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From A simple stroll down the Boulevard of Broken Dreams

I have two heros. One is a bit nebulous and is really a profession. Can you guess? Firemen!

From A simple stroll down the Boulevard of Broken Dreams

They selflessly risk their lives to save other people’s lives and property. Not only that, they help save millions of acres of parkland from being destroyed, thus saving the lives of our wildlife and fauna. Interestingly, since this is a desert clime, many of its natural inhabitants actually need fire. For instance, the fire poppy can only reproduce after a fire! Quite a pretty poppy it is too. Yes, firemen are the bees knees as far as I’m concerned. And I love fire trucks as well, all shiny with polished chrome fixtures. Well, what can I say? Firemen should make more money than just about anybody else in our society, as should nurses, teachers and a whole slew of professions that people take on, simply because they want to help society; rather than cash in on all those dollars floating around in our economy. Uncaring and aloof doctors, insurance companies, stock traders fall into the second group. BTW – You don’t have to be that intelligent to go into medicine. I can personally shatter that myth.

From PoliticoGoGo

My second hero is Barack Obama. “Yes, we can!” He’s a bit new on the politcal scene, I admit, but so was Lincoln when he ran for president. Like a miracle in both cases, the best man won. We need a man like Obama to lead us and guide us out of the economic depression. No one wants to call it what it is, but we all know what 10% unemployment equals – economic depression. Next on the plate will either be hyper-inflation or deflation, which is more corrosive to an economy. It means less dollars are floating around. When dollars don’t move, they lose their magic. There are some who are trying to call him a socialist – same arguments used against FDR when he tried to pump money into the economy, creating real jobs that produce something we can either consume, or use to save money (weatherizing, for instance). Kennedy got the same rap from the same people when he signed Medicaid and Medicare into law, “pulling millions of elderly above the poverty line,” to quote a dear family member. FDR eventually was forced to back down by a regressive, conservative SCOTUS. Even though he has a clear majority in both Houses of Congress, a veto-proof majority in the Senate, I am going to sit back and watch how this plays out. He’s got less than two years to get this through, and at the same time start campaigning for 2012, after the 2010 elections. A hard task for anybody- but I have faith in Obama. I think he’s made the wrong decision by not backing Nancy Pelosi over a Truth and Reconciliation Committee in the House, but that’s a topic for another day.

Now that the tsunami of MJ’s death is starting to subside, let me just say that while I am not a fan of his, I understand why he is worshiped by so many Black people. First of all, he was an amazing, ground breaking song writer, dancer and live performer. He took the music video genre and raised it to a new level. Many, many white people find a contradiction about MJ. It is this. He seemed to reject being black. He bleached his face, neck and hands until they were the color of my new tee shirts before their first washing. And he chose to have white children, who looked nothing like him. The point is, Black’s are able to separate the artist from the man. Well, he had a lot of issues (major understatement). I like Woody Allen’s movie’s but unless it were for an interview, I probably wouldn’t/couldn’t stand his company for more than one minute. That’s where I hit the stumbling block. I loved Elvis Presley’s music and even some of those awfully kitchy movies, but I didn’t cry one tear over his death, while many, many white people did, to the chagrin of Black people, who saw (and still see) him as a major thief of their music. Some people seem to confuse the line between being a fan to an entertainer with being an admirer of a hero.

On the other hand, I think White people are intimidated by the effusive nature of Black people. At a real WASPy funeral, people dab their eyes with tissues and listen quietly to the priest as he gives his homily, along with a few friends or family members who share remembrances and praise the dead one’s virtues. At a Black funeral, nearly all the women cry effusively, especially those in the front row, while the men seem to bow their heads and choke back quiet tears, often without success. Throughout the service, people encourage the pastor and other speakers with shouts of “Amen!”, “Thank you!” and “Praise the Lord!” There is singing and the ceremony is truly cathartic.

While Catholics may print out holy cards with a brief bio of the dead one on the back, WASP’s bury their dead and move on. Anyone who bursts into tears or weeps effusively is looked upon with askance. A few neighbors may come by with casseroles. Then it’s on with life : getting so-and-so into a good school, tutoring lessons, etc. Black people print large biography’s on 8.5 x 11 inch paper. I’ve had coworkers, back in D.C., who cut out the picture of the dearly departed and taped them on their computers, never to forget.

So while it is a race thing, MJ’s passing doesn’t have to be divisive. It was a sad death. Like a good WASP, I guess I’m ready to move on.

From PoliticoGoGo

About Russell Smith

I was born at the American Hospital in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France. I find inspiration in the lives of so many people from Joan of Arc to Oscar Wilde. While my primary avocation is photography, I also enjoy philosophy, theology and most of all, history. My beloved wife, Robin Anne Smith, who passed away in 2013 is also an inspiration to me. My beloved partner, Dana is also a great support and inspiration to me. I'd be remiss if I did not mention my cats: Natasha, Maxwell, Tigger and Nigel.

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