If White was greeted cordially, the reception for Louise Day Hicks must be recorded as overwhelming, as the “You Know Where I Stand” girl wended her way through the streets in triumphal procession. Dapper O’Neill, resplendent in a tam and a “Stop Busing” button, was the parade’s other great star. It was clear where most of the crowd stood.
Applause for Extremists
The bussing issue, as we have written before, is dividing the city, polarizing the neighborhoods and making heroes of politicians of the Louise Day Hicks - Dapper O’Neill - John Kerrigan school. Although Billy Bulger, the moderate State Senator, marched to the applause of the bystanders, it was the extremists who got the most raucous welcomes. By the time the parade ended, it was clear that the gross of politicians had decided either not to come, or to stay at Dorgan’s -- and we soon discovered that they weren’t at Dorgan’s.
Even at Bulger’s open house, after the formal festivities, the only political figure -- besides the host -- was Fr. Sean McManus, a priest who is associated with the I.R.A. leader Sean MacStiofain, and spoke knowingly of the state of the old country. The Governor was nowhere to be seen. Messrs. Kennedy and Brooke were absent. Don Dwight had the good excuse of marching in his home town of Holyoke, but, with the exception of Joe Moakley, Southie’s Congressman, no one of note from the roster of local officials was on hand.
Where were they all? Ducking out on a controversy, of course. A precious few politicians, either out of commitment or political obligation, attended Bolling’s party. A precious few more, for the same reasons, showed up in South Boston. As far as we could see, nobody went to both. The political leadership of the state, so conspicuously inconspicuous on the bussing issue, had done it again.