The BLOG: Politics and Law

The passing of John O’Mara: New England lost a lion

The grassroots New England patriots lost a friend and a champion when John O’Mara passed away during the Labor Day weekend. He was the prime example of what a dedicated, thoughtful and highly organized political activist with constitutional convictions could be and should do. He always impressed us with his unwavering dedication to the founding principles of the Republic, to the uniqueness of New England and Boston in promoting the right causes—since our state started the fight against the atrocious Fugitive Slave Act (1850) culminating in the foundation of the Republican Party in opposition to the party of slavery, the Democratic Party. Serendipitously, both of us met John at the Friday Morning Group (thanks in part to the grassroots activism of “Citizens for Limited Taxation,” the group energized by the late Barbara Anderson) a mere few miles from Concord where Henry David Thoreau initiated Civil Disobedience by refusing to pay taxes to enforce that infamous Act. Civil disobedience is a fundamental instrument and concept in American politics in times of crisis. Without Civil Disobedience the Civil Rights movement that ended legal racial segregation would have never existed.

It is not surprising that in the civil rights environment after the Civil War, the Republican Party maintained its supremacy in Massachusetts’s politics—from Lincoln to the Calvin Coolidge presidency. After that the descendants of the waves of European immigrants (except during the Eisenhower presidency) began controlling the electoral process in the Commonwealth. Subsequently the Democratic political machine followed the lead both of the Kennedy clan and of Tip O’Neil’s ground tactics. This machine proved highly effective in co-opting, and benefiting from, the Lyndon B. Johnson’s and Jimmy Carter’s Washington power grabs. With further assistance from Bill Weld and others, the Democrats almost successfully destroyed the Republican legacy and brand in Massachusetts.

For constitutional libertarians and conservatives, such as John O’Mara, the demise of the Republican brand in Massachusetts and the settling of a one-party system precipitated a time of crisis. But John also rightly assessed that the 2008 election of the radical progressive Barack Obama had launched a national crisis. He did everything in his power to alert people on the fence to the dangers of sitting idle. It was no longer possible to assign blame to the traditional politicians of both parties. He certainly thought most politicians have an uncanny ability to make promises they are willing to break at the first opportunity. He documented case after case of the elites getting elected to defend rights of their constituents, which they then proceeded to sell to lobbyists and special interests. The condoning and encouragement of illegal aliens in New England was the first key issue during which we came to know his passion and organizational skills.

The adoption of Common Core—which is an inferior set of academic standards whose adoption should have never been made by the Commonwealth—was another. He was the trigger for starting “EndCommonCoreMA.” It irritated him greatly that not a peep of support for ending Common Core ever came from the Governor and his team; and it rightfully infuriated him that special interests found ways to influence the Attorney General and the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, which last July denied the voters the right to decide for or against that already failing, and very costly, experiment.

The unconstitutional power grabs of the current administration in Washington became apparent to him early with their deplorable mendacity on Obamacare. He was appalled at the flawed rules of engagement in the war against Islamic terrorism and could connect the dots to the Boston Marathon attack. Although the list of gross mistakes and aberrations goes on, the final straw for him was perhaps the protection of the powerful well connected and the denial of rule of law—as evident in the collapse of the Department of Justice handling Hillary Clinton’s email server fraud.

It is sad that he passed on before his last project “The Restore America Conference” (Saturday, Sept. 17) could come to fruition.

It is a true testament of the power of his example that his wife Barbara, his family and friends decided to honor his memory by pushing even further for the success of John’s last project and testament of freedom.

In our view, John O’Mara was a lion, not only because he could on occasion roar like one—and scare those needing to be scared—but because he could stomp the ground and be heard and recognized a long distance away.

Michael Gendre and Nicolas Sanchez are co-authors of “Aligning Values and Politics–Empowerment versus Entitlement,” University Press of America, 2016.