Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Where the American Dream Died



If our dysfunctional Congress wasn't already telling us America is in trouble you can look to Los Angeles where the American dream has died. What the dream always required was civility. People treating other people decently. Today, with the walk sign on, someone almost hit me. I now walk without any braces, but six months ago I was wearing four. Aquatic physical therapy has made all the difference. Although I've dramatically improved, living in Los Angeles can be truly frightening. I'm very much for diversity, but we have over 100 different languages used in Los Angeles. We don't seem to be attempting to make sure all those people understand a democracy requires people being careful of other people's rights. I live in an area called Little Persia on the Rand McNally map. As I walked the neighborhood I said hello to people I pass in the street. Most people look at me as if I'm crazy. The people who talk to me are the Latinos who garden for these rich people. While I learned Chinese instead of Spanish, I know how to say "God bless you" in Spanish. It almost universally produces a smile. For me, it's a showing of respect for these fine people.
If you could blame America's problems on poor people that might explain something. But the people I walk among are wealthy. There is no reason that they should have not learned civility in their education.
I will now include my earlier post:
There are days when you start to feel like you've become invisible, and the likeliest place to be invisible is in a large city. I've got a big enough ego that I can transcend this feeling, but it takes me a few minutes to recover sometimes.
I'm disabled and have braces on both ankles and my right knee. I work out an hour every morning and then like to get in a walk. For reasons that you'll see, I usually drive to the dry cleaner that is a block and a half away.
This morning I said to myself that there shouldn't be any reason I can't walk to the cleaners. The fact that I have to cross Westwood Boulevard, I thought, shouldn't be an impediment. Picking up my dry-cleaning I headed out. I stepped into the crosswalk and moved into the intersection. I was gratified when one car stopped for me. Unfortunately it was the last car that would.
By the time I was two steps into the intersection, I counted 19 cars that had crossed the crosswalk at about 40 mph. The further I got into the intersection, I thought, the safer I'd be. This was not to be the case. I was in West Los Angeles and I was prey.
I thought about how this section of Los Angeles frequently supported action against Arabs who would pick on people in Darfur, worry about the plight of those in our inner cities, and disrupt this area in their eagerness to greet Obama. A lot of money can be raised in this area for liberal social causes.
I laud all these actions but at that moment I just wanted to walk across a city street. In California, it's against the law to enter a crosswalk with a car when someone is trying to cross the street. This isn't supposed to be New York, where every pedestrian has a target on his back. People here used to obey the law.
However, this part of town is full of rich people with expensive cars. There are agents and lawyers on the way to important meetings. There are people who see pedestrians as somehow of lesser value. The BMWs the Mercedes and Lexus are all indicative of their high social status.
I've decided to accept their heightened status and promise next time to drive to the dry cleaners. I need to respect my betters.

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