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Sea Cape Cod by Michael Mosier

Coming soon: Link to Waterfront Photography, in historic downtown Hyannis, Massachusetts, Cape Cod, USA 02651

January 31, 2011

Nantucket Sunrise

Filed under: Blog — Michael @ 1:01 pm

Greetings and salutations from the sand, sun and surf of Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and the great island of Nantucket!  Great to be with you on this sunny, cold start to the day here in Osterville, the tiny seaside village nestled on the south shore of Cape Cod, a sand bar created by the Last Great Ice Age over 11,500 years ago.  On “Morning Joe”, a show I watch from time to time, only on MSNBC, when I need some early morning knee jerk reaction to what is going on presently in the world, as the programming contains football and baseball scores while it quickly switches gears to the crisis unfolding in Egypt, an impressive feat of segway if I have ever seen one, and not easy, I’m sure, yes, so on “Morning Joe” this morning, a show apparently “brewed” by “Starbucks”, a clever niche the Seattle coffee giant seized upon a few years ago, Joe Scarborough, in a rare moment of insight, said this little gem of wisdom regarding the present “agreement” over the President’s reaction to the crisis in Egypt and the ripple effect it will have on the rest of the Middle East, and I paraphrase here, “Ironically, peace has broken out in Washington, as the republicans are actually agreeing with the way President Obama is handling the crisis going on in Egypt.”  As I thought about the plight of the now 60% ‘under the age’ of thirty majority that make up Egypt’s population, young people, educated, for the most part, and tech savvy, who have witnessed via social networking, the bounties of others in other countries, and thus, naturally cry out, “where’s mine”, as they desire a better life, a life that is untrammeled by the outdated blind plutocratic values, yes, when I thought of those children, I thought back to a documentary on HBO that was released a year or so ago, on the plight of the youngest victims in this new “economy” that many of our “American brothers and sisters” are actually living through in a parallel universe far, far away.  A march to the bottom, as it were.  This documentary was filmed in Orange County, California, a place I called home for two and a half years during the mid 90’s.  The documentary is called “Homeless motel kids in Orange County”, and it pierced my heart, for it boiled it all down to the core, the raw reality of what is going on in so many of our communities across this very rich country of ours.  I lived in Newport Beach, and saw first hand, what this documentary was getting at, what it exposes, showing real children, living in dirty, filthy conditions, as their parents, those lucky enough to have them, struggle to keep a stinky hotel room, motel rather, over their heads for one more night in the mean streets of Anaheim, California, parts of them anyway, rampant with crack, gangs, violence, prostitution, and desperation.  This town is only a few miles inland from the very wealthy Newport Beach and as you travel down the “405″, into the opulence of Newport, suddenly you are in a completely different world than where these homeless children are living at right NOW, mansions the size of John Wayne’s movie career, as he had a house on Newport’s majestic man made harbor, the world’s largest, and as your eyes catch all of the glory of the big, blue Pacific Ocean, beaming with the promise of eternal cleansing, you realize that most of those children, who live from day to day in those bed bug ridden hotels, will never quite embrace that magnificent ocean, for it will feel as foreign to them as it would for a wealthy kid from Laguna, Newport or Corona Del Mar, to be homeless in Costa Mesa, Anaheim, or Garden Grove.  For have we not, physiologically, built these gated communities out of the hot air provided by the growing trend of a canyon, a “Grand Canyon”, if you please, that marks the divide between the haves and the have nots?  Those invisible lines, that should not be crossed, protected by a growing army of public and private police forces, determine, through careful, predictable, yet often inaccurate human judgement, who belongs and who does not.  There is no doubt that as the “economy”, a national economy that was destroyed by years of fraud and abuse by large corporations that took everything from this country and gave nothing back, a word that is loosely thrown about by the press and politicians alike, continues down a path that rewards the people at the top who have already made it, who have the money and smarts to invest in the right things, at the right place and at the right time, around the world, while local, state and federal programs are cut, adding more pain and suffering to the poorest of the poor, as well as the crumbling “middle class” who are buried under a mountain of debt, yes, as we continue to see the “economy” of 98 percent of the “American people” decay and die, who is to say that this country will not look like our friend’s in Egypt someday soon, while the country itself, is taken over by private special interests who create more invisible lines where poor people are not only not welcome, but are considered collateral damage for the invisible and very silent plutocratic revolution going on in this once great country of ours.  