Depending on where you stood in the Boston 2024 debate, the failure of the Olympic bid is the fault of either:
A) The greedy and incompetent Boston 2024 committee or
B) The negative, backwards thinking, NIMBY, narrow-minded cynics who stand in the way of progress.
But whichever side of the ad hominem attack fence you’re on, we can all agree with one thing: The fact the USOC took the bid out back behind the barn and put it out of its misery is a triumph of the will of the people of Boston. Simply put, we as a people did not want this thing as it was presented to us. We didn’t trust what we were being told and ultimately shot the proposal down. You can all that negativity if you want, but to me the idea of healthy cynicism toward a small group of unelected, unaccountable, powerful people it the most positive force in the universe. Our country was built on it. And it’s worked out pretty much every time it’s ever been tried since.
Whatever else you think of No Boston Olympics and other similar opposition groups, they weren’t acting out of narrow self-interest. Unlike the original Boston 2024, they weren’t run by the owner of a construction firm or the head of the carpenter’s union who stood to make a buck out of their cause. They asked tough questions. They held the people in charge accountable. And ultimately they gave voice to a population who are sick of having powerful people not let little things like promises get in the way of gorging themselves at the public trough.
The Big Dig is the example everyone cites. But it’s just shorthand for dozens of similar examples. The MBTA. The Mass Pike toll booths that were supposed to come down by act of law in the late 1980s but are still standing. The trial court probation department. The “temporary” hike in the income tax. And on and on. We’ve been asked repeatedly to trust that this time we won’t get ripped off. And we won’t get fooled again.
Back when newspapers were a thing, they used to say you shouldn’t get into a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel. But we live in a world now where social media has leveled the playing field and given a voice to the not-so-well-connected. And the Olympic opposition groups used it to perfection. It was the Wikipedia definition of “grassroots.” It was democratic with a small “d.” They were the vox populi. They were a cyber “Les Miserables” storming the Bastille. The rebel scum who blew up the Death Star the USOC was threatening us with.
All you need to know about what the Boston 2024 bid was all about came Monday when, at the mere suggestion by Mayor Walsh that he wasn’t willing to guarantee public money to foot the bill for cost overages – two months before the deadline to sign guarantee – the kleptomaniacs at the USOC cut and ran. The came in to rob the joint and the first time Marty the security guard gave them the once over they dropped their weapons and ran for the getaway car. That should tell you what they were really after all along, and it wasn’t about showcasing sunny, fabulous Wollaston Beach to the volleyball-playing world.
So it’s to the undying credit of the mayor and the people of Boston that they demanded answers from these clowns instead of being led like sheeple to the financial slaughter. We are the Americans who invented the art of cynically opposing powerful people who are up to doing us no good, and 240 years later, we perfected it. Well done. The people of Boston have spoken.
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