Override, How Did Newburyport Organize so Quickly

The post override question I often hear is “how did ‘you,’ ‘they’ organize so quickly” against the override for the Newburyport schools?

I think one of the answers to that question is that “we,” “they” were never “unorganized.”

If you were born here in Newburyport, MA there is a deep interwoven fabric, that simply exists, “it” doesn’t need “organization.”

If you’ve been here in Newburyport, MA for a while, raised a family, become interwoven in the community through various activities, you too have become interconnected as part of the community fabric. You just know. You just are. “It” simply exists.

I also still maintain that the override on some level was never about education. It was about something else.

Newburyport is a “Yankee” town, as in “thrifty,” “cautious,” “prudent,” “economical.” The very notion of an override goes against the grain, so to speak (yes, I know I’m mixing metaphors here), of the fabric of the community.

And it seems “we” resent anyone who might try to disrupt that inherent, very intricate part and personality of this small New England city.

If the override had succeeded I would have wondered, I think, if Newburyport, the soul, good, bad or indifferent, of Newburyport had radically changed. The fact that the override failed by a 60% margin, didn’t say to me that “we” were against education, but that our fundamental “Yankee” temperament was still primary. And on some collective unconscious level, it was an act of civic rebellion against anyone or anything that might attempt to in any way unravel it.

I think it is one of the reasons there is such an unspoken “distain” (harsh word) of the “money” that has come into town within the last 5 years or so, since the price of real estate has made it almost mandatory to make some fairly big bucks.

“Yankees” don’t drive around in fancy cars talking on cell phones. “Yankees” probably glare at their cell phones as an unwanted necessity, and their cars may well be less than brand new.

“Yankees” don’t demand a “fancy” education. Meat and potatoes would do. The “frills” could go. An intrinsic “Yankee” thrift would prevail.

I don’t think any amount of “educating” people on the issue would change that fundamental and underscoring temperament. That might happen in a place like Wellesley or Arlington, but there is a chance it might not happen here.

Mary Eaton