A Movement Built for Malcontents Meets at Sabin Tavern

Maryland Governor Bob Ehrlich has it mostly right, as John Loughlin quotes him to Dan McGowan in The Boston Globe, "The Republican Party in a blue state is made of contrarians and malcontents. If they could compromise and work together for the greater good, they’d be Democrats.”  What he gets wrong is the phrase, "for the greater good."

Indeed, any statement that implies that Rhode Island Democrats are working for the "greater good" stumbles over the red flags that hit the field.  Perhaps they can work together because they share the same goal of more government, but that doesn't mean they're right or even that their intentions are good.

So let's rephrase:  The Republican Party in a blue state is made of contrarians and malcontents, yes, but the reason they can't compromise is that the establishment is so clearly not working for the greater good and treats them as enemies of The Goal.  Conservatives who would like to work cooperatively with their less-conservative peers have been constantly thwarted in their efforts.  After years of frustration, what remains is a grumbling coalition of people who enjoy being contrarians and others who have been politically disfigured by the scars of their unbroken march through the gauntlet.

There's no use complaining; it is what it is.  If we're going to change our state, we have to accept this as the landscape and figure out how to make it work... somehow.

In 1772, when the HMS Gaspee went aground in the Providence River and Rhode Island's colonists needed a place where they could plot to capitalize on the event to send a message, they sent out a town crier to announce a gathering at the Sabin Tavern, at the corner of what is now South Main and Planet Street in Providence.  My, how times have changed!  That historic spot is now a parking lot.  The vessel that has gone aground is the ship of state, and patriots want to save it from its captains rather than burn it down.

And of course, people now gather on the Internet rather than in taverns.

So here we are.  This Sabin Tavern will be a place to gather and plot to take back our state.  Those disgruntled souls who are still up at this late hour and are willing to arm themselves rhetorically will find a way to focus on the problem before us and, yes, work together for the greater good.

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  • Justin Katz