providence?

    Net: Excellent/Good.......................... 26%

    Excellent.............................................   6%

    Good................................................... 20%

    Net: Fair/Poor.................................... 74%

    Fair...................................................... 29%

    Poor.................................................... 45%

     
  • Q29: Since it was launched in 2016, UHIP -- the Rhode Island program designed to improve customer service for those who receive federal benefits -- has run into significant problems, including long lines, cost overruns, lost applications, over- and under-charging of patients and families.   

    Based on what you know at this time, what percent of 
    blame for this do you assign to:
     

    Deloitte, the consulting company who
    produced the system........................... 53.3%

    Governor Gina Raimondo, who has
    been governor since the system
    launch in September 2016................... 47.1%

     
  • NIMBYism

    Q30: Presently, there are local groups opposing the development of a natural gas facility in Burrillville, solar projects in Exeter, a LNG facility in Providence and wind projects in North Kingstown. 
    Some people say that it is important for local groups to play a role in opposition 
    of projects like these that could be dangerous or harmful to citizens; 

    Others say that local groups have gone too far to the detriment of the state’s long-term energy needs. 

    Which statement comes closer to your own view?

     

    Local groups play an important role...... 46%

    Local groups have gone too far............. 31%

    Not sure................................................. 24%

     
  • Corruption

    Q31: Compared to other states, do you think there is:

    More political corruption in RI................. 63%

    Less political corruption in RI................   7%

    About the same level as other states..... 30%
     

     
  • Income

    Q32: The next question is about the total income of YOUR HOUSEHOLD for the PAST 12 MONTHS.  Please include your income PLUS the income of all members living in your household (including cohabiting partners and armed forces members living at home).  

    $50,000 or less.................................... 33%

    More $50,000 but less than $75,000..... 18%

    More $75,000 but less than $100,000... 16%

    More $100,000 but less than $150,000. 13%

    $150,000 or more................................ 10%

    Don't know/refused.............................. 10%

     
  • Ethnicity

    Q33: What particular ethnic group or nationality - such as English, French, Italian, Irish, Latino, Jewish, African American, and so forth - do you consider yourself a part of or feel closest to?  

    Net: White, Non-Hispanic..................... 82%

    Black or African American....................   6%

    Latino/Hispanic....................................   5%

    Other....................................................   7%

     

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