The best of city leaders are going to make mistakes sometimes. They’ll certainly be criticized even if they’re perfect. But I refuse to believe that we can have nothing positive or beneficial in our city — that the city can vote for nothing uplifting or even risky — until every single stingy fiscal conservative is satisfied.
“The City of Arts and Innovation” deserves public art, and if that art is controversial, all the better. This isn’t Pottersville.
I woke up this morning worrying — again — about our democracy’s survival.
It had always seemed rock solid — envied and respected worldwide.
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Then came Donald Trump, a person unelectable to any office in any small town where everyone knew him — with only one exceptional skill: He could make Americans hate again.
Against all reason, nearly half of the voters bought his stories. One of our major political parties let itself be commandeered. Somehow he was elected. Things festered, began unraveling.
Social media became snakepits. Family members and former friends became members of hostile clans.
When the pandemic hit, he scoffed, saying it would go away, like magic.
It didn’t. But a million American lives did, with maybe 200,000 of those deaths preventable.
Still, millions stuck with him, even after his stolen-election claims.
Think of it: The most fully documented liar in our history claimed, without evidence, that the most carefully scrutinized election ever was stolen, and millions believed him.
Failing to reverse the election, he incited a mob that shattered our sacred tradition of peaceful transfer of power. Bad things kept happening.
The International Institute for Democracy added our country to a list of “backsliding democracies.” States began openly working on changes that could let their governments override the will of the voters. The Supreme Court is sinking deeper into partisanship. Democracy requires citizens informed by honest journalism. But too many Americans get their misinformation from sources like Fox News.
And mass shootings keep happening.
Hoping for better days. But I’m still worried.
A different way
Our spiritual community talked about parables on Sunday. We ended up talking a great deal about dandelions and all of their gifts. That’s at least in part because of the debate about the public art approved for the Creative Corridors project (“City OKs $1M for dandelion art,” July 2).
The image of a scattering, seeded dandelion is exactly what it means to be. It stirs up a different way of seeing who we are as a community. What would happen if the celebration of who we are comes through widely scattered feral seeds on the prim lawns of all of our outmoded, often unjust conventions? What would happen if we really took seriously that our future, that the vitality of our civic connections, really is from the deep taproots of those who have been for way too long dug up and tossed aside? The parts of our community carefully removed have so often brought sustenance to our common fabric from the depth of their service, their suffering, their rich stories, their capacity to make possible what seems utterly impossible.
Dandelion roots, by the way, go deep to bring nutrients to the surface: Old stories revealed in truth to nourish new life. Could there be a surprise — evocative and disturbing — in what has often been dug up, sprayed away, policed and policy-ed to death, becoming the very truthful things that make the impossible become possible for Winston-Salem?
Minister, Parkway United
Church of Christ
I’d like to point out that after a winter of dwindling food supplies, our ancient ancestors desperately needed the nutrient-rich spring dandelions, an abundant fresh-food source.
After Business 40 shut down, then COVID shut us down, Winston-Salem could embrace the dandelion art as our symbol of “nutrition, new vigor and fresh growth” for our fair city, after a long “winter” of closures.