I have a big problem choosing sides in our political wars so I take a safe position on sidelines and throw spitballs at whatever targets emerge.
My problem with one side is they act like they just discovered we’re not all equal and have come to the conclusion that those with less should suffer the consequences of their inequality. In other words, it is every man, woman and children for themselves, a kind of existential “Hunger Games.”
On the other side are those who think we are equal or should be equal, something they would like to achieve symbolically without giving up their privileges, a kind of existential “Animal Farm” where some are more equal than others.
So I’m left in a kind of suspended animation, hovering over seemingly polarized opposites — yet from above they look like they are just two sides of the same coin of the realm.
As one of those who shares an affinity with those less lucky, what we are doing as a city, a state, a nation, a planet isn’t not good enough under the circumstances. Not by a long shot, not with 7 billion people choking on their exhaust fumes, dehydrating from the lack of clean water, starving from not enough food, slaughtering each other in the pursuit of domination and advantage.
So when I hear all the time from those with power, those who make the decisions and those who influence the decisions, that the perfect, the great, is the enemy of the good so we should compromise and make whatever progress we can even if we know what is called the “good” is nowhere near good enough given the circumstances.
I only know that settling for the mediocre without striving for something better is not good enough.
Striving for something great, sharing in greatness, is what great communities, great nations, great civilizations do. Or they sink into mediocrity and inevitably decline into oblivion, leaving only relics and artifacts, clues to what was achieved and what might have been.
My story is the LA story.
I traveled the world, a wandering Jew, for half my lifetime and spent the last half trying to do what I could to light the flame of freedom and justice and equality and greatness that I saw in the incredible brilliance and horrifying darkness of this place we ironically call the City of Angels, when it’s always seemed like purgatory to me where we are all working out our destiny.
The joke of my life is I suffer from verbal diarrhea and written constipation, compulsive talking and total writer’s block. This is my therapy, striving to let what arises from below reach my brain and take form as written words and sentences and paragraphs.
Don’t take that statement more seriously than I do. Everybody I know in LA is struggling through their fundamental contradictions of identity, sexuality, emotionality, intellectuality, every —ity you can think of.
It is precisely the myth of absolute freedom, the dream of manifesting in the world the person you are deep inside, that is at heart what the spirit of LA is to me. It’s why I love LA and worked so long with what skills and opportunity I have had to make it the place where everyone’s interests, values and needs are respected and some kind of balance is achieved.
We are in this together whether we like it or not.