Published in the November 2, 2017 edition.



By about 11 p.m. Monday night, we should have a pretty good idea what Wakefield’s future will look like.

Will the town retain a semblance of the working-class normalcy that has been its hallmark for generations? Or will it veer in the direction of more genteel communities fond of banning everyday useful items like plastic bags, Styrofoam coffee cups and plastic water bottles?

Will Wakefield remain the proud home of the Warriors? Or will it become a place where the word “selectman” is offensive and sports logos and team names are changed because a few suburban soccer moms think somebody might be offended?

Monday night’s Town Meeting will be the arena where the first — and possibly the last — battle over such matters will be fought.

I know, there’s nothing on the Town Meeting warrant about water bottles, Styrofoam coffee cups and the Warrior logo. But trust me, they’re coming, especially if the bag-banning name-changers prevail at Town meeting. In that case, you might as well put that Warrior sweatshirt in storage and start hoarding cases of Poland Spring.

Article 4 on the Town Meeting warrant, which would ban so called “single-use” plastic shopping bags in Wakefield, was originally the brainchild of a local high school student who was praised for her “courage” in proposing the ban.

Article 5 is aimed at changing the name of the Board of Selectmen because it has the word “men” in it. If you don’t understand why that’s offensive, you obviously didn’t take enough gender studies courses in college.

Talk about first-world problems.

Both measures may be well-intended, but good intentions have a way of bringing unintended consequences. You know what they say about the road to hell.

They always go for the lowest hanging fruit first. Plastic bags are an easy target because everyone sees them and most people use them. So, it’s easy to convince people that there are too many of them, even though they make up less than 1 percent of household waste.

If Wakefield bans plastic bags, what happens when the next high school student decides that saving the planet requires that Wakefield ban plastic water bottles or Styrofoam coffee cups?

Are you saying we are not going to hail that student for her “courage” in bringing thoseenvironmental curses to the town’s attention?

Oh, well. Who cares about local businesses like Honey Dew and Dunkin’ Donuts that serve coffee in Styrofoam cups to the laboring classes? We need a Starbucks in this town anyway.

Changing the name of the Board of Selectmen is another case of picking off an easy target first.

“Oh, what difference does it make what they call themselves,” I’ve heard people say, “as long as they do their jobs.”

That’s exactly how they hope you’ll react. And the next thing you know, yet another piece of our unique New England heritage is gone forever.

Worse, banning the word “selectman” from our vocabulary swings the door wide open to those with more ambitious revisionist agendas. If we agree to changing the name of our governing body, how long before somebody is emboldened to go after the Warrior team name and logo?

Oh, they’ll start by assuring everybody that they’re fine with the Warrior team name. It’s just the Indian logo that’s offensive and has to go. Then, once you agree to change the logo, they’ll be back for the name, mark my words.

And if we get rid of the term “selectmen” because it originated in an era of patriarchy, what happens when a student reads in some history book that the Spanish-American War was the result of American colonial expansionism and decides we need to take down The Hiker statue because it glorifies our nation’s imperialist past? Will we be able to ignore that student’s “courage?”

The bag-banning revisionists will never be satisfied and once it starts, it never ends. The time and place to stop it is Monday night at the Galvin auditorium.

Nip it in the bud now or prepare for the deluge.