We will see more homeless children, who will never see the ocean, let alone be allowed to play in it.  There is something fundamentally wrong when WE, as a nation, cannot recognize that Egypt is holding up a mirror to ourselves, to US, right here in the United States, giving us the opportunity to address the FACT that WE, collectively as a nation, must come to realize that before we continue telling other nations how to run their affairs, we might want to take a good look at what is transpiring right here “economically” to the most vulnerable of our citizens, and make the commitment, right here and right now, in the good ‘ole USA, to make the decision to take care of them. Perhaps then we can be in a more credible position to stretch out our hand with wisdom and guidance and won’t feel the need to strut around proudly showing off our bright peacock feathers.  I wish to offer you a snapshot of this documentary produced by the excellent film and television company HBO… enjoy.  Q:  “What’s the worst part about being homeless?”  (the reporter asks a six year old boy)  Six year old boy:  “It sucks.”  Q: “Why?”  Boy:  “Everybody asks me dumb questions.”  Q: “How old are you?”  Boy:  “Six”.  Josh is six years old as he looks up at Andrea, his sister, who is 21, living and helping out with Josh and the rest of the kids, as she works full time at a local McDonald’s for $7.25 and hour.  Q:  “How many people are living in this room?”  Mother:  “Five”.   Q:  (to another member of the family, Zach, age 13)  “Are you happy?”  Boy:  “Happy?  What do you mean by happy?”  It’s crowded in here.”  Question to the mother who works full time at Disneyland:  “How long have you been working at Disneyland?”  Mother:  “Two years.”  Q:  “And still you don’t have enough money to move into an apartment?”  Mother:  “Not yet…I can’t afford it right now.”  Q:  “But you’re working…”  Mother:  “Yeah, but I’ve got to get a second job because they have income requirements.  I work in the parking department, we make $9.33 an hour.”  Q:  “So that’s not really a living wage?”  Mother:  “No, especially with five kids, no I’ve got to get my butt in gear and get a second job, because I do nursing, so next week I’m gonna start looking into that.”  This poor woman, who looked like she had been beaten down by life, did not look healthy enough to “go out and get a second job”.  She looked tired, defeated in subtle ways, a look on her face like, “what else can I do, please help me.”  When I think of our “pals” in Washington, members of congress who will remain nameless for the moment because they don’t deserve a mention in this sad story, but they KNOW who they ARE, and their constant draconian rhetoric that calls for the “American people” to sacrifice more, when the wealthy just received a huge bonus to their bottom line by the extension of BUSH era tax cuts, money borrowed from China, when I think of these people who have sacrificed NOTHING, my blood begins to boil.  What SACRIFICES have ya’ll made? You hypocritical “wipers of other people’s bottoms” (credit Monty Python and the Holy Grail), for it seems to me, you puppets up there on Capitol Hill, you sacrifice only your eternal souls as you trade in your values for a few pieces of gold.  But, I digress…  Q:  “You work at the happiest place on earth, is that right?”  Mother:  “Oh yeah.”  Q:  “Is this the happiest place on earth?”  Mother:  “Kinda sorta… (then the 13 year old chimes in)  “Not as much as it’s supposed to be.”  Q:  “Why?”  Boy:  “Because there are lots of arguments in my family.”  (Zach, this same thirteen year old, already has a probation officer, for some minor burglary charge)  Q:  “So how come you’re getting into so much trouble these days?”  Boy:  “There’s not alot for us to do, the parks have started to fill with gangs, taggers, and lots of other stuff.  So it’s kinda hard living in a motel, ’cause they don’t want you to play outside, where kids wanna play.”  In this horrible little motel in Anaheim, California, roughly one family a week is evicted, and what they leave behind is put into the motel dumpster, as the remaining children scavenge inside of that dumpster for “treasures” that might hold some value for their young little lives.  It was one of the saddest images I have ever seen.  Meanwhile, the precocious six year old, at school, sits with his classmates learning about dates, such as when is the first day of the year, what month does it fall under?  