Ray Flynn Salutes Activists
of Mass. 'America First Party'
Says that Powerful Media
Is Cause of Corruption in Politics
Former Boston Mayor Raymond L. Flynn
The most serious thing
happening to our state today is a lack of political
participation from good people and the media's undermining
of moral values, said former Boston Mayor Raymond
L. Flynn in a recent address to the state's fledgling
America First Party.
He saluted the group of
about 40 active citizens for their willingness to
contribute to the process of building our country,
but said most people are not participating in the
political process anymore, believing all politicians
are corrupt and their vote does not count.
Flynn does not believe
that about all politicians, but said he does believe
our political system is corrupt.
Jonathan Hil, Mass AFP Chairman
Part of the problem is that
the balance of power has shifted significantly
to the media over the years, he said, leading
to a monopoly on public opinion.
"At one time, the religious,
business and other communities all had an
independent voice in our city, state and country,"
said Flynn. "But now all that is wrapped
up into one powerful institution in society
today -- and that institution is the media.
"Churches at one
time interjected the moral component into
the debate about many, many issues. Whether
it's about homosexuality, abortion, just wages,
the death penalty or any of those issues."
Flynn, who is a former
Mayor of Boston and Ambassador to the Vatican, said
people might not choose to be guided by the moral
voice of religious leaders, but nevertheless, it is
important to be able to hear that viewpoint.
When he was a legislative
leader at the State House for many years, church leaders
would come there and speak almost in unison, saying,
"This is our position. You legislature and governor
make up your mind whether to accept it or not, but
here is what we think. That was a very fair and constructive
and important contribution that they made. You know
something? It often had the impact of rejecting that
When Flynn was growing
up, he would hear people say that if the Archbishop
of Boston stood at the pulpit and said birth control
was wrong or abortion was wrong, there wouldn't be
a politician in the community that could possibly
go against him.
"Right now, you can
get a religious leader [on a Saturday] saying 'Today
is Saturday,' and the Boston Globe would come out
and say 'No it's not; Today is Tuesday,' and the politician
would be intimidated, would be afraid and would say,
'Oh, it must be Tuesday because the Boston Globe told
us it was Tuesday,' not because of the fact that it
might be the right, moral way to vote."
The shift in power to the
media is having an enormous impact, he believes. "There
is a monopoly in this country and I think it is the
greatest challenge and the greatest threat to our
country. It is the monopoly of public opinion that
is taking place. We somehow have to go out and compete
with that monopoly that is out there."
According to the former
Mayor, there is a handful of people that own and control
the way we get our information, so the average person
does not even hear other points of view.
"Where do people get
their information now? They get their information
from CNN or Time Warner or Newsweek. You know what?
The same person owns them all.
"The most popular
television program where most people get their news
is NBC's Meet the Press. It is the most popular program
in the world in terms of formulating public opinion.
That is owned by General Electric. It owns about 150
radio stations; it owns all kinds of businesses. Look
what's happening here in Boston. You have the Boston
Globe, which is owned by the New York Times. They
own the Red Sox; they own other businesses and radio
"If you want to run
for political office in this town, you have to go
down to the Boston Globe and say, 'Here I am, I want
to run for office, how should I vote? That basically
is what is happening. That is the biggest challenge,
People believe something
must be true because they read it in the newspaper,
but Flynn is pretty much convinced it is not
true if it was in the newspaper.
Internet Is Replacing Newspapers
Mayor Flynn is starting
to understand the importance of the Internet in terms
of public opinion and believes it might be the only
way of getting information out there. He said that
in his position as president of American Catholic
Alliance, he writes Internet articles for Catholic
Online, which he described as a well-funded website
based in California that receives a lot of traffic,
but has not been able to make an impact electorally.
"A speech like this
as the former president of the United States Conference
of Mayors, an author, a writer, to be given an opportunity
to speak at either the Democratic or Republican Party,
and talk like we're talking, would be unheard of.
We're talking about a small number of people controlling
the political debate in this country today."
Flynn said people have
to get out there and reinvent the wheel as far as
politics is concerned. Politics has changed. Today
it is about money and organization and special interests.
You have to be able to compete financially and organizationally.
"I'll bet you that
there is a significant number of like-minded people
like you out there all across America. We have reached
the time where we can't sit back and wait for somebody
else to do it for us."
Join Any Party; Become
Flynn said his message
is not meant to start up or be part of any specific
"My message is we
have to get people more actively involved in governments
and in their communities. If it's the America First
party, that's fine. If it is the church, that's fine.
If it's coaching little league, that's fine.
"But you have to get
more involved in the affairs of our government and
winning elections because that is what gets power.
