Reagan made famous the phrase “there you go again” and I am guilty. One day after I promised myself not to post about the now-closed Occupy Boston site, I am compelled to do it again.
From my office directly above the site, a modest irregular parcel across the street from the austere and graceful Federal Reserve Bank tower, I look down expecting to see the trash clean-up, and perhaps something of a mini-construction project. Instead, I see — green.
Here in Boston, where the heart of downtown was torn up for three years in front of the historic old State House (where zillions of tourists each year congregate); here in Boston, where the interminable Big Dig scarred half the city for a decade; here in Boston, where police details are required to direct traffic away from the supervisors who supervise the sub-supervisors who tell the foremen to stand close to the worker on any public works job to make sure he doesn’t move too fast, we have virtually erased the Occupy site in less than one work day.
Loads of bright green sod, fully grown grass squares, have been carted in and cover a good deal of the carefully raked rich brown loam. Hoards of orange-clad workers jump to the task of covering the offending brown. Well over half the site has been cleansed and reclad; even now a new truck is disgorging another load of green forgetfulness.
It is almost as if — dare I say it — someone very high up in the city government decided it was an absolute highest priority to erase every vestige of Occupy from the face of the polity. Very important to renew this vital plot in the heart of the city (although for over two months the Occupy tents dwelt there without interference with commerce, the offices, the commuters crossing the site to South Station).
I am glad the city can replant an acre in a day. Why it takes ten months to restore working escalators to handi-capped inaccessable subway stations is I guess a different matter.
And while I (may) have your attention, a parting shot at a column in today’s Boston Herald that to my mind focused the anomaly of Occupy. The columnist predicted that without physical presence the Occupy movement would become a memory; he may be right. But he continued that Occupy proved we had raised a generation of spoiled brats; apparently a discarded placard declared that student loans were the equivalent of slavery.
So let me get this straight. Business can pay lobbyists to get tax breaks so they need not pay for the costs of government. Businesses can set up multi-national structures to avoid paying US taxes. Wealthy folks tax-plan within the law to reduce taxes and preserve personal wealth. But if a student asserts that education should be free, a proposition by the way that is a given in many places and represents a rational proposal for how to run a society in an education-dependent world, he or she is a spoiled brat.
Seems to me that whoever controls the nomenclature defines the playing field. The people who were at Occupy and argued for free tuition or other social welfare benefits are of equal moral footing with the business people, the banks, the corporations who express also the very human desire that, all things being equal, they would rather have benefits at lowest possible net personal cost.
Are the business people spoiled brats by reason of their parents? Of course not. It is legitimate, if within the law, to run a business as a business, to lobby and to plan. But it does not follow that the same type of efforts by non-organized, non-business-related constituencies are unworthy of expressing and attempting to achieve THEIR own legal goals; if they are selfish goals, they are no less worthy than the legitimately selfish goals of the business community.
The only difference here is that business folk don’t need to carry a sign to accomplish their lobbying. They have people to carry their signs for them.