If You Like It So Much You Ought To Try It Some Time

            “Recognizing his commitment to the city [of Newark], the Licking County Chamber of Commerce presented [Jerry] McClain with the 2014 John Alford Community Service Award during the 58th Annual Groundhog Breakfast.” (Jerry McClain honored with John Alford Community Service Award 1-31-14, Emily Maddern, The Newark Advocate).


            That same day the online Advocate, which featured various Groundhog Breakfast articles, included a USA Today editorial entitled “50th anniversaries shame today’s leaders”. It is a look back (sigh) as well as a look at today (yikes). Comparisons are made, differences of process, then and now, delineated. “Those were clearly different times. The political leaders were products of the Great Depression and World War II.” No mention is made in the article of our incredibly shrinking world and the influence that global economics and interconnectivity, globalism, has on today’s politics. Students of America’s involvement with Viet Nam will recognize that it itself was a continuation of what had been the French war over its Asian colony, recently regained after losing it to the Japanese. Within these post WWII years, Britain had lost its prime money making colony, India. Again, the French anticipated our “Viet Nam” with the loss of their immediate neighboring colony, Algeria, during the Eisenhower years. 50 years ago saw the end of colonialism, an economic system that made those “clearly different times.”  


Emily Maddern begins her report by writing “If there is anyone who has a passion for the city of Newark, it’s Jerry McClain.” Analysis could not find Mr. McClain’s place of residence within the city limits of Newark. Many folks have a passion for sports, hobbies or creative art projects. Could “the city of Newark” be something like that? In reading contemporary accounts of colonialism from fifty plus years ago, by the likes of thinkers such as Franz Fanon or Albert Memmi, people who lived within their native countries as the colonized, one is struck by the description of the  indignation of colonized people with having celebrations, monuments, buildings and streets named in honor of British, French, Dutch, etc. “leaders” who had a passion, commitment and involvement in the native regions without the “leaders” themselves being native or residing there (Spike Lee’s “Do The Right Thing” begins to express some of this sense of outrage and  indignation). These “leaders” eventually returned to their private estates in the mother country while receiving recognition for their dedicated colonizing service. America’s ideological policy, then as now, was to press for and promote democracy. In a democracy, local government is run by the folks who live there and by the citizens who are its everyday residents. Maddern ends her coverage by quoting McClain as saying ““Newark is a great place, it’s a special place to raise a family…”” But not mine.


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