HomeTop StoriesKeller @ Large: Mayor Michelle Wu's list of hecklers is not the...

Keller @ Large: Mayor Michelle Wu’s list of hecklers is not the same as Nixon’s list of enemies

BOSTON – When the administration of Boston Mayor Michelle Wu confirmed they sent a list of aggressive hecklers to the Boston Police Department, critics comparing it to President Richard Nixon’s infamous enemies list.

But is that criticism justified? We put that claim to the truth test.

From disrupted mayoral events to city hall altercations, it’s been a tough environment for Wu and the security detail protecting her, with some of the same people involved in the incidents over and over again. Among their offensive behaviors, according to Wu, “Yelling at my family for months, outside our house, following my kids and me as I take them to school, committing violence against the police officers who are on our detail team.”

So after particularly intense harassment of the mayor during last year’s Dorchester Day parade, a Wu aide forwarded a list of frequent harassment to police. Was this inappropriate or unusual, as Wu’s critics claim?

“This happens all the time,” noted Bill Forry, editor and publisher of the Dorchester Reporter newspaper, who witnessed the parade and wrote a scathing editorial denouncing the trolls. “The mayor’s security team has a job, and that is to protect her and her family. I think they have every right to do this.’

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And what about the claim that the list is related to Nixon’s list of enemies in the 1970s?

“I certainly wasn’t there at the time and have no idea there’s any political relevance,” Wu said.

She’s right, there isn’t.

“The whole attempt to classify this as Nixonian has all sorts of connotations about persecuting your political enemies, controlling their taxes, or essentially making them an enemy of the state,” Forry said.

Perhaps the suspect in the past Shoot modern pastry in the North End – who is on the list – will now claim to be a victim of Nixonian persecution.

If there is any political persecution here, it is that of the mayor by her tormentors. Some have made the rounds of the right-wing media echo chamber to voice their complaints about pandemic policies; others are now jumping into the city council races. It could be argued that Wu has been too restrained in her responses to it.

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But “Nixonian”?

Alone in some fantasy parallel universe.

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