War

Should I paint my face and pick up a sword? Our country declares war on odd things.

Concept wars cannot be won as there is no clearly defined enemy, no nation to defeat, no land to seize. War on Terrorism, for example, broadly covers all aspects of terrorism instead of a specific terrorist and their organization, therefore it becomes never-ending as there is always someone or something else to add to the list. War on Drugs, War on Crime, War on Poverty… all noble endeavors to seek an end to, but war is specifically a human thing. People align, side with their cause, take up arms, battle to the death, pillage, bomb and blast each other to rumbles. War is an awful thing.

It bothers me to hear the leaders of this country describe COVID-19 as the enemy in this so-called “War” on a virus because the people are taking up sides against each other instead of working together for the common good.

On one side, we have the obnoxiously loud minority who use intimidation tactics to achieve their objectives, be it silencing other people by drowning out their voices on social media, verbally attacking people in public, or attending protests against health regulations fully armed. These are the guys carrying signs and military grade weapons at state capitals. Some are just ordinary people, but some of them are freaking nuts… their fringe element is prone to violence. One nut killed the security guard at a Michigan dollar store, another shot the cook at a restaurant, just because the businesses required customers to wear face masks.

Does intimidation work? Yes… people are afraid of those guys. They avoid the bullies, don’t engage in conversations, don’t dare leave a comment on a Facebook post lest you be attacked, ripped to shreds and called a sheep or whatever.

Wolves and sheep… the sheep side, or rather just the OTHER side, are more scared of the wolves than they are of the declared “enemy” in this “war” on a virus. These are the people who take the crisis seriously, practice social distancing, and cover their faces because they care deeply about others and are willing to do whatever it takes to help stop the spread of COVID-19. We know fabric masks do little to protect our own selves. We wear them just in case we, our own selves, may have contracted the virus and don’t yet know, may never know, because if we should happen to catch it, we want to reduce the odds of passing it on to someone else. Wearing a mask says, “I care.”

Yes, I am a sheep… dyed blue my wool, paint my face, the pen is my sword.

It’s not such a bad thing to be a sheep, to care about others, to be a humanitarian. Wolves who cry, “I don’t need a mask, God will protect me” forgot that the Shepherd tends the sheep. Psalms 23.

It is a bit ironic when wolves claim the sheep are too scared to stand up to “tyranny” as if state health guidelines and orders given to slow the spread of COVID-19 will lead to an authoritarian form of government. Most of those wolves support the current POTUS, echo his tweeted words, while sheep tend to believe the current administration is the greatest threat to our democracy.

Thanks for reading!

FULL DISCLOSURE: I not only practice social distancing and wear masks while in public, I also sew fabric masks for friends and quiet donations. Yes, some are available for purchase. I’m just trying to recoup some of the cost, not profit off a plague. Odds are, I still won’t break even, but that’s okay… if you want to see photos of what I’ve been sewing, visit Mice4Mars.com. That’s my other WordPress blog, launched just for my art before all this started.

Us Verses Them

“They purposely keep us out.”

The elderly woman was talking about a barricade set up between two apartment buildings as the gated entrance to a downtown event that charges a $3 entrance fee.  The “rich” people living in the building located just inside the barricade “are welcome” to attend and “get to go free” while “poor” people living in the building right next door are, in her opinion, purposely kept out.  As if charging people who live outside the gate an entrance fee is meant to discourage local people from attending events in their own neighborhood.

It took me a minute to wrap my brain around that.

The location she described would be the best place to set up an entrance gate for an event held on Federal Plaza Central.  I offered logical explanations; she could not be swayed.  As we talked, I realized that a barricade placed between the two buildings represented a lot more to her than just the entrance gate to an event.  She saw it as a wall of separation, physical evidence of discrimination.  They get to go for free, we have to pay.  They are wanted, we are not. Us. Them. Those people. I have heard at least a dozen different people make little comments now and then about us, them, and those people.  Words like:  That’s for those people, not us.  They don’t want us here. They want us gone.

I think it stems from a sense of being excluded from city revitalization efforts.

Maybe some people have watched too many movies with story lines about revitalization of a neighborhood, usually with some underdog fighting to save their home from a wrecking ball.  That is not going to happen here.  No one is trying to push anyone out.

So, the downtown neighborhood is being sold as the hip cool place for young professionals to live, work, and play.   We need an influx of young people just to balance out, to create a vibrant mix of young and old and all types of people.  Right now, the demographics are 83% elderly and/or disabled residents.   Someday, it might be 50/50 or even 70/30.  And it won’t be from displacing old folks… the population is growing.

 

Quick Lesson:  Revitalization 101

Wells Building (Photo credit:  DJ, age 9)

Wells Building (Photo credit: DJ, age 9)

  See this old building with the cool lacy edge on top (lion heads or gargoyles, not sure which)?
It is the Wells Building.  Thanks to revitalization, it will be saved.

Kress Building (photo credit: DJ age 9)

Kress Building (photo credit: DJ, age 9)

Now see this building?  Or, what is left of this building as it is being demolished.
This is what happens when buildings fall into decline.  It was too far gone to save.

Any questions?

This “US verses THEM” thing has to stop because it is infiltrating my own head.  It’s like when I was walking downtown on a Saturday night and some artsy thing caught my eye.  I almost walked in to ask about it… my stopper was other people’s words in my head:  “Look where you are… that’s for them.”

Whoa.  I need to step out of the box of my own building and become active in my new (as in just moved here last fall) community as a whole before I get sucked into the undercurrent of separatism.  And not just for my own self… if I can help disperse some of this nonsense, so be it.