[Migrated: 17 JUL 06]
[Disclaimer: This was written when I was in New York for the first time. I was on "vacation" from living in New Orleans working for the Common Ground Collective after Hurricane Katrina. It's funny how the more things stay the same, the more overt the evidence.]
I went to Strawberry Fields (Central Park West and 72nd Street) to see the John Lennon memorial during the day and to flash a couple pics. A peace sign of stemless cherries encompassed the "imagine." The most simple message we've likely been given in the 20th century, it basically invites people to imagine a world of equality and compassion. I was further reflecting on the B-train enroute to Brooklyn.
We surfaced from the darkness of the subway and began to cross a steel-trussed bridge over the East River. Standing with my back against a door, having given my seat to an elderly Asian man (remember chivalry?), I could see the Brooklyn Bridge and the Statue of Liberty in the harbor beyond that. I wish I got a picture of that...
Basically, as the cables of the suspension structure rose higher to the bridge's towers, they became more spaced. So the statue seemed to be divided in to little slivers by the cables, smaller pieces at the bottom, getting larger towards the top.
I 'imagined' that it was ironically fitting for a symbol of freedom and opportunity to be divided as such that, the feet and ankles supporting our great nation - working-class minorities and immigrants - should recieve the smallest and most trivial of pieces, while the bourgeoisie and gentrified masses (although I'll later argue these are in fact the minority) recieve the bounty of working-class labor. It seemed also fitting that the crown upon the head of the Empire be unobstructed, symbolic of the next hundred years of first-class rule.
Why do I rant in an air of misanthropic treason? Because if I have learned anything from my travels, it is the fact that this country falls far short of its goals and has absolutely no right to assert its will upon the rest of the world. There is no justice, there is no equality in any form! Granted, we have a much better existece here (depends on your point of reference), but how can we say that we are 'equal opportunity?! Certainly the phrase 'give us your hungry' is nothing but ill-fated rhetoric!
And so I plead you to simply open your eyes..... Realize that the Revolutionary war did not end with the British surrender. Blacks were slaves until 1864 and could not vote legitimately until the 1960s. Women could not vote until the 1920s and the question of whether they have rights over their own bodies will be reconsidered by the Supreme Court. Many states and counties are making English the official language to undermine our Hispanic, working-class brothers and sisters, while at the same time denying them reasonable visa requirements. How can we say this country has succeeded in its revolution? These minorities are together a majority! We can't even say representative democracy exists; and de Tocqueville's Tyranny of the Majority should be rephrased as the Tyranny of the Minority!
If the French or the Russians have taught us anything by their histories, it is that violent revolution never solves a problem it only complicates it. Gandhi and Dr. King have shown by example that non-violent protest can create the shift in our popular ideological paradigm. And this, my friends, is the ends I wish to meet. Change the way you think about the world and where you see yourself in it. "Imagine" what we can accomplish and live your life to see it.