Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Suburban Blues

Last week's MetroTimes had a blurb about the sixth annual BUD LIGHT Ferndale Blues Festival which was very kind. It mentioned the multitude of warm and friendly venues hosting more than five dozen concerts. MetroTimes has been a sponsor of the festival since its inception in 2001. But the writer made one statement to which I beg to differ; that being that in effect, the suburbs are an unlikely place to expect the Blues. The conventional wisdom being perhaps that true Blues must happen in a big urban city, probably one associated with the problems that some cities experience.

But many of us believe that one need not be poor, or Black, or downtrodden to appreciate or even create good Blues. While no one would challenge the history of the Blues, that it came from the experience of slavery, poverty, and hard life of the rural South, there is also no question that the shared pain of bill collectors, cheatin' spouses, and broken hearts transends any racial or economic or geographic group. The Blues is loved worldwide.

Ferndale may be viewed by some now as a trendy, yuppie-filled smaller version of Birmingham. Those folks either dont know Ferndale, havent been here, or have bought into the old tired suburban-city divide. Perhaps we in Ferndale have been too successful with our own hype. This city was and still is a hard-scrabble working and middle class town. Fifteen years ago, our downtown was as empty as any blighted block in Kansas City or Memphis or Chicago.
We've been able to rebound because we have rejected the worst aspects of the Eight Mile Road divide. We choose neither to follow the glitterati of Birmingham or the urban decay of the big city. We have chosen a third way.

Even the stereotype of the gentrified "Gay" neighborhood doesn't fit Ferndale. We are a mixed community that values and embraces our diversity. We love our residents, be they advertizing executives, teachers, or factory workers. The students in our schools represent very color of the rainbow. We are proud of our city, we appreciate our culture, and we certainly love our music.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

President escalates war in Vietn.....Iraq.

Just when we thought it could not get any worse, the Great Decider is going to make a really bad situation more disasterous. Not only is he trying to send an another 21,000 American men and women into harm's way in Iraq, he evidently thinks we need to stir things up more and is planning on sending in a U.S. Naval Task Force to patrol the coast off Iran.

Why not poke our finger into Iran's eye and shake up that hornet's nest? Lets get the dysfunction we have created in Iraq to metastasize?

Nevermind that the voters said no to this growing mess in Iraq. Bush is the Commander-in- Chief and he must think he knows better than the generals, the Congress, and of course the people.

A week ago last Monday night I joined the weekly protest in Ferndale against the war that takes place at the corners of Nine Mile Road and Woodward. Every Monday night from about 4:30 pm until about 6 pm protesters have gathered at those corners for the past four years.
Last week there were about 16 of us.

Maybe next week there will be more.

The American people are going to have to raise the level of the noise being generated against this war. Escalating the Vietnam war into Cambodia and Laos did not work. It just got thousands more people killed. Why are we standing for this repeat of history?