Last month, I took a late vacation and went on an eight-day trip to the East Coast. I visited Boston for five days and New York City for three. The main purpose of this trip was to visit my Marine Brother, Numa, who recently began medical school at Harvard. My best friend and proven road-dog, Vanessa, flew out from Phoenix and joined me in Boston.
It was my very first visit to the fine city of Boston. I never considered visiting before Numa went to Harvard, mostly because I was not very impressed with the Bostonians that I had met before. That, and the fact that most movies based in Boston were about crime, corruption, and shitty neighborhoods. I could not think of any movie that put Boston in a good light. I just assumed that it was a crappy city to visit. “Goodwill Hunting”, one of my favorite movies, was based in Boston, but filmed mostly in Canada. Not the best impression for a West Coaster like me.
The city came into focus as the plane began to descend on our final approach to Logan Airport. A fe minutes later, and before we touched down, I was in love. The colors of the trees, the architecture, and a seemingly endless amount of bays in rivers had me in a spell. I immediately began daydreaming of sailing in every body of water I could find. My infatuation continued after I settled in and walked around the city. I was very impressed by how clean the city was. On my previous visits to Paris and New York City, I always found the streets to be pretty damn disgusting, even as I tried to keep my eyes up on the architecture. Boston had a very nice flow and it was very easy to get around on foot, which we did, logging at least fifteen miles a day.
One observation that caught me off-guard was the amount of diversity in the city. I expected it near the various campuses, but not so much everywhere else. It was refreshing to see so many cultures living inside one of the most important cities of the American Revolution. It just reminds me that this country, which was founded by foreign immigrants, continues to be run by immigrants. Our faces are just a bit darker these days.
I often think of our forefathers these days. I have always been a history nerd, but the recent protests, occupations, and marches remind me of the incidents leading up to the American Revolution. The numerous reports and videos of violent assaults on peaceful protesters seem to mirror the treatment of early Americans by the Redcoats in the 1700’s. I wonder what the men that signed the Declaration of Independence would think of a militaristic police force using violent means to control an unarmed and powerless society a few hundred years after they shed blood for the freedom to express our disapproval with the government.
I visited the site of the Boston Massacre during the Freedom Trail Tour and felt great sadness because I felt that we, as a society, are forgetting some very important lessons. Situations can get out of control very quickly when you have two opposing forces committed to their cause. In Boston, several people were killed after tensions became higher than the patience of men and the Redcoat leadership was unable to contain the situation. The Boston Massacre could have been avoided, but the moment became bigger than the people involved. In a similar matter, police officers are thrown into bad situations when forces of authority command them to block, move, or disperse large crowds of people willing who are unafraid of being assaulted and in some cases dying for their cause. Often insufficiently trained in dealing with situations of such severity, police officers take matters into their own hands. I believe that their leaders are to blame for every assault committed by a police officer, simply because they should not have been in that situation in the first place. Protesters should be allowed to operate peacefully. The police should not be allowed to arrest people just for being in a specific location. It’s equivalent to throwing a fence over someone and accusing them of trespassing, when they were doing nothing but standing there.
Human rights must be recognized. We, as a country, a leader of the world, and a champion of addressing injustices around the globe are not practicing what we preach. This week, in Geneva, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a speech about Gay Rights . This week, in California, a transgendered woman was tased in the genitals by Rangers without a valid reason, which is very evident by the video taken of the event. This nation is very ill today. There is too much fear, hate, and polarizing figures in the media. We can’t continue this pattern of destruction and blame. We have forgotten the lessons of our forefathers and, as they say, those who don’t learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.