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Friday, May 28, 2004

Boston Needs a Convention Pep Talk

I've been noticing lots of cynicism regarding the convention that is coming to Boston in two months' time. The Herald has been demeaning itself with screaming front-page headlines (as noted here and here). H.D.S. Greenway also has a column in the Globe this morning about the convention "melodrama":

What seemed to be a wonderful chance to show off the city to the world is now looking like a world-class headache in the making. ... This leaves the prospect of a city abandoned to demented victims of a mysterious virus called politics as delegates and groupies flood in to fill the vacuum. The few citizens left in town who are not infected by the virus have the option of barricading themselves into their apartments. "Go to the supermarket, stock up on milk and bread or beer or whatever you usually buy, and stay off the roads," a Stoneham policeman advised.

These dire predictions of what is coming (Greenway is half-jokingly comparing the scene to the movie "28 Days Later") also seem to be causing some people to get down on their city. For example, see Jay Fitzgerald yesterday on Kerry's announcement he'll accept the nomination here:

Kerry's way of making up to Mayor Menino: Calling the DNC and Boston a "world-class stage, in a world-class city." Music to Menino's ears, fingernails across the chalkboard for the rest of us.

Does Fitzgerald--who writes a blog "about Boston and the universe for which it serves as the Hub"--not believe that Boston is world-class? We need a little more pride in ourselves.

So I'm here to say that the Democratic National Convention will not mean the end of life in Boston as we know it. There will be lots of parties and special events going on in town, in fact, and the week will be an exciting opportunity to showcase Boston to the rest of the country. I admit, Boston may not have been the best choice for the convention site because of the infrastructure and the liberal image, but now that the convention is coming, we have to embrace it. As one of the "groupies" Greenway derides, I am happy that I'll be in such close proximity to the event. Being involved in politics is a good thing, after all, right? Participating in democracy and all of that, you know? And for those people who still are determined to be grumpy about things, there is some consolation for you too: the convention only lasts four days. I think you guys can deal.

Also, let's please stop the griping about the economic impact on the city, which is really just guesswork, not to mention the complaints that the convention is a pointless charade. It will actually be a good time if we're willing to enjoy it. I do admit, though, this resignation of the transportation commissioner looks kinda bad.

On an unrelated note, I just noticed I'm linked at the DCCC blog, the Stakeholder. It's kind of exciting to show up on the site of a legitimate organization like that, and I'm sure they would echo my sentiment about seeing the convention in a positive light.