Friday, September 03, 2004

End Notes From NYC

I witnessed my second protest yesterday as I strolled past Union Square Park on my way to get a bite and a drink. I was struck by the number of people present, as the thousands of protesters packed tightly in the Park amidst a smattering of signs, banners and placards, began to overflow down the front steps and onto 14th Street. Despite the curiosity presented by the densely localized sea of humanity, I was even more astounded by the number of police present.

In a ratio that must be the envy of every commander in Iraq, there seemed to be one police officer for every two protestors. Down the many side streets surrounding the park were lines of police officers, some with riot gear accoutrement like helmets and shields, and all with bundles of white plastic handcuffs hanging from their belts. As if this wasn't enough, there were also police officers in every manner of vehicle (cars, motorcycles and mopeds) in a land based flotilla surrounding the demonstration. Although no confrontations occurred that night, I was left with the impression that these NYC insurgents are worthy of more attention than those in Baghdad.

But today I wake to find that these spectacles have begun their march ever backward into the recesses of memory. Gone are the Blackhawk helicopters, the invisible fighter jets circling the skies like birds of prey, gone is the armada of Coast Guard vessels dutifully circumnavigating my island home. Police and protestor alike retreating from the front lines to clash another day.

Gone too are the invading swarms of Republican delegates who defiantly marched down this City's streets with a subtle smugness and conceit, as if their mere presence was simultaneously iconoclastic and redemptive. Like missionaries they descended upon this decadent Gommorah, this symbol of Blue State indulgence, this "Kerry Country," in order to cleanse its many sins.

And can you blame them? Under decades of mostly liberal stewardship, look what has become of New York City. This experiment in tolerance and multiculturalism has left vulnerable the prime real estate of the West Village to be seized by the homosexual community who, in between plotting to tear asunder marriages across this nation, have managed to transform it into a safe and beautiful neighborhood, vibrant in culture and rich in aesthetic appeal. This wayward path can be corrected though.

So too have neighborhoods been captured by foreign interests, the Chinese, the Italians, the Poles, the Koreans, the Hasidim, the Indians, the Russians, Latinos, African Americans, and many more. The municipality that serves as the home of the United Nations seems to have a niche carved out for every member state. And what has this cosmopolitanism given us, other than a cultural richness unsurpassed in the world, with cuisine, art and literature from every corner of the globe free to mingle and cross-pollinate. But the power of the Christian right can make this City whole again.

Besides, what has tolerance, openness and liberal attitudes done for the City other than overrun it with the "other"? Technically speaking, I suppose, these attitudes have attracted the best and brightest from around the world. This human capital has propelled New York into the position of being the undisputed financial heart of the nation, as well as the international community.

Yet this business Mecca is also, perhaps paradoxically, the epicenter of culture, media, art and the liberal entertainment industry. Every manner of artist has converged on this great laboratory of ideas to generate the cultural products that, while they corrupt our society, emigrate to foreign shores acting as our most capable ambassadors. Even if our policies are unpopular, our music and movies never falter, despite their inherent moral backwardness. We are the creative engine that drives the spector of Hollywood. Under all this godless liberalism New York City has become the World's capital.

But don't worry New York City. You too can be saved.

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