Bag bans and other signs of Bay State ‘blueing’

It seems like every week or so, another town or supermarket chain in Massachusetts bans plastic bags.

In fact, the plastic-ban bag is the latest example of creeping Political Correctness in Massachusetts’ 351 cities and towns.

Not so long ago, the joke around here was that you didn’t want to spend your golden years making ends meet by bagging groceries, asking customers, “Paper or plastic?”

That question has a totally different meaning today. Now, if you hear “Paper or plastic?” it means you’re still in un-PC, or at least less-PC, Massachusetts.

Which is why you can usually find me on Sunday mornings at the Market Basket in Waltham, responding to the eternal question with a resounding one-word answer:


The next big thing, bag-wise, is going to be no more bags, period. BYOB will shortly have a wholly new meaning – Bring Your Own Bag. The more weed shops, I mean marijuana dispensaries, that a town has, the more likely it is to be already pondering a BYOB ordinance.

But there are other ways to know whether your hometown is going blue, or, in most cases, getting even bluer.

For instance, bike lanes. Many of us used to roll our eyeballs when we saw those stupid lines and the stick-figure bicyclist painted on the pavement. Now, they’re everywhere. In 2019, you know you’re in a blue town when Town Meeting considers a motion to widen the damn things.

You know you’re living in a blue town if they’ve recently changed the name of the local high school football team, or have been trying to, the way they have in Tewksbury.

Or if you can’t remember the last time the town voted down a Proposition 21/2 override.

If you have to drive two towns to find a hardware store, or four to find a Walmart, or eight to get to a Chick-Fil-A.

If the town now has special reserved parking spaces for electric cars, and not just at the local Whole Paycheck, I mean Whole Foods market.

If you can no longer get a plastic straw at your favorite local restaurant, even if you ask.

If you need a permit from Town Hall to cut down a tree on your own property.

If the only car in the neighborhood with a TRUMP sign on it was keyed and had its tires slashed, even though every other house on the street has a virtue-signaling yard sign that says “Hate Has No Home Here.”

If Dunkin’ Donuts has a wooden sign, or even more ominous, there are no Dunkin’ Donuts.

You know you’re in a blue town when they build a new $200-million high school, and the library walls are covered with the names of the greatest writers in the English language, one of whom is named “Obama.” (That town would be Wellesley, by the way.)

When the only way to get a gun permit is by filing a formal appeal to the State Police because the local chief has entered into a “consortium” with neighboring burgs not to issue any.

When none of the local cops or firefighters can afford to live in the town.

Town meeting issues are a good way to gauge the bluing of a community – when “resolutions” start being offered about issues that have zero connection to any actual town business, like, say, fossil-fuel investment divestiture, or travel bans to North Carolina, or renaming Columbus Day Indigenous People’s Day, or not flying the Massachusetts state flag because there’s a sword hanging over the head of Elizabeth Warren’s alleged ancestor – then  you know it’s time to start thinking about moving south, or north.

Signs outside Town Hall in your  96 percent white town saying “Black Lives Matter” or “Sanctuary City.”

When the town’s newest trust-funded residents who just blew in from New York start circulating petitions to shut down the local rod-and-gun club, which has been open since 1926.

When the local restaurants replace towel-dispensers in the bathrooms with blow driers, despite the fact that such driers are coal-fired, much like Teslas and Priuses. (A restaurant owner told me that it’s not done for PC reasons, but because the patrons steal toilet paper. That means they start flushing the paper towels down the toilet, causing floods. Okay, I stand corrected.)

But for now, plastic bags are Ground Zero in the Massachusetts PC wars. As one of my listeners texted me Monday night, “If I can’t get any more plastic bags, I’m through picking up after my dog.”

That’s what they used to call, bringing the war back home.

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