Sunday, January 25, 2015

Boston 2024

Society, as always, it just terrific. This is made clear by getting the honor to live in a city that will be the U.S. contender for the 2024 Olympics. Terrific. The recent history suggests that the Olympics are a scourge on the cities that have hosted them. There are plenty of important resources to read in regards to this, but the evidence suggests that they cost billions more than they bring in and cities are left with vacant stadiums and buildings that have no long-term purpose that need to be maintained.

I will add as well that I think there should be real concerns over what will happen to Boston's non-profit sector should we be chosen as a host site. Much of the attention and philanthropy that might be going to our youth centers, food banks, crisis hotlines, homeless shelters and other vital organisations that are dependent on generosity might be in great jeopardy. Philanthropy is not an unlimited resource, and much of it could be diverted to the implementation of the Olympics.

I'm troubled (but not really surprised)  that the Olympic bidding process is emblematic of the fundamental problems in our society. Wealthy elites have a disproportionate amount of influence. Whether it's the IOC, Suffolk Construction, Boston 2024; these are powerful groups that have vast amounts of resources at their disposal and utilize their influence to change the course of policy in ways that benefit them at the expense of everyone else. This seems to unfortunately be the trend in our post-citizens united world where our country behaves more like an Oligarchy than a Democracy. We have a class of ultra-wealthy that control so much our countries financial wealth. They have plenty of opportunity to use this wealth to influence our elected officials to get the policies that suit them best and make them more wealthy. The Olympics is what you get.

This shouldn't be the case and I believe it doesn't have to be. Voices can and should be heard. Unfortunately, turnout really is low in a lot of non-presidential elections. We can change this by voting and getting other folks we know to vote. Unfortunately, it's the older folks who tend to be most  vigilant about voting but this doesn't have to be the case. We can make our voices heard. There are nine community meetings planned in regards to the Olympics. We can show up, learn a thing and share our viewpoint. We can write the Mayor and our reps. This is what it all comes down to. So much of the special interest money goes into influencing you to vote a certain way. The increased political advertisements are evidence of this. We can ignore these messages and vote based on what we know is happening on the ground in our communities and that's still what I think it mostly comes down to. 

We just need to participate or pretty soon we might not even have the opportunity to do so. Show up, make your voice heard, and let's make sure our Mayor knows that he should be planning to build a functional city, not an extravagant event. 

No comments: