I generally try to keep politics out of these blog posts. But I ask you: What isn’t political today? Going to the grocery store is political. Getting a haircut – or wanting to get a haircut – is political. Turning on your television…is political.
Humans. What a mess we’ve made of ourselves.
And if you leave your house – which you shouldn’t, but you know you do – it’s right there. On street corners throughout the city, the signs, the marches, the protests. This is the summer of our discontent.
And hopefully this is not premature but: Well done, New Orleans. While cities around the country go up in flames, to the best of my knowledge, ours has been a peaceful process. And this is worth pointing out because – for a city that many consider to be the most violent and murderous in the nation – we generally keep it together in times like these.
Case in point: We’ve heard a lot about Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls lately, what with the 300-part documentary about him currently airing 24/7 on 24 stations and 7 networks.
(I exaggerate. It’s only 250 episodes.)
Anyway, if you were around back in the days when the Bulls ran the table in the NBA year after year, there were also riots in Chicago – year after year. BECAUSE A GOOD THING HAPPENED!
That was always the rub I never understood. Our team won. Let’s go burn shit and loot Foot Locker. I never quite got that mentality. But it wasn’t just Chicago. Hell, it’s an American phenomenon.
Back when I was a freshman at the University of Wisconsin in 1979, the Badgers won the NCAA hockey championship. Yes, hockey. And out in the streets that night, amid celebration, I found myself in the middle of overturned cars and burning trash cans. For a hockey game. In the middle of winter. In Wisconsin, for crissake.
Your team wins: Paint the town stupid.
I remember the night the Saints won the Super Bowl and I was genuinely concerned for the well-being of the city. But what happened? Hugs and high fives. (Not recommended in these arduous times, by the way.)
But that was it. Nobody burned down Canal Street.
Which brings us to our current climate – and crisis. Here, like everywhere, people are taking it to the street. It doesn’t help that almost everyone in America is unemployed and so has the time and opportunity – and frustration – to take it to the street.
As of this writing, Tuesday, June 2, in the year 2020, no one in New Orleans has been shot, hurt or even arrested during the protests. No properties have burned. Hell, NOPD motorcycle cops have been leading the way, clearing intersections for the marchers to pass through safely. Like it was some kind of second line parade!
This place really is an anomaly. We do so many things wrong in just the right way. But some days – days like these – we manage to keep it together. Because, hopefully, this time we are together.
Unless, of course, there’s a big, nasty hurricane and the levees fail and the cops split town and, well – somebody needs a plasma screen TV in a city with no electricity.
Then things get rough. But that’s different.
So stay safe out there friends and neighbors. Love one another. But don’t hug one another! Because remember there’s still that other thing going on also. And hurricane season began yesterday.
What could possibly go wrong?