The Bywater, my old neighborhood in New Orleans, feels like a ghost town. Too many wealthy people bought into the idea of its grand bohemia and chased all the artist away. I'm a professional surfer of gentrifying neighborhoods and this is not a new occurrence. I've seen it happen at the speed of light in New York. When I first moved there, people wore their 212 area code on their sleeves. It was a thing, til Brooklyn became a brand. The aesthetic kings were taking over Williamsburg back in the early 00's and the wealthy were buying it hook line and sinker. The old light bulbs and subway tile and clean lines nodded at the past while embracing modernity but soon became soulless.
It's easy when you study history to see the gentrification of America as a whole. I've just finished watching Ken Burns' "Vietnam. Wow. I had known about it but didn't know anything really. I can't believe the state of things in the year I reared my head on this earth. I was feeling like we were living in the darkest of times before I watched this documentary. It's proof that our government is not always right and how easily it is to fool the people and keep them pacified.
We are so pacified now with information, man caves and our constant conflict from the left and the right. We love war. It is our definition of greatness. It's hard to look on the past and not be ashamed to be a human. I have the utmost respect for all the men and women who went off to war for us, especially the most noble of wars WWII. But lets face it, most wars can be avoided and most conflict is saturated in greed and the need to dominate another. I went to the African American museum a few weeks ago in Washington D.C. As the elevator was descending the dates on the wall were going back. 2018, 1918, 1818, 1718, 1618 and then the doors opened to a small room crowded room. It felt like the bottom of a ship. I cried before I had even seen an image. To think that we looked at other humans as a commodity and that our world leaders traded humans and the practice thrived for centuries is mind blowing. But the most disturbing thing is that the civil rights era didn't begin until the 50's and it was a struggle for desegregation for years. It's numbing to realize that my parents were kids when that was happening. Not that far away.
In order to be great again. Today's kids will need to realize how technology is affecting them and learn the expanse of their resources and grow exponentially. It is my hope that they use this great resource to learn from our mistakes, not just our country but the world. When we learn to love and to accept others that are different than us, when we learn to share and love the land, when there is no war, there will be greatness.