Why conservatives’ Occupy Boston outrage falls flat
Conservatives are filled with righteous — er, self-righteous — indignation over the fact that Occupy Boston’s presence in Boston’s Dewey Square meant a Saturday fundraiser for the poor had to be canceled. And they’re crowing over $3,700 or so donated by conservatives to take the place of money that could have been raised had the Rose F. Kennedy Greenway Conservancy been able to hold its “Greenway Mobile Food Fest” event Saturday.
Here’s why this rings a little hollow:
Conservative leaders have been the ones resisting steps to improve the economy immediately because they claim they want to focus on long-term fiscal improvements. For instance, in June when the debt ceiling debate was reaching the crisis stage, Democrats proposed tax cuts for business owners — normally the kind of thing that would have Republics writhing in ecstasy on Congressional carpets. Its policy conservatives and Republicans call for constantly. But the proposal got a tepid response, with U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, a Tennessee Republican and chairman of the Senate Republican conference, summing up the party attitude as:
“We don’t need short-term gestures. We need long-term fundamental changes in our tax structure, in our regulatory structure, that people who create jobs can rely on.”
Occupy Boston is pushing for long-term solutions to the country’s gaping imbalance between the richest citizens and the rest. One fundraiser is not a solution to the imbalance; it’s just one tiny step to make up for the imbalance temporarily, and it will have to be followed by another and another and another.
Downtrodden people who must go without also have a history of going without on purpose if it helps them in the long run, with the Montgomery, Ala., bus boycott starting in 1955 being a key example. It lasted more than a year, and one reason the buses got integrated was the losses being suffered by business owners in downtown Montgomery.
While it’s nice conservatives are contributing more than $3,000 this weekend toward tackling poverty and hunger, Occupy Boston is obviously not a fundraiser and it’s not about short-term solutions. The participants are calling for systemic change.
You might almost say that Occupy Boston is a statement in itself, sort of like:
“We don’t need short-term gestures. We need long-term fundamental changes in our tax structure, in our regulatory structure, that 99 percent of the country can rely on.”