Quote of the week: ''There are places in the bare rooms of masculinity most men never venture into where we are forever unprotected from the vision of ourselves and there are no simple answers to any of the mysteries. All men must have their secrets.'' Nasbiji, ''The Blood Runs Like a River Through My Dreams''
Some days you just can't help but laugh at the headlines. ''Illinois Power Cited For Quality Tree Care.'' It's getting close to April Fool's Day, this must be a warm-up. Above this headline, another reads ''Galesburg Seeks 'Tree City' Status.'' If anything, it should read ''Galesburg Seeking Half Tree City Status.'' For Galesburg to receive Tree City status, someone would need to be blind.
The Boy Scouts of America join together with right-wing Christian soldiers to blot out masturbation, homosexuality, and sex with animals. I wonder what these folks think goes on at Boy Scout camp? The United Way has taken a bold path in confronting such stupidity. Generally, the United Way has not been this progressive. I suspect they didn't imagine such an uproar. Nonetheless, I love to watch these homophobics squirm. The anointed ones know immorality when they see it. Just ask them.
I get to wondering about death more than usual lately. I suppose when you end up near it, you get a bit more interested and preoccupied. Driving a car makes me particularly aware of how close death can be. Cars rolling at one another at 60-70 miles per hour. It is incredible how available we make ourselves for destruction without hardly giving it a thought. The amount of trust and faith we put in one another is enormous.
The City Council recently breathed life into GREDA (Galesburg Regional Economic Development Association), the newly formed group that will take the place of the Economic Development Council and Galesburg 2000. The supporters, like crime, were everywhere. The County Board held off the inevitable on a technicality. (We like to have the State's Attorney look over any contracts we enter into. He had not seen it.) The amount of back-peddling going on at the meeting could have provided enough energy to fire up Galesburg for a month. With no tangible or reasonable evidence to suggest that the current doers of ''economic development'' have been successful, but plenty of evidence to suggest otherwise, the City Council and County Board are about to hand over $100,000 of the taxpayers' money to get more of the same. This makes the taxpayers the largest contributor to the new organization. Congratulations. You are now the largest investor in the biggest and most prevailing scam in Knox County. The culture of ''economic development'' has tied people into a system that promotes business development by giving away taxpayer dollars to large corporations and to one another. TIF districts, Enterprise Zones, free land, free water, moving expenses. You name it. The taxpayer is called upon to help business help itself, mainly to our money. Our pockets are deep and our intelligence shallow. What a great combination to exploit. We have all joined in to support and perpetuate this culture, which comes closer to theft than it does economic development. We continue to lose population; there are fewer jobs, not more; the jobs are of lesser salary, not more; lesser benefits, not more; there is more unemployment, not less; the deals will lessen the tax base, not raise it. And all the while the taxpayer sits by in some kind of stupefied trance, trying to understand why we pay for all this glorified nonsense. The answer is simple: We are afraid to try anything new. We tell ourselves we are not smart enough, not capable of doing better. We are caught in a culture of tradition, the worst kind of conservatism. It has taken us to where we are today, one of the least progressive, most backward cities in the state, if not the nation. We cannot break out of the hold it has us in, for the life of us.