I took the dog on a walk last night from the house where I'm staying to where I live, and wonder why I don't walk more, because we traveled six miles round trip together, me and the Jungle Puppy, but in part it was having no timetable and the relative invincibility of having a canine companion that somehow immunizes yours truly from getting hollered at or propositioned on those parts of Detroit Avenue where that's a regular line of work. I used to walk everywhere in Kent, but part of that was knowing that there were lots of people out and it was relatively safe as opposed to living in the tenth-most-dangerous locale in the country where stuff does happen.
There are security cameras on the street to the south of me, which doesn't seem to do much to deter the 4am crack dealers or the punkass kids tagging on the punk rock bar or the people getting randomly shot on the corner. My part of the street is mostly chill people so I sleep sound at night, but the all-seeing eye and then the more pedestrian lowlifery is daunting enough that I either run up and down the street or drive to see bands play there.
And tonight, we have girl talk on the balcony, about love lives and politics, the human condition and tuneage over pots of yerba mate and homemade last-minute dinner. It starts raining but there's enough of an overhang that we can push the chairs beneath and keep the candles lit. The neighbor across the street is playing showtunes on the piano, we gaze down at the people walking dogs and riding bikes as the grey clouds swirl past. We don't agree on some things but we do agree on wanting to respect the basic humanity of others.
The conversation inevitably turns to the events of the day and a tiff on my facebook page originating from the news that Dear Leader Mike, along with banning big gulps and wanting to regulate smoking and salt content, also wants sparklers and other little Things That Go Bang banned because: Terrorists and Thinking of the Children. I juxtaposed this with the general treatment of non-white people, what with stop-and-frisk, surveillance of Muslim communities, and that whole pesky business of consistent police brutality both against minorities and dissenters.
Evidently this is less of a problem to some people because of bike lanes and because he cares about public health. But I really think that the treatment of society's vulnerable says a lot about someone's overall character. That, and the way he talks about women. Tell me again, how am I supposed to admire this person? A billionaire asshole who shares his police force with big banks and brags about his private army? Suddenly our kind of clueless Republican governor doesn't seem so bad.
And so I've been thinking, pretty much We The People on most sides are totally cool with giving up freedoms and acceding to the power of the state and the ones with the big purses if we get the right carrots dangled in front of us. Gay rights, unless you're Bradley Manning or Glenn Greenwald, abortion either way (I swing more pro-life but I absolutely hate being told by men that I'm supposed to be more angry about the state of my uterus than I am about the state of our world at large and both sides are manipulative as hell), jobs and a false sense of security, because of course the state will only go after bad foreign people and you've got nothing to hide. The urban planning vision you desire, which of course is more important than the day to day hell that people in a lot of urban areas deal with.