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STURBRIDGETIMES

THE CHRONICLE OF STURBRIDGE COUNTRY LIVING

THE

NOVEMBER, 2012

MAGAZINE

Prsrt. Std U.S. Postage PAID Worcester, MA Permit No. 2

MUSINGS FROM LONG HILL

A CAPITAL IDEA
BY RICHARD MORCHOE

LEGAL BRIEF
ROBERT A. GEORGE, ESQ.
M THE S
ON THLY FOR RE AD E RS
STURBRIDGE ATTORNEY

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TURBRI D GE

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AGAZ I N E

AGE OF MAJORITY
The phrase age of majority draws its meaning from the idea that at a certain point in time you have reached a certain fullness of age that justifies your ability to enter into a contract with another person. This is as opposed to those of us who are younger than the age of majority so called minors who, according to the law, need protection from their own improvidence and want of sound judgment. In Massachusetts, and almost every other state, the magical age is 18. At 17, you lack the sound judgment to, say, buy a car, get a credit card, or sign a job contract. At 18, magically, you are endowed with the requisite sound judgment. Given that its the minor child who lacks the judgment to sign a contract, the law says that its the adult who signs it with him who pays the price of improvidence. By law, such contracts are void. So if you buy a bike on credit when you are 17, you dont have to pay. You do, however, have to give the bike back if you still have it. If not, tough luck for the bike store. There are some contracts that minors really, really want to sign. Most notably, they want do drive and doing so requires a contract for car insurance. So while the law doesnt allow a minor to buy a car on credit, it does carve out an exception for buying car insurance. The idea behind the exception is that a minor should be allowed to contract for necessities. The ability to drive a car, though not buy one, is considered such a necessity. Of course, other rights accrue at the age of 18. The right to vote comes to mind. So, to all of you newly minted grown-ups, exercise your newly minted sound judgment and cast a ballot on November 6. Afterwards, go out and sign on the dotted line for your first car.

Ah autumn in Nova Anglia. Its election time as presidential and congressional candidates tell us how they love us and wish to serve us, but not here. No, they want to go to D.C. because life is good. Washington is Americas richest city. The capital and adjacent metro region beat out even Silicon Valley. That should not be. Silicon Valley is where the research is done for all the gadgets we cherish. Washington only produces laws, lots of them. Why should crafting legislation be such a big problem? Because, they never stop. According to the Wall Street Journal in 2011, there are so many laws, no one has any idea what the count is. Ronald Gainer had the task at Justice to get the number. He said, "You will have died and resurrected three times," and still not have the total. So is this a problem? In a democracy, certainly. Dont take my word for it. The Roman orator, Tacitus, put it elegantly, Corruptissima re publica plurimae leges Roughly translated, it means a corrupt state has many laws. It is understandable that a country with the oldest operating constitution will have passed innumerable bills. That the actual number cannot be known is a scandal. So what can be done to stop or at least arrest the pace of legislation? Fortunately, my fellow citizens, Ive done the research and have come up with a solution. Several decades ago, upon separation from the serious work of defending my country, I embarked upon a trip across country with a friend in late spring. We visited all the comrades who frivolously invited me to stop by once I got out. Lacking the money to stay at motels when not sponging, we camped. It was for the most part not unpleasant. Then we came to Wyoming. I have not spent a worse night. Getting up in the morning was hell. We would have

to leave the cold of the sleeping bags to dress and then go wash. The late June day did warm up to just below tolerable. The Rockies had their own beauty but it was stark and bleak. Riding through was interesting to see but not enough to linger and there was no way a second night was going to be spent. My friends, the above-mentioned experience has moved me to propose to the nation that the capital must be moved to Wyoming. The current seat of government is too nice. Our legislators need a harsh climate so few of them will wish to serve and those who do serve will not want to stay as long and pass laws. Life will not be easy for publicity seeking solons up in the Cowboy State. It is one thing to want to speak to the media and get face time when you are in a lovely tailored suit with perfectly coiffed hair. Quite another when you are wearing a parka and a hat with ear flaps and your usually mellifluous voice is muffled because of the scarf covering your mouth. It will be a more curmudgeonly type who seeks office under those conditions, and thus, more honest of speech. Think about it, perky little Caitlin the correspondent asks Jake the retired math teacher with a face for radio but not the voice about the new education bill. Jake gives the truth, "Listen girly, I'm not for giving one cent to the schools. In my forty-five years in the classroom, I had about ten kids capable of doing real math, most of the rest wanted to sleep through class. The school department mandated that I give the majority Cs when most of them deserved Ds." She then asks, "Jake, don't you think your constituents will be offended by your comments." Jake, "If they don't like what I say, let em vote for someone else. The food here is terrible, it's cold and I get stupid questions from reporters." And speaking of cute little reporters and smooth, serious Continued on page 31

24 THE STURBRIDGE TIMES MAGAZINE

THE CHRONICLE OF STURBRIDGE COUNTRY LIVING

A capital idea

Continued from page 24 reporters, we would have less of them. Duty in the new national capital would not be looked upon as the pinnacle of a career, but as punishment. "Sorry folks, we won't be bringing you handsome, suave Brett up at the Senate building as he is too hungover again. We do have some film from Lichtenstein History Month being celebrated at the Lichtenstein-American Community Center. Poor little Brett and Caitlin would be forever campaigning to be sent anywhere else other than, maybe, Pyongyang. Now, I understand just physically moving the seat of government is not enough. There will have to be limitations. Generally speaking, I am not in favor of eminent domain, but in this case there is reason for an exception. We find a town with a high school gym large enough to seat on those uncomfortable benches the House of Representatives. The auditorium must be just big enough to accommodate the Senate. No more great architecture to inspire their imperial dreams. If there is a medium size bank in town, that can serve as the President's office. A local district court should be all that is necessary for the Supremes (unfortunately, I don't mean the three chanteuses). Housing and building regulations will have to be strict. We can have no vast mansions. No, we shall build our masters what we do for the aging citizens of this republic. They can live in senior citizen style housing equivalent to that which they subsidize across the country. It will be Spartan, but if it is good enough for Grandma, it's good enough for John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi. Anyway, they won't be spending much time there. The

most oft spoken word in our new capital will be adjournment. One other benefit to the big move will be we get to give back the District of Columbia to Virginia and Maryland. Not that they might want it. No more Marion Barrys. No large federal metropolis to be supported by the rest of the

country. The Washington Post Style section with nothing to report. Georgetown a ghost town. All right, I know my reverie can never come to pass. I know that it is too much to hope that that place that started out as a swamp could return to being a swamp. Well, I guess in a way it has always been a swamp.

THE CHRONICLE OF STURBRIDGE COUNTRY LIVING

THE STURBRIDGE TIMES MAGAZINE 31

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