Occupy Boston – Time to Reflect Essay
So here we go – my one post per year that gets mildly political. I apologize in advance…
Occupy Boston, unfortunately, has become an unavoidable part of my life these past couple of months – only because I work next to Boston’s Federal Reserve building, which lies directly across the street from the movement’s Dewey Square home. During the course of my morning commute I emerge from the subway into the midst of the movement, and frequently need to cross the park on my lunch break excursions. I’ve seen rallies over there, I’ve seen lots of hullah-hooping, and I’ve seen way to many bored looking cops.
This past weekend, Boston Mayor Tom Menino decided to be a boss and throw the movement out of Dewey Square. Thank God. At the very least the camp was a major eye sore, but to me the argument to evict the protesters from the park is much more simple. Sure, everyone has the right to assemble, the right to protest, freedom of speech, etc. All good things. But those rights do not give you the right to squat, permanently, wherever the hell you want. How would you feel if a hobo pitched a tent in your front yard? Or in the park directly across the street from your house? That was always the real issue to me, amidst an array of other issues.
Let’s get one thing straight – I tend to be far from conservative, and I’m not hear to hate on the Occupy movement. I generally agree that banking regulations need to be changed, that the rich are getting richer and everyone else is getting poorer, and that greedy corporations are being bailed out left and right while the general population – say for example, the recent grad struggling to make ends meet with school loan debt up to their eyeballs – receives no such bailout. Those are all issues I agree with, but I think it’s unfortunate that the Occupy movement has operated as it has. It’s been one of the more pitiful and least effective movements that I know of. Doesn’t one of these yahoos have a parent that can teach them something from the March on Washington?
Here’s the unfortunate part in my eyes – I know that there are a few highly knowledgeable, passionate, and motivated protesters at the movement’s epicenter. But in my travels through Dewey Square, these folks were always overshadowed by the crazies, the homeless, and the ranting and raving. The guy in the picture above was something of a ring leader for the movement – I saw him rally his supporters with angry chants directed at the police, I even got a lecture I never asked for on how the entire encampment was so sustainable and progressive. Did you know that they created their own electricity? They even had a library!
Again, I’m not here to mock. But save me the sustainability lecture when you’re producing electricity to heat the tent where the heroin selling goes down (there were multiple drug related arrests in the encampment). Save me the BS about the city not being fair with you, when all along you’ve promised to restore Dewey Square to it’s original pristine condition upon your departure. In the past few days the city has spent close to $60,000 sodding and repairing the park – with dependable old Occupy Boston kicking in a measly $3,000. All of this is not to mention the hundreds of thousands of dollars of tax-payer money that went towards paying police to sit around in the cold and stare at the park, rotting in their shoes and growing their doughnut-laiden bellies in the process.
I’m all for ideals, and those at the core of the Occupy movement aren’t so bad. But like Tom Brady says, it’s all about execution – and the Occupy Boston movement dropped a touchdown in the end zone.