Of course, there's more than the way our minds work at stake here. There are two other important things to remember here. The first is less important, but certainly more infuriating. It isn't every day that it seems as though everyone is conspiring against a town, but Saturday was one of those days for Middleboro. First, you have the speed at which this proposal was accepted: the actual deal the town voted on was posted online less than a week before the event. It was a 45 page document, written by lawyers no doubt. How were voters supposed to read and understand all 45 pages of the fine print? The answer? They weren't - as was later found out in the Globe, when a UMASS Dartmouth professor discovered the rhetoric didn't quite match the figures. The casino promised 11 million a year for the town, when in reality it'll be millions less.
No doubt some people voted "yes" on the agreement because they would genuinely like to see a casino come to Middleborough. But there were others, plenty of others, I suspect, who voted "yes" because they were told, repeatedly, that the casino was coming whether they wanted it or not, and that they might as well negotiate the best terms that they could.
In fact, that's the second and most important thing to come out of Middleboro's town meeting. Saturday's vote, as it stands, is just as symbolic as their vaporous "do we want casinos?"Of course, neither vote really means much in the grand scheme of things, which makes their spitting in the wind with their Question After the Fact all the more laughable. It's Beacon Hill that will decide whether or not a casino will be built in Middleboro (followed by one in Martha's Vineyard). Because of the way federal law works, states get to decide what kinds of gambling they'll allow. If any of a particular kind of gambling is allowed, in any way, shape or form, Native Americans can incorporate those games on their land within the state. However, Massachusetts does not allow slot machines in any way, shape or form - at least today. Therefore, the Womponoags can't have them - and a casino, without slots, certainly won't be turning any big profits. A casino in Middleboro isn't quite as inevitable as citizens of the town were lead to believe, which they probably would have realized if the town didn't jam the lies down their throat in the first place.
All of the above becomes more obvious when you learn facts like the police union endorsed the deal. These are the same police officers who, as Dan Kennedy wrote, blatantly allowed Yes Voters to wear campaign literature, but stopped No Voters from having the same kind of rights. This is the same town who's selectmen had their spouses speak on behalf of the deal. Of course, no one would expect they did any fishy business to make sure it passed, behind the scenes, right? Well, the Powers that Be - the Good 'ol Boys, as Lynne likes to call them, did everything in their power to make sure the casino passed. Yet, in the end, thankfully, they aren't the ones who get to decide.