Recent times have made me more appreciative than ever that my home is in the Northeast, and Massachusetts in particular. Because believe me folks, things could be worse.

Sure, we have issues here in the Bay State. Our legislature is one of the most non-transparent state governments in the country, controlled by one political party to the point of ridiculousness. Our property taxes are high, our infrastructure needs work, it snows a lot during winter, and the Red Sox are driving us crazy. It’s a lot to deal with.

But as you gaze around the country, there is good reason to value what we have here as opposed to various other parts of these allegedly “United” States. Not only could it be worse — it’s rapidly moving in that direction.

We could be living in Texas, where everything is bigger — especially the hypocrisy. Their governor and legislature just passed a restrictive voting law that “eliminates” widespread voter fraud that simply never existed. They pretend to achieve this by making it harder for minorities to vote, lying about election fraud for political advantage, and limiting access to both polling places and ballots.

In their spare time, these political hacks have turned to encouraging vigilante justice in an effort to change abortion rulings that have been settled law for 40 years. They offer “rewards” for suing an Uber driver who might take someone to an abortion clinic, while at the same time making zero allowances or exceptions for the victims of rape and/or incest, denying them control of their own bodies.

We don’t do that here at home.

We could be living in Georgia, where the conservative Republican governor signed a “voting rights” bill that actually makes it harder for most people to vote. It limits early voting, and dramatically reduces ballot “drop boxes” in certain minority districts. They took away the ability of the Secretary of State — the top state election official — to run elections, giving it instead to a new “state election board” comprised of unelected officials appointed by the partisan (and Republican controlled) legislature.

We don’t do that here at home.

We could be living in Arizona, where state Republicans are so unnerved by losing recent elections that they have authorized a totally whacko “audit” of the 2020 election, run by a private company with political ties called “Cyber Ninjas”. They have taken months and messed with actual ballots.

We don’t do that here at home.

There’s a lot of crap that goes on here in Massachusetts, but we don’t mess with the rights of all people to cast ballots. We don’t tell women who have been raped they must give birth to the child of their rapist, in the name of politics.

Massachusetts is the birthplace of the American democracy, and here that actually means something. We aren’t perfect, we need to make changes. We have our share of politics.

But we don’t unreasonably limit voting hours and deny people ballots. Women are afforded the respect and the right to decide what happens with their own bodies. At least, they are for now.

And that’s more than other places in America can say today.

Bill Gouveia is a Sun Chronicle columnist and longtime local official in Norton. Reach him at billsinsidelook@gmail.com and follow him @Billinsidelook.

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