When The Daily Free Press asked City Councilor-At-Large and former mayoral candidate Sam Yoon why Boston might re-elect Thomas Menino for a fifth term, Yoon responded it would be because ‘Boston wasn’t ready for change.’ And as the results of yesterday’s primaries brought in 51 percent of votes for Menino, with Michael Flaherty garnering half as many at 24 percent, Yoon’s prediction may now have confirmation. After a rousing campaign fight among all four candidates began to slowly hint at a revision of the portraiture of Boston’s traditional mayor, the primary results seem to bring everything right back into the city’s age-old perspective. What more than half of all voters clearly want ‘- despite the tenacious attempts of McCrea and Yoon at overturning the standard ‘- is a comfortable choice. A white-haired mayor that is expressly Boston through-and-through.
And with these types of results ‘- 50 percent of voters remaining stationary at the polls, another 24 percent taking the least risky of risks ‘- Boston must ask itself whether it’s making seasoned political decisions or whether it’s simply settling. A four-term mayor blanching his opponents in the running for re-election, with a younger, more modern variation of himself trailing behind, are not the results of a population of moved citizens. Truly, no single issue stood out with significantly more importance or urgency than any other during this race ‘- and that says something about the mayor’s existing and potential constituency. The lack of change suggests a lack of cause; that is, if Menino is re-elected after having spent the last 16 years creating the Boston of today, then whatever problems that exist in the city will only be perpetuated with the same leadership. Consequentially, voters who have no endeavor to take a stand on these issues will not care to revise the city government. Change not only has to be wanted, but it also has to be needed.
If residents continue to hedge on issues and not muster up enough esteem to need change, they will continue relying on their old traditions and the easy choices that come along with those traditions. While Flaherty represents a less-dramatic but still notable digression from Menino’s regime, he is by no means the black to Menino’s white, and he is by no means close to Menino’s numbers in terms of votes. The majority chose Menino yesterday, and based on statistical prediction, will do the same in November. If Boston is to ever see the change it flirted with during the pre-primary 2009 mayoral campaign, it’s going to need to figure out exactly what it needs, generate the diverse voting pool necessary to give unconventional candidates a chance and finally, it’s going to need to rally. In the meantime, the mayor’s office will continue to be business as usual, for better or for worse.