That is what people understand in society today.
"These fat cats in
New York or Boston at the Democratic and the Republican
national conventions will exclude people like you
and I. We will not have a seat at the table. The only
way you have a seat at the table is when you start
winning elections and start showing people that you
have political clout. It takes an awful lot of work.
People have sat on their hands for the longest period
Regarding the church, Flynn
said a lot of orthodox, conservative, traditional
Catholics have sat on their hands for a long time
and allowed other people to make decisions for them.
Now the Boston Globe and
Herald are already talking about where the Catholic
Church should go from here, said Flynn.
"Not only are they
handicapping who the next leader of the Catholic Church
in the archdiocese of Boston ought to be, they are
now almost dictating what that new archbishop ought
to do in terms of church policy.
"You read those articles.
You'll see no Ray Neary, no Dr. Mildred Jefferson,
no Phil Moran, no Professor Mary Ann Glendon of Harvard
Law School or Ray Flynn, former US Ambassador to the
Vatican and highest vote getter in Boston. You won't
see any of those names in those articles."
Flynn said his hometown
newspaper, the Globe, does not want to hear his viewpoint
because it differs from their editorial position.
"They are afraid that
if people read my comments about certain things, they
might agree with me and disagree with the media. It
is not so much the distortions or taking comments
out of context. They just simply ignore you."
Flynn said the media ignores
him and other people so you will think theirs is the
only opinion about politics, religion, business, community
"You are not hearing
the entire story. You are hearing their opinion, their
point of view. That's where people get their information.
They are saying, 'Gee I read this story in the paper.
I read it in the Herald, I read it in the Globe, I
read it in the New York Times.' The rest of TV just
Flynn said television news
follows the lead of the front page of the Globe. If
the Globe has it in the paper that morning, the TV
news will lead with it.
He said that people have
to understand that power has shifted significantly.
"The power is not in our hands unless we exercise
it and we organize it. It is a real uphill fight.
The power is in the media; it is in public opinion.
It is where people get their information and formulate
Along with the church,
one of the institutions that was highly regarded and
respected but no longer has the voice it once had
is the business community, said Flynn.
When he was running for
mayor, there was an establishment in Boston called
"The Vault" comprised of influential downtown
"When they spoke,
the city listened. The press listened. They received
a significant amount of attention. Now, there is no
voice at all in the business community. The business
community has no power. That power has shifted from
them into the hands of the press. The press owns much
of the businesses."
Similarly, many other independent
voices have been silenced and their power shifted
to the press. Now the Catholic Church's voice in Boston
and the rest of the country is being diminished and
trivialized so that you have just one voice, that
of the media, he said.
"It is a very dangerous
situation. If the moral voice is not going to be heard,
then who is going to make that point for us?"
In order to reach the many
good and sincere people who are not getting the information
they need to help advance this country, the stability
of the family and the church, the former Mayor and
Ambassador suggested people can at least write letters
to the editor, go on the Internet, contact people
individually, use cable access stations and call radio
America First Party
Seeks to Restore Traditional Values in Government
The America First Party
evolved a year ago from the conservative wing of the
Reform Party and has parties in 26 states with organizing
committees in 13 others.
Massachusetts AFP Chairman
Jonathan Hill says conservative candidates with traditional
values do not get the practical support they need
from the major parties and would do better in a party
that shares their values.
He says there are many
political trends threatening the very existence of
our country. One trend is the willingness of legislators
to violate the law at all levels of government. This
is occurring partly because we are in a state of moral
decline. "But it is my belief that there are
many people in this country who still share our values
and would respond to this movement if they had information
about it," he says.
Among its positions, the
grassroots organization takes an uncompromising stand
against abortion, the glorification of homosexuality,
cloning/genetic manipulation, affirmative action and
is for restoring parental, Second Amendment and property
In its literature it says,
"[We are] actively reaching out to Americans
who are disappointed with both major parties. Whether
it is because of the leftwing, feminist, and anti-family
direction that the Democratic Party has taken, or
the lack of concern of the Republican Party for average
working families, both parties are increasingly out
of touch with the values and needs of ordinary Americans.
Both are jeopardizing our standard of living through
unfair trade policies and through the influence of
powerful special interests. The America First Party
is tired of the betrayal of both Republican and Democratic
The AFP is seeking to increase
membership rolls by 1000-2000 in Massachusetts this
year. That is because with minimal media support,
the second-best method for publicizing candidates
is to go door-to-door, they say.
The Party estimates that
to run a candidate for a State Representative position,
it would require 50 to 100 active volunteers. A successful
candidate for Congress would require 100 to 200 activists.
and state contact info can be found at www.americafirstparty.org