Angel Note

Angel Note
"If Music be the food of Love, Play on!" -- Wm. Shakespeare, Twelfth Night

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Wearing Stripes

I've been thinking about various types of stripes. Okay, not really, but it sounded alright, and was a decent lead-in. And technically, the inmates I work with don't wear stripes, nor do they see all that much striped sunlight, but you get the idea.
Some new fellows joined our population over the weekend. mostly gang members and lifers. One boasted that he would not be at our prison very long, because he would see to it that he was sent back to maximum security. Others are Latino or White-Supremacists. One has only a small amount of face showing through the tattoos.
This has me thinking that one of the things wrong with our nation exists in the extremes. The amount of our citizenry that actually live at the fringes is so small, but the only way anyone can be heard is by screaming from the furthest boundary. I happen to agree with many of the things that are said, but find that my opinion sometimes resides more toward the center of the discussion.
Liberal, conservative, black, white, rich, or poor, there doesn't seem to be a middle ground anymore. Even economically, the "middle class" is so far above the truly poor, while still do far below the rich, that they seem to exist in their own world. Unfortunately, that world is still run by the rich or powerful who reside at the fringe.
So many people try to be irreligious, not because they don't necessarily believe, but to make a statement that has not been made before. Those who go to extremes with facial or body piercing, or tattooing, are not necessarily sharing in a beautiful art form as much as they are simply trying to shock the "normal people." Gangs used to be about "turf," or "pride." Those things were shocking back then. Long hair was shocking back then. Bare ankles was shocking back then. Now, gangs have to resort to greater and greater acts of thievery or violence in order to crest the summit of what has come before.
Depravity exists in the world. This is a fact. the problem, is that in order to achieve the same results, deeper and more insidious acts of depravity are being perpetrated in order to overcome the background noise of the perversions that have been filling our world with their static.
And the results of all this? the rich get richer, the poor get poorer; the violent prey on the meek; those in power corrupt the innocent. And the chasm that separates the average citizen from those at the far sides of the issue becomes wider and wider as those who are creating the gap push and stretch to widen it further, until finally, we who are in the middle will find ourselves on an ever-shrinking island of normality as the fringe-dwellers merrily sail over the edge of the world, leaving us to fend for ourselves in a world they have stripped of all possibility or advantage. Perhaps if the gap widens enough, they will meet on the flip-side.
What can we do? Who can say? Stay the course, fight the good fight. Get involved. Get educated. I know I, alone, can do little more than brighten my small corner of the island, but, perhaps, together, we may illuminate enough of our world to see the solution. Then maybe those wearing stripes -- whether the prison uniform or the pinstripe variety, will begin to settle down enough to allow us to breathe and take the future into our own hands. Perhaps.

1 comment:

Inklings said...

I used to sub at an alternative high school, and one day between classes there were 5 or 6 boys sitting on a bench talking about why they'd transferred out of the "normal" high school into the alternative one. One kids said, "I got so sick of being in a high school where everyone dressed just the same, you know? I need to dress as an individual," and all the other boys were nodding and agreeing with him, and I tried not to laugh, because they were all wearing baggy jeans with their boxers showing, had the same kinds of piercings and tattos, had black shirts with things like skulls or olde English writing on them, and they all - almost every boy in the school - looked just the same.
And since I also used to work at the jail, I know exactly what you are saying. I know that population well.