Saturday, March 21, 2015


Temecula, CA – One thing bothered me after I defended my fellow neighbors' image in my column over the immigrant kid busing notoriety. Granted, it was and is a complex issue, especially given the reasons for a mass migration of youth, and poor youth at that. When animals stampede through a woods, you can bet a fire is coming.
Equally as complex are the reasons for the backlash generated, as my hip scene friends, the ones who are liberal, joined in with the national cry claiming local racism. On the other hand, ratings showed how my conservative, but not redneck friends, felt; the issue wasn't about race just as I had surmised. Still I had that 'splinter in the mind' feeling, until very recently. If the root reason for the border rub wasn't/isn't about race, what was it about?
An old memory came to mind from the Christian Church I was brought up in. It was the church of my grandparents, my parents generation, and where I went to service until I moved away [Memoirs, Chapter 2]. the church still stands there today though it is God's Will it hasn't been made a some commercial property, that plus the ghost of Abby Fife. But I digress.
I was probably 7 or 8 and as a kid sitting on hard wood pews, you tend to look around and notice stuff. You also tend to notice when something changes quicker than an adult, hence 'out of the mouths of babes'.
Though Plymouth [the name of the old line church] never had a packed house except on the national Christian Days of Easter and Christmas, even then the balcony never got used unless someone deliberately went there for a better view. So I was surprised one Sunday to see a lone woman sitting there for the service. The next Sunday and the old after that,she was back again. Same Bat time, same Bat channel, same Bat seat.
By the third Sunday I had reckoned even as a kid, that she hadn't made a mistake or come in out of the cold or wasn't just visiting, this lady truly liked coming out every Sunday and coming over to our church. I was surprised because we didn't get many people in from the surrounding neighborhood. How did I, a kid, know she was from the surrounding neighborhood?
Because of her dress. Bart Simpson is correct when he calls church 'dress-up, no recess' school. This lady wasn't dressed in her finest coat like the rest of us were. I realized that this was her finest. None of the members who went to my church lived close to it and could walk to church. I used to wonder how come churches weren't close to where you lived like the grocery. Anyway, I knew the area around the church was rundown, poor, but the people in the church weren't rich, just middle class, like I saw on TV, only Negroes.
I fidgeted on the pew. I thought it was cool that someone from the area had started to come to our church. She didn't have to get up nearly as early as I did. I wondered how much longer I could sleep if I lived where she lived. It must be great, I thought. Maybe I could get to meet her, so I waited for the ushers to bring her down into the main auditorium.
I waited that Sunday and the next. Then I waited the next and the next. It doesn't take much for a kid to make a game of, and so that became my Sunday game. Would this Sunday be the Sunday the ushers would go up in the balcony and bring the woman down to say, 'Welcome'. Lord knew we could use any new members and so he sent us one, was the way I looked at it.
I had checked the angle of view from where the ushers were to where the woman sat and they couldn't see her. Perhaps there weren't that many kids like me who looked around in church or maybe the adults sitting in the pews just hadn't noticed her. However after a month I wondered why someone in the choir hadn't said something or even the minister.
After three months, I developed an attitude and complained about ruining my Sunday mornings with dressing up and going out in the elements [I didn't grow up in Southern California]. It was crap, though I didn't use that word being more like Calvin in this cartoon. I then told my mother the reason for my case, 'the woman in the balcony'.
My mother being the wiser told me of the 'don't shoot the messenger, it's the message' angle of church and I conceded a valid point.
So you see it wasn't racism in the case of Plymouth, it was the belief that somehow a person's 'poorness' might rub off. The woman at Plymouth wasn't homeless; she didn't smell bad; she wasn't dirty, and she wasn't a different race or a harlot to be shunned. She even came in the door seeking the gospel. I conceded a valid point but I never forgot the lesson.
Also up at Occupy LA, a camp of poor people protesters, there was never an instance when someone official, as in the Mayor or a city councilman, come over to look at the camp, or directly interact with the people in the camp. It wasn't like we were across town either. The feeling of being a village outside a fort wasn't just from the aura of the occupiers. The entitlement of the government to declare anything off limits to the public when everything the government gets is based off the taxpayers' dime is plutocratic.
So who died for them to make us all serfs?
It started with a bang for Abraham, Martin, John, and Bobby.
Alcohol prohibition stopped all automotive fuel research into a clean burning public source.

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