Ray Flynn Salutes Activists of
Mass. 'America First Party'
Says that Powerful Media
Is Cause of Corruption in Politics
Former Boston Mayor Raymond L.
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
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
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
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
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 legislative
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
"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 stations.
"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, my friends."
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
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
Join Any Party; Become Involved
Flynn said his message is not meant to
start up or be part of any specific political
"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 of time."
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
"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 and
"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 follows suit."
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
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 their opinions."
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 businesses.
"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
"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 talk shows.
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
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
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 Parties."
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,
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
More information and state
contact info can be found at http://www.americafirstparty.org/