By DAVID WESTCOTT
If RhodeMap RI contained half of the things in it that Mike Stenhouse and the Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity (RICFP) claim it does, I'd be protesting it too.
RICFP has painted RhodeMap RI as a fierce and fire-breathing dragon that must be slayed immediately. The problem is that RhodeMap RI is really more of a pussycat than a dragon. So why is RICFP whipping the right into a frenzy over a pussycat? The answer can be found by looking at its funding sources.
The RICFP tries to keep its sources confidential, but one of the known sources is the State Policy Network (SPN). SPN is a network of “think tanks” funded by Charles Koch, Monsanto, Philip Morris and GlaxoSmithKline, among others, that exist specifically to disrupt the democratic process and prevent programs for social equity, affordable housing, minimum-wage increases, progressive tax structures and anything else that might hurt their bottom line.
While the well-meaning citizens opposing RhodeMap RI are probably sincere and most are probably unaware that they are being manipulated, the plan they have been induced to attack just doesn’t exist.
The RhodeMap RI dragon is purely a figment of Mike Stenhouse’s imagination. It’s a fantasy, drummed up and sold through a massive PR campaign to unsuspecting right-wingers. It’s a grand play staged so that RICFP can please its corporate masters.
What makes it ludicrous is that, under all the fictitious scales, horns, talons and wings, there still lurks only a pussycat. See it for yourself online. Does it look like a “dangerous social experiment” to you? Is this a plan that proposes “end the American dream”? Hardly.
Rhode Islanders need to push back. We need a new economic development plan and we shouldn’t let out-of-state billionaires or their paid lackeys push us around.
David Westcott is a resident of North Providence, R.I.