Chain Saws for Change

I like traveling but I’ve never found anywhere I’d like to live that suits me more than the Mahoning Valley.  In this valley we have affordable housing, a world- class orchestra, plenty of local theater, lots of clubs for musicians to play, great parks, restaurants and museums.  We can hop in our cars and in no time be in a bigger city like, Cleveland or Pittsburgh that has sports teams and where world-class musicians come on tour. I also appreciate the hard working-class ethics and compassion of residents in the Mahoning Valley.

Last week we  traveled to attend the wedding of a niece in the Village at Shirlington, Virginia near Arlington, Virginia. The trip made me realize how our children’s generation settles for less.  I’d use the word, town loosely describing, Shirlington as it is really a pseudo town. We have a lot of these anymore the closest examples being Crocker Park and Legacy both  in the Cleveland area. They are boutique shopping and dining districts of one plywood building after another. Above the shops and restaurants are over priced condos. A good wind would blow down this plywood phony town like a house of cards. We have gone from architecturally mixed, sturdy buildings in downtowns to malls and now to these town-like boring structures I’d label “Stepford Towns.”

My niece had mentioned she was getting married in a theater that she and her groom love. I imagined a theater such as our area’s much-loved Powers Auditorium. I’ve been to Radio City Music Hall and I can tell you it can’t hold a candle to the beautiful Art Nouveau Powers Auditorium. Alas, the theater my niece chose was part of the Virginia “Stepford Town.” It was a cement block structure above a library. A theater company uses the space to hold monthly plays. Over $16 million was spent to make this theater a few years ago. The walls were still cement block and it was made to look like an industrial loft. I’d say the design came out resembling a Chipotle Mexican Grill. I believe it is all part of the fact that our middle-class is disappearing and our children are not going to have it as good as us, baby boomers. They are accepting pseudo towns, taco stand looking  theaters and the fact that if they want a new car they’ll only be able to lease it as they can’ t afford to buy it. They’ve had to settle for lower wages and less job security than the boomer generation.

The main thing I want out of this life is to make a better one for my kids. I think that would be the goal of most parents also. Sadly, we have many parents that don’t seem to give a shit about their own kids let alone yours and mine. The worst part is some of these folks that don’t give a shit about their kids are the ones who have more of the means to make this a better world. I’m talking about politicians who could enact legislation to benefit our nation’s youth. Instead, they protect their campaign contributors who are getting wealthy by putting our kids at risk. We have politicians who want to eliminate environmental safety nets like the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and repeal bills like the Clean Water Act that protect our children’s safety and the environment which they will inherit. We also have politicians that start wars, push questionable dangers like Marcellus Shale drilling, nuclear energy, drilling in our nation’s parks and weakening safety and environmental laws. Our kids also suffer cuts to: education funds, college loans, nutrition, food stamps, Medicaid, Head Start, child care etc.

While children are being left behind, our politicians and the Supreme Court are making sure no corporation is left behind. Corporations are being given all manner of corporate welfare because our tax dollars are being diverted from the needy (our kids) to the greedy (corporations and the wealthy). Conservatives call those on social welfare deadbeats who should be cut off. Yet, two-thirds of all corporations pay no taxes, many of those who make huge profits get corporate welfare anyway and many U.S. companies export jobs and have no loyalty to this country. On top of that you have companies in the military industrial complex that make huge profits off of our young men and women in the military being put in harm’s way.

We can’t make a better world by patronizing businesses and voting for candidates that put profits before our children’s future. This planet wasn’t given to us to use as a toilet. Conservatives like Rush Limbaugh say, they look at a giant sequoia tree and wonder how many picnic tables it would make.  I say it’s time we appreciate the giant sequoia for the earthly wonder that it is. We should celebrate that it adds to the quality of our children’s environment because like all trees it improves our air, soil and water. Our politicians that put children’s future at risk for the sake of their corporate masters are an evil forest that needs to be cleared. It’s high time we sharpen our chain saws as we have to be the lumberjacks who’ll clear a path for our children to have a brighter future. I say we go Paul Bunyan on the deadwood in our 50 state capitals  then head to the nation’s capital. Of course I am not advocating violence as I believe in trying all peaceful means first. Instead of being like the corporate owned teabaggers waving tea bags we need to wave chain saws. I think the powers that be will get the message real quick. If not, make sure your saw has gas in it.

Cry, Cry cry: Cold Missouri Waters

Lucy Kaplansky: Land of the Living 9/11 Tribute

Only a life lived for others is a life worth while.” — Albert Einstein

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