You Can’t Fix a Broken Polity With a Shotgun Olympic Wedding

It looks like D.C. dodged a bullet, while Boston is possibly saddled with the 2024 Olympics. Personally, I think Los Angeles would be the best choice, and both D.C. and Boston were very bad choices (one thing most people don’t realize is that, when Bostonians dig their heels in, they are very hard to dislodge. Mayor Walsh might come to really regret this). Even the Boston Globe–which is always a leading counter-indicator of what is best for Boston–is reduced to tepid pleading for support of the Olympic bid.

One dreadful piece of martial advice is to suggest that having a child will strengthen the marriage. Because a shrieking, feces-producing monster that causes sleep deprivation is exactly the thing to patch up a troubled relationship. Which brings us to the argument that receiving an Olypmic bid is a good way to get desperately needed infrastructure and housing improvements. Leaving aside the validity of those claims, this is completely backwards: a dysfunctional political system unable to provide the necessary infrastructure in the absence of the Olympics is incapable of using the Olympics to the benefit of all its citizens (not just the well-connected ones).

For instance, a few days ago, Dupont Circle and the 14th Street Corridor (Bostonians, think of this as the equivalent of Back Bay/Newbury Street in terms of economic activity) lost electrical power for 21 hours. These things happen, especially given the developing nation status of the D.C. area infrastructure (contigency plans? What are those?). But the D.C. government response was abysmal. There were no police out on the streets: cars were driving around on darkened streets with no streetlights–including Dupont Circle (which is hell to begin with). Likewise, there were no patrols to protect citizens. And the ‘warming center’ on a below freezing night was two miles away. If the D.C. government can’t even handle a local power outage, how could it possibly host an Olympics? And how could it ensure that it won’t simply be a windfall for a connected few and a burden for the rest of us?

What our supposed leadership of both Boston and D.C. (and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts*) is implicitly stating is that they are unwilling to spend these massive amounts of money and their political capital directly helping their constituents. If Boston and D.C. need low-income housing, then build it–and before 2024. If D.C. and Boston need to upgrade their transportation infrastructure, then do that–and before 2024. If these are truly needed things (and I believe they are), then fight for them, organize for them on their own merits, because your fellow citizens need them, not to please the degenerate aristocracy of the IOC.

You can’t fix a broken polity with a shotgun Olympic wedding.

*D.C., being the last mainland colony, has no statehood.

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3 Responses to You Can’t Fix a Broken Polity With a Shotgun Olympic Wedding

  1. Bayesian Bouffant, FCD says:

    One dreadful piece of martial advice…

    Freudian slip?

  2. Any more the Olympics are leaving cities with so much debt they have no idea how to pay it off; the 2004 Athens Olympics have been pointed to as lending the push needed for the current state of the Greek economy.

    The only good that can come out of his is the creation of the new Olympic event, “Getting Around Boston.” Because that is one messed up city street-wise . . . 🙂

  3. Rugosa says:

    “it won’t simply be a windfall for a connected few and a burden for the rest of us”

    That’s the point of the exercise, isn’t it?

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