Celebrating (the Good and the Bad of) the U.S.A.

I spent this morning downtown at the Tampa Bay History Center. It was a great way to spend the 4th, from the map room with its earliest maps of our state, to the Tampa-centric likes of local tennis pro Judy Alvarez (and my former Seminole Heights neighbor) and the late artist Lamar Sparkman, who designed the original Bucs logo.

Since yesterday's post I've been marinating on the topic of community and how the lack of it encourages the worst of human behavior. I certainly don't have any new answers to offer up but I do think that smart, thoughtful people have been addressing ways to solve many of the problems caused by the human condition since the beginning of humanity. (Another great reason to read, kids!) One of my current favorites is author/activist Bill McKibben's most recent book Eaarth. I can't think of the philosopher(s) who've said that in order to fix the world, one must have their own house in order first, but it's a pretty fitting theory for this day.

In a similar vein, there was a great article in today's New York Times by Peter Goodman, a reporter who's traveled the country witnessing the effects of the Great American Recession. He's seen the same terrible things we all have either experienced or heard about happening close to home. Though the story doesn't have a happy ending (the recession goes on after all), I like how it wove together the kind acts of strangers assisting each other in their respective job searches with the desperation of the unemployed who believe so-called illegal immigrants have stolen their jobs. As a former CNA, I'd like to see those formerly high-paid educated folks work along side immigrants in nursing homes (like I did at the beginning of the recession) and see how quickly they change their tune.

Speaking of tunes, here's a long lost Woody Guthrie track called Mean Talking Blues, for those of you who aren't ready to do good just yet.

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