17 November 2016
Governor Charlie Baker
Massachusetts State House
Office of the Governor
Boston, MA 02133
Dear Governor Baker,
I am a resident of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and a registered voter therein. I am writing to inform you that I, along with many of your constituents, am extremely concerned about your call to wait and see, to give President-Elect Trump a chance to prove himself.
Meanwhile, the President-Elect's surrogates, such as Carl Higbie, begin the work of arguing the case that one of America's greatest modern shames, the detention of Japanese-Americans in internment camps during World War II, constitutes a legal precedent for the forced registration of Muslims in the United States.
Sir, Massachusetts takes great pride in its history of being at the forefront in the struggle for liberty and civil rights. We were the second state in the Union to abolish slavery; we were the home of President John Quincy Adams, who argued for the freedom of the Amistad rebels before the Supreme Court; we were the home of his mother, Abigail Adams, who argued for the right of women to vote from the inception of the Union. We were the first state to offer the full protection of the law to same-sex marriage.
Boston is home to the Freedom Trail; it is here that the first shot of the American Revolution was fired. It is the city that responded to a gross act of terrorism, the Boston Marathon bombing, with strength, courage, and the rule of law.
Our Constitution, written chiefly by President John Adams (there's that family again) is the oldest functioning written constitution still in effect in the world. It served as a model for the United States Constitution, and the Declaration of Rights it contains serves as a model for the first ten Amendments to that United States Constitution, the Bill of Rights, which most Americans hold sacred.
That Declaration of Rights contains the following words:
Article I. All men are born free and equal, and have certain natural, essential, and unalienable rights; among which may be reckoned the right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberties; that of acquiring, possessing, and protecting property; in fine, that of seeking and obtaining their safety and happiness.
Article II. It is the right as well as the duty of all men in society, publicly and at stated seasons, to worship the Supreme Being, the great Creator and Preserver of the universe. And no subject shall be hurt, molested, or restrained, in his person, liberty, or estate, for worshipping God in the manner and season most agreeable to the dictates of his own conscience, or for his religious profession or sentiments, provided he doth not disturb the public peace or obstruct others in their religious worship.
Governor Baker, I call upon you to adhere to the founding principles of our Commonwealth. I call upon you to follow the basic dictates of human beings of good conscience. I call upon you for a display of character and valiance in keeping with the better history of Massachusetts, and the legacy we must strive to preserve.
I call upon you to join in leadership with the Legislature of the State of California and the Governor of the State of New York, and to publicly disavow any such attempt to shamefully and illegally detain American citizens and legal immigrants on the basis of their religion and culture alone.
That cowardice, sir, is beneath us. Do not shame us before the world. Let us again be a model for the nation, as we unequivocally say no to racism, to fascism, to bigotry, and to fear.