For reasons I'm can't discuss, I had to postpone my interview with John Bonifaz for another day or two. John's campaign manager was very gracious and we'll probably talk on Monday or Tuesday. I'm actually glad for an extra few days for a number of reasons. While I doubt my questions will change, I've never actually been to a John Bonifaz speech. I've met him once on the streets of Boston, shook his hand and took a pamphlet, but that was it.
Some people may not agree with me, but I think one's ability to speak is paramount in politics. No, it isn't the be-all-end-all, but it's certainly a major plus. Leaders who are charismatic can not only inspire people, but they can inspire them to do something. Brilliant speakers are consensus builders, they're people who - when competent - have the opportunity to help lead society forward at warp speed.
Some people think Bill Clinton was popular and won twice because he was a moderate; it's really because he was such a friggin awesome speaker. People heard him and were inspired. Deval Patrick enjoys the same sort of talent; hearing Deval talk about the issues can give just about anyone a mega-dose of hope. Deval Patrick may as well be a rock star with the way he can light up a crowd.
Well, from the brief moment I shook Bonifaz's hand, I got the impression that he was one of those seemingly quiet types of politicians who are great working the committee, but not so great speaking to a crowded room - think John Kerri. Bonifaz seemed genial, welcoming, intelligent... but charismatic? Not so much.
I decided that if I'm going to "strongly support" John Bonifaz, I should actually go watch a few of his speeches. Luckily, since I'm back at UMASS Dartmouth and have high-speed internet again, a John Bonifaz speech is only a click away. While I was scared that I was about to confirm my worst nightmares (that Bonifaz was boring), I was actually surprised. Not only is he right on the issues, but he's personable, fiery and - dare I say it? - charismatic! Don't believe me? Here's some evidence:
Specifically, watch the first minute, then fast-forward to 4 minutes. Watch John Bonifaz make the case for why he deserves to be elected and why Bill Galvin doesn't - and this was months before Galvin made a mockery of Democracy.
If Bill Galvin had the cajones to actually run for Governor like he had planned, John Bonifaz would unquestionably be the frontrunner for Secretary of State. However, cajones is something Galvin clearly doesn't have - and now Massachusetts faces a choice. Do we want to elect someone who wants Democracy to be accountable to the people, or someone where the people are ignored and disempowered? The choice is clear and his name is John Bonifaz.
For further reading, take a look at the front page of today's Boston Globe.