Arthur Schaper: Dr. Dan: The Right Prescription For Providence

Friday, August 02, 2013


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What would happen if mayoral candidate took to Providence as a psychiatrist takes to a client?

Dr. Dan Harrop recently declared his candidacy for mayor of Providence, the city where Superman has left the building (actually, the Superman Building closed down in April, losing its last tenant). He wants to run a city running out of money for filling potholes and swimming pools, running up huge debts without getting the run-down on the wasteful spending and fraud which is killing jobs and destroying infrastructure (I’ll give you a hint about whose behind all of it: It starts with a G and ends with an A).

Having run for higher office twice before, Harrop is convinced (perhaps rightly so) that his psychiatric skills can isolate the subconscious debilitations decimating the capital city named after God Almighty, a city in desperate needs of a miracle.

If Dr. Dan takes on the city of Providence as a new client, he needs to get some background.

First thing's first

He should start with: “Tell me about your parents.” Providence would respond, placid and content, “Well, I started out with a commitment to freedom of thought and expression.”

Roger Williams, along with other persecuted spiritual dissenters, founded Providence on the freedom of conscience: no religious tests, no required church membership, a tolerant town established on an honest trade between the Narragansett Indians and Williams’ posse of persecuted parishioners. With industry based on manufacturing and shipping, an American colony with a rebellious streak, Rhode Islanders refused to send delegates to the Constitutional Convention of 1787, and rebuffed the Constitution until the end, fearing that their small state would lose its standing within the United States of America.

“I had such a wonderful childhood,” Providence would continue.

For those of you who love history (and the many more who aren’t learning it in the improvident Providence public school system), the Industrial Revolution officially started in Rhode Island, in Pawtucket (No, your dad didn’t steal anything), by a British expatriate named Samuel Slater. He built then expanded the first cotton textile mill, an industry which would define Rhode Island prosperity for years to come.

“Are you mad at anyone?” Dr. Dan might ask next.

“I love everybody!” Providence would answer.

How true that is. With the rise of industrial prowess and job creation, immigrants from all over the world, including Cape Verde, poured into Providence. Race riots against African-Americans in Hard Scrabble and Snow Town moved city leaders to set up a city charter to protect all residents. During the Civil War, Rhode Island residents signed up to support the Union, even though business interests had taut ties to Southern Cotton planters.

It's been a long, hard road...

Looking for the root causes of Rhode Island’s costly failures, Dr. Dan will likely find no answers.

He should then ask the city of Providence bluntly, “When did the problems start?” Taking a tissue the size of Narragansett Bay, Providence would start weeping, “It all started in the 1920s, with the decline of local industries.”

In the 1920’s, the Democratic Dominance began in the statehouse. The Great Depression was really depressing for Rhode Island, made worse by the officious interventions of a Democratic-dictator President (Franklin Delano “Alphabet Soup Agencies” Roosevelt).

With all the crying and sobbing, Providence would recollect her repressed memory about the New England Hurricane of 1938, the second-most costly and devastating storm, aside from Superstorm Sandy, to hit the Rhode Island coast.

Because Dr. Dan only asked about the parents of Providence, he might ask about children. One name would stand out, triggering trauma and shame. Shivering while hiding under the therapy couch, Providence would meekly mutter, “Raymond Patriarca!”

The mob boss who terrorized New England for three decades took over syndicates from local thugs who fled the United States because of tax evasion. A ruthless, blood-thirsty crook, Patriarca had no qualms about ordering subordinates, and even elder Mafiosi, to “bump off” family members for killing greasy deals and losing easy money.

The real issue

Organized crime seems like the root of the problem, but Dr. Dan would likely go deeper, to find out the cause of Providence’s malaise. “Tell me, tell me now who is responsible. Who?”


“The Angel of Death? No, go deeper, deeper.” Dr. Dan might need to use hypnosis at this point.

“Angel Taveras!” Providence would finally blurt out. Providence’s current mayor, who is contemplating a gubernatorial bid, has taken campaign dollars from Dr. Salomen Mengen, who is implicated with bribing a US Senator connected with underage prostitution in the Dominican Republic (Taveras’ country of origin). He has closed down all the swimming pools (and any discussion of the subject among staff), and his city’s latest budget stretches the already thinned police force to the limit while still facing heavy shortfalls. If anyone is to blame for the sorry state of Providence, look no further than the terrible leadership under Angel “Democrat” Taveras.

“Dr. Dan, can you help me?”

Normally, patients should never take up with their doctors, but if Dr. Dan is willing to prescribe some tough love, like cutting taxes and spending, standing up to General Assembly infighting, and ending union hall-statehouse collusion, then Dr. Dan is the right prescription for what’s ailing Providence.


Arthur Christopher Schaper is a teacher-turned-writer on topics both timeless and timely; political, cultural, and eternal. A life-long Southern California resident, Arthur currently lives in Torrance. Follow him on Twitter @ArthurCSchaper, reach him at [email protected], and read more at Schaper's Corner and As He Is, So Are We Ministries.


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