One of the teachers interviewed said this, “we do take care of the kids, we provide them with a state sponsored breakfast and lunch, and so there’s no cost to that, you know, as far as what they get from the state, I wouldn’t eat it, you know, I don’t think it’s that healthy.”  “We have a group that is dedicated to providing food to the families of these children, every single week a child goes home with a backpack full of food, every single student.  There is no cost for anything for the kids that are here at PROJECT HOPE, in Anaheim, California, they don’t have to pay for text books, they don’t have to pay for supplies, they don’t have to pay for anything, it is all provided for them, they know that they will be taken care of, they know that they are safe, and I’ll do whatever I can, with whatever resources I have, to help out the kids and their families.” I only hope and pray that the draconian cuts congress is planning to make, that will directly affect these already battered children, will not touch PROJECT HOPE. As the kids vocalized the “Pledge of Allegiance” that morning, a tradition that I think we all enjoyed, at least I did, when I was a kid, a feeling of solidarity with a common people with a common goal, a question was posed to the six year old, “Do you like this country?”  Boy:  “Yeah.”  Q:  “What do you like about it?”  Boy:  “We get to, the homeless get to have free food, instead of paying when they’re homeless.”  Q:  “How about you (talking to another first grader), what do you like about this country?”  Boy:  “Ah, if the homeless don’t have food, or money, we would give ‘em it.”  So, there you have it, a REAL snapshot of the lives of real American citizens, white even!, who live hand to mouth under the shadows of the “Happiest place on Earth!”, and who is to say her plight is any different from the plight of a parallel family in Cairo, or Lisbon, or Moscow?  The epic struggle for survival in this globally aware, both commercially and socially, world we all live in, as a collective species now, is heating up, if you will excuse the deliberate pun.  For how much longer can we claim the mantle of JUSTICE and LIBERTY, one of the few birthplaces of those GOD given rights, how can we claim that mantle, spreading it all over the world via foreign aid or it’s polar opposite, the military industrial complex, when we have so many problems right here in our own backyard?  A backyard that borders the highest fences of Disneyland, one of the iconic symbols of American optimism itself, while the homeless children’s youthful exuberance is squashed by the decaying real landscape left like a carcass on the side of the road by aloof and out of touch “leaders” whose only visible goal, in this country, anyway, is to gaze upon the disintegration with a blind eye, no, make that two blind eyes, seemingly wishing for it all to “just disappear,” while simultaneously yearning for the days of yore, where they remembered a “kinder, gentler” America.  I will leave you with one final quote, verbatim, this one coming from a seven year old girl who broke my heart, when she said this, oh, and by the way, have a good day and please, should you so desire, say a little prayer for these little souls from Anaheim, as well as the global picture unfolding in Egypt and throughout the Middle East, whose peoples have suffered under tyrannical oppression most of their lives. But, mostly, just for today, say a prayer for these little children I just mentioned, for their little lives, their little HOMELESS lives, are lived out in the darkness and despair, a life encompassed by the dark shadows of the parking structures that surround Disneyland, located in the cement jungle of the urban sprawl that IS Anaheim, and most of Orange County, a county, by direct national comparison, in fact much wealthier, per capita, than the rest of this nation–the United States of America.  Q: “So would you consider yourself a happy kid at school or a sad kid?” Seven year of girl:  “Mostly a sad kid.” Q:  “Why?” Girl:  “Because I have lots more sad days than happy days.”  “I’ve slept at the park, I’ve slept, um, at my little sister’s grandma’s house, and…” Q: “What’s it like to sleep in the park?” Girl:  “Actually, not so fun.” Q: “Why?” Girl:  “Because we wake up and have no where to get dressed.” Q:  “What’s it like living in the motel?” Girl:  “Like you’re in hell, and living underground, and the devil is like being really mean.” This all from a sandy blond little seven year old girl, a real sweetheart, who is simply caught up in the ever growing tide of dispossession, dehumanization and degradation that is gripping this nation’s most vulnerable citizens, little children, all under the eyes of “In God WE Trust”, as written on our national currency, in a nation, that is in dire need of some REAL TLC. PRESERVE THE WILDERNESS! Peace~M

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