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Finneran: Farewell

Friday, December 29, 2017


Tom Finneran


Godspeed and all that stuff..........

This is my last column...................for 2017!

I’m sure that some readers wish that the preceding sentence ended after the fifth word. Nuts to them.

Some thoughts as we enter the post-Christmas period of quiet time, school vacations, and New Year’s resolutions:

  • Might we all dial the rhetorical thermostat down a few degrees in 2018? Yes, I know that it’s an election year and I know that some candidates get carried away about all the “free stuff” they’ll bring to the nation’s table upon their election. Free food, free clothes, free college, free healthcare, free transportation, free tax cuts. Some candidates never reach adulthood. But I have higher expectations of you dear reader, expectations which acknowledge that nothing is free, that someone always pays. The candidates might be crazy. We need not mimic them.                                                                                                                                                                                      
  • Just as turning down the furnace thermostat pays dividends, so too would turning down the rhetorical thermostat, thereby creating some healthy space for quiet reflection. Not every member of the political left is a lunatic America-hating Commie anarchist. Not every member of the political right is a Bible-thumping philistine troglodyte. Less screeching, more listening would be a good start. Less impulse, more thinking would be an advance. Basic numeracy, basic literacy, basic history, and a good sense of humor would go a long way in calming our political fevers.
  • If you think that 2017 passed in the wink of an eye you are right. And take it to the bank that 2018 will race by even faster. Trust me on this one, it’s a function of age, and once you hit fifty, each year passes by ever more swiftly. The good news is that sunrises and sunsets, once seemingly infinite in number, now take on the preciousness of fine yet dwindling heirlooms. Cherish each one.
  • There will be a stretch of time in 2018 when you want to take a hammer to your television set. That stretch of time will begin just before Labor Day and it will end on election day in early November. Steel yourself for the onslaught of political ads---during those weeks devote your time to music, to poetry, to literature, to golf, to fishing, to travel, to anything but politics for those twelve weeks of mindless propaganda.
  • Count your blessings. It may be your children or grandchildren. It may be good health. It may be good friends. It may be a great doctor or an attentive caring nurse, it may be a kindly neighborhood cop or a helpful neighborhood fireman. How about those great teachers who push and inspire and excite the young minds in your community? Our bounty of blessings certainly includes the many American men and women who wear the uniform of our armed forces. A blessing oft taken for granted is the simple good fortune of living at this time and in this place which we call home. Americans have already won life’s biggest lottery, for America remains a grand place, a dynamo of innovation and freedom, a playground of opportunity. May it long continue.
  • And may this and every one of your New Years be filled with love, peace, health and happiness throughout all your days.


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


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