Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Flint's Dashed Hopes -- Out with the Trash

While I'm not a particularly political person, events occasionally conspire to rouse me, and in several cases, I've allowed -- even welcomed -- a sign to go up in my front yard. There was Gore/Lieberman (what a quaint and uncomfortable memory -- can any of us actually stomach that Lieberman was on that ticket, now that he's turned into a Republican?) and then, of course, there was Kerry/Edwards. I didn't want to throw out those artifacts of hope -- tossing them on the curb with my weekly bag of ArtVan ads and Lean Cuisine boxes seemed like bad voodoo, bad karma, giving up. So I put them in the garage, where they're gradually getting crisscrossed with spider leavings, their bold fonts fading.

And now, of course, there's the sign for Dayne Walling, the plucky Flint native and Rhodes scholar who missed being elected mayor of my city last night by fewer than 600 votes.

Actually, I never got a sign -- I asked for it twice, and I donated more to young Dayne than I've ever given to any other campaign or candidate, but they never got me one. Maybe that's a sign, so to speak, of why they didn't squeeze out the votes they needed, but I didn't really care. There were 18 Walling signs on two blocks of my street the day before the election, and none for the incumbent, Don "I ain't changin' nothin" Williamson. Half of the folks who bothered to vote yesterday -- the people who want recycling, art, music, more jobs, a clean Flint River, professional and imaginative city management, the people tired of Flint's history of violence, abandonment, cronyism and, well, municipal idiocy -- are in a funk today, in a hangover of dashed hopes, once again.

On a trip to Ann Arbor several years ago, Ted and I bought a blue and white sign from MichiganPeaceWorks that said, simply and assertively, PEACE. It stood stolidly in my tulip bed through several cycles of Michigan humidity, pounding rainstorms, freezes, thaws and snowstorms. Finally noticing it was a looking a bit disheveled around the edges, I decided it was time to retire it. Yes, I saw the symbolism; waiting for peace is a trial of patience guaranteed to outlast mere laminated cardboard on wobbly rusting legs.

So, that sign's propped up in the garage, now, too. I know, I know, change takes time. There's always an opportunity for a new plan. But today I'm not ready for that. Today I'm just pissed off. And today I'm thinking, maybe this is the week to put all my naive hopes out with the trash.

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