The Tattered Cover doubles down on its privilege to ignore Denver homeless

Tattered CoverDENVER, COLORADO- Representatives of Occupy Denver met with both owner and manager of The Tattered Cover Bookstore last week hoping to avert taking public action against the popularly lionized bookseller for its passive support of the city’s Urban Camping Ban. There was hope that owner Joyce Meskis could reconsider her “neutrality” on the policy of oppression which has proved disastrous for Denver’s beleaguered street dwellers, at the very least, rescind her membership in the Downtown Business Partnership, the lobbying entity which conjured the ordinance.

INSTEAD Meskis told the Occupiers to redirect their efforts toward citizens instead of pressuring businesses to take sides. Meskis admitted she had not followed the city council hearings and so did not know that individuals have had no more clout there than have the homeless. The camping ban was proposed by a cabal of businesses, OD explained. Its repeal will no doubt require an outcry from the same. Meskis remained adamant that her business take no side. OD suggested that a bookstore of all places might want to hold itself to the higher ideals it propagates. What good is literacy if it does not elevate? Meskis held firm: the Tattered Cover must entertain both sides and allow customers to arrive at their own conclusions.

Imagine a dealer of books so pedantic. Really, are there two sides to human rights? Archbishop Desmond Tutu once wrote that neutrality helps the oppressor, never the oppressed. They haven’t read him, or maybe they disagree? More obnoxious than ignorance is arrogant ignorance. Even the illiterate do not argue against Edmond Burke’s “when good men do nothing.” What’s the point of enriching yourself with a business if it’s not to have more impact on your community?

Looking at the callous indifference of business leaders, who reserve their personal sympathies in the interest of dispassionate objectivity, you might as well be staring at an American general, a politician, or other such sociopath, the embodiment of Capitalism, void of humanity.

Fortunately people governed strictly by the bottom line are much easier to reorient than others whose values are ideological or moral. Attenuating their flow of customers brings businesses to heel. Money talks, and yes, it’s too bad the Tattered Cover has turned out to be the unlikely posterchild.

BUMMER? HARDLY. What we have is a opportunity to blow open the conservative liberal pretense that privileged first worlders need not soil themselves with taking sides. Wars happen, torture happens, neglect of the poor happens when community members, particularly the power centers of business, say nothing to oppose them. The Tattered Cover maintains its ambivalence is a principled stand. I think its acquiescence on the urban camping ban allowed the more preditory downtown businesses to rationalize their inhumanity, thinking “see, it’s not just us assholes.”

OD’s reluctant boycott continues undaunted this Friday at 5:30pm at the Tattered Cover’s LoDo store.

Tattered Cover boycott

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