He was a politician. I won’t say that he was any better or any worse than any other politician, but the fact is that he was a politician. Let’s not make any human being into something they’re not after they die. Let’s mourn the loss of a fellow human being to an awful disease, but let’s not put on rose colored glasses and pretend in death that the mayor was radically different than any other politician in life. Sure, he accomplished some positive things, but when you wear Cesar’s clothes, you have to behave like Cesar. My most vivid memory of him was when he imposed a curfew and said he would “not tolerate civil disobedience in the City of Boston”, which ironically, is the birthplace of civil disobedience. When you act to curtail freedom of speech, when you act to silence peaceful, truth and justice seeking, law abiding citizens of your City, and instead stand up to protect banks and corporations, when you oversee a generation of rapidly expanding gentrification, when you oversee the militarization of your civilian police department…your death deserves to be mourned the same as that of any other human being, but certainly not more so. Why should we mourn your death any more than we would a homeless, drug-addicted Vietnam veteran? Or the death of any Bostonian, cold, alone and forsaken, forgotten by City Hall, forgotten by their neighbors? The Pru should keep its lights on, or leave them off to draw attention to the heroin epidemic that flourished under your reign, the children you failed, the teenagers you failed, the adults you failed, the elderly you failed, the city that ultimately, you failed. You can’t be successful when you run a community of human beings the same way you would run a business, at least not successful where it counts. You were good for banks and businesses, but you failed the least of your people.
All that said, he certainly could have been worse, and that sadly seems to be the best way to gauge politicians. “At least he wasn’t as bad as he could have been.” The city deserved better, and deserves better, “but at least he wasn’t as bad as he could have been.”
Rest in Peace, Mayor Thomas Michael Menino
“I sympathize with their issues, some of those issues we really have to look at in America, but when it comes to civil disobedience, I will not tolerate civil disobedience in the city of Boston.” October 11, 2011