“Do not hold against us the sins of the fathers.”
Those words, excerpted from a biblical passage, still hold true in 2008. The Boston I know is one of quixotic wonder. It seems almost everything under the sun is both idealistic and unrealistic. For the short gains we do make, missteps always pop up. Leaders rise to prominence because of vision, charisma and capability. And even still, we hold their feet to the fire when either our interests wane or their impact lessens. Well, at least we should.
I have grown tired of the clergy being seen by the media as the only seemingly legitimate source of black leaders and opinion. I have grown tired of the mayoral machine and its retaliatory tactics to subjugate power and authority. I have grown tired of grown men casting blind eyes to the power of their actions and words. I have grown tired of youth having their voices muted. I have grown tired of boarded-up homes and closed commercial sites. I have grown tired of thugs, young and old, preying on my peoples.
Yet my weary body cannot stay down. Solutions to any of these issues will not come easy. They have to come from the people. Simple handshakes and “daps” of acknowledgment are mere steppingstones, but true community is forged through relationship building. That, to me, is the single and simplest way I envision us turning the corner.
They say history repeats itself. I say we are doomed for a fate much worse if we do not take these lessons learned and cultivate meaningful, tangible change. The immediacy and urgency cannot be diluted or else we may as well stop voting, stop dreaming and stop thinking we shall overcome the enemy within.
The city’s administration is using the fight for firefighter pension reform to portray itself as an agent of reform, but don’t be fooled. What is getting lost amid all the pointed fingers is that the city has known about its rampant pension abuse problem for years, and yet failed to exert any leadership to rein in such activity.
The city’s calls for reform are long overdue. It should not take a newspaper investigation for officials to jump into action to tackle a problem that has enabled millions of taxpayer dollars to finance wrongful disability pensions. Certainly, such disregard for residents’ hard-earned money has compromised the public’s trust in our local government.
I am hopeful that the city will see an opportunity to learn from its mistakes and finally adopt better management tools
Real reform isn’t about flexing political muscle after the fact, and it’s not about waging a political feud. Real reform is about getting to the root of the problem and being proactive, not reactive. Real reform requires strong management, responsible oversight and leaders that are committed to putting residents’ best interests above all else.