Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Do Something Different

On the campaign trail Mr. Trump said to the inner cities: “Why not let us try something different; what’s been going on for the past 50 yrs hasn’t worked.”  Bishop Gibson from Harlem (WSJ 11/16 Op Ed) said: “It has to start with the communities – churches, families and fathers.”
Why not appoint a Big City Czar (BCC) --- with no budget.  Money has not helped the problems in the past.  Let the BCC round up experts, study what may have worked, and consider new ways of doing things, and then start a 10 year plan to better the lives of our fellow-Americans living in big cities, to make us a united country again, caring for one another, and perhaps (dare I say it) even one nation under God.
Some say the big banks need to be broken up; what if the big cities were broken into small villages which largely ran themselves.  Small cities, even poor ones, seem to have happier people than our big ones.  Perhaps some US cities which now have sister cities in Asia or Africa could instead adopt sister villages within our big cities, and take practical steps to make the lives of the people there better.  It would be neighbors helping neighbors.  What we’ve been doing hasn’t worked.  Why not do something different?
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Numbers-wise, if the citizens of the 5 largest US cities changed their presidential votes, it would go a long way to uniting this country.
A friend of mine is about to go back to help the Syrian refugees in Lebanon.  The problem there is huge, however he told me the people there are doing a lot to help themselves.  There are 1400 refugee camps in Lebanon, each largely made up of former Syrian neighborhoods destroyed by war.  Now in Lebanon these former neighbors are living together again, helping each other.  Perhaps breaking down our bigger cities into neighborhoods like this would help THEM to better help each, perhaps sharing some city services (like fire protection) and doing some other services themselves (like police, maintenance, trash).  The BCC could help structure and set up village governments, and sister cities could teach them to manage --- and form caring communities, as Bishop Gibson suggested.  If West Germany could absorb and change a poor East Germany, couldn’t we do something on a much smaller scale --- if we really do care for our neighbors?
There is talk about spending lots of money for new infrastructure, bridges and highways.  Aren’t lives a higher priority?  This would be no easy project --- I did say a 10 year plan would be required (at least), but we put a man on the moon with 10 years of focus, couldn’t we put some people here in a better place, one they would be proud to call home?

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