are certain to wallow in self pity, depression, hopelessness and inertia.
Our twin communities here are a great example. When the Chrysler plant closed in the mid 70's the towns began to die. The high school shuttered its doors and was eventually demolished. The kids were bused to a arger town and subjected to slurs, judgments and being lost in a crowd. To this day they're often referred to as River Rats. It's a crying shame and it shows everywhere.
There are few people with vision or hope and enough domestic violence, alcoholism, drugs and robbery to cover every block in each village.
Thankfully, there are people who yearn for change and hope - though not necessarily Obama. There is talent here and dreams and, of course, critics.
I love the critics because they give me an opportunity to influence people.
For example, while posting a notice at the local restaurant about "Drop In For Art" (meets every Saturday at the library) an old timer said, "Why bother with art when the people need jobs?"
Of course he was mumbling under his breath the way most people with little vision and less courage do. Being me, I took his remark as an opportunity to introduce myself.
"Hello, I overheard your comment about art and wondered if you'd care to tell the kids at the library what you think. How about stopping by Saturday?"
He flustered, got a little antsy and turned a little red. "Well, what's putting scraps of garbage together going to teach them?"
"Not to throw out the useable with the rancid."
"Rancid" was a bit above his grasp of the English language so his buddy interpreted: "Rancid is the smelly, rotten stuff."
Then the critic says: "Well one or two paintings or pictures on a wall is enough. What's the point of the rest of it?"
I cut to the chase: "Broadly speaking, art is all around us, all the time. It's not limited to paintings or photographs. Art played a role in the car you drive, the style of house you live in, the clothes you wear, the furniture and and appliances you have." He chuckled a bit and I kept talking. "Art determined the choice of wall covering and booths and dinnerware right here in front of you. In fact, art played a role in why you choose to eat here and not next door." At this last remark four heads around the tabled nodded in agreement.
Mr. Critic considered for a moment and said, "Well..."
"Well," I said, "consider what I've said the next time you choose one color, style, model or material over another. And please, please, stop by the library where the next generation is making those same choices now - choices that may very well affect the kind of person they become."
I stood up, extended my hand and said, "Have a nice day."
Tomorrow I'm returning to that restaurant and ask the owner to display the kids' artwork and for permission to put a collection jar at the register.