Sticker Shock In The Grove
On the corner of Douglas Road and US1, here in Miami, can be found this pole, with two stickers on them.
The bottom one says,
"Out of Iraq NOW!"
But it's the upper-most one, which gave me such a queasy stomach, that I almost slammed the brakes hard in reaction.
"9-II was an Inside Job"
I don't think I need further comment about this, do I.
By chance, do you happen to see those two modernist structures just at the back: you know, the ones which look like two shipping containers knocked about after a hurricane?
Surrounding them, is a fresly-painted green fence, and gorgeously mowed lush green lawn, yes?
Well, guess what?
That's our most prominent ghetto, at least in the Southwest part, in what is called "The Black Grove".
Coconut Grove is a toney suburb of Miami, but it is framed by homesteads settled by Bahamian guest workers from the 1880s-1930s, whose descendants stayed on in Miami.
Many of them live in wonderfully renovated, and publicly maintained public housing, which you can glimpse above.
But others live in more typical abodes, which pass for rack and ruin in this gorgeous city.
Even so, they are painted with the same gay pastels, in the emblematic colours of the city, and have copious amounts of palm trees, all around.
How people live in these so-called ghettoes, and yet have really nice cars, and pepper their neighbourhood with Dish Network satellites, is beyond me though.
I once read in the Miami Herald, that those on what used to be called welfare, received cable television free, in certain public housing-designated homes...
(Perhaps they apply for this subsidy here below, which is the local government centre for welfare mums and dads, located a few feet away from the sticker location above.
I once went there, as part of my Clerk training classes. It was clean, bright, and as far as go'mint cheese centres go, welcoming)
...so, maybe we tax-payers are now footing the satellite bill, too.
That's progress for you.
P.S.: I don't think it was an African-American denizen of the Black Grove who put up these stickers, so don't get me wrong.
If there is one thing that distinguishes blacks in Miami, from say, blacks around the US, is their political apathy.
(You'll remember my prediction about the first black Miami mayor in my April 2006 blogpost, "Loss of Influence: The Black American in US Politics")
They vote. But since the ruinous McDuffie riots in 1980, and the flare-up in 1989, they don't protest.
The most they do, is march, like the anti-crime troop past, below.
I waved, as I drove past them, and they waved back.
No, chances are the stickers were put up by the yuppy refuseniks in the high-end part of Coconut Grove.
The kind that lives here, in the multi-million dollar gated community known as L'Hermitage.
Here is a typical L'Hermitage dweller or guest who, when he turned into the lane I was in, and sped ahead of me, I was able to see the two stickers he had pasted unto his bumper.
One screeched this.
And the other sticker enjoined us to get this.
...yeah, as if anyone who would ruin the paintwork of an $80,000 automobile, was anything but barmy.
I can't say for sure, but if you pressed me, I would say it wasn't the slum-dweller, who is content with his On Demand HDTV, and her marches for neighbourhood safety.
It's the millionaire in his two-seater Beemer convertible, yelling his views at the top of his lungs, because that's what happens when you have a sense of entitlement.