The economic ideologies of capitalism and socialism and communism all have their confusing detractors and proponents, claiming THIS ideology has claimed millions of lives and THAT ideology has made us slaves and blah blah blah
And anyone saying that the important thing is just "to do what's right" is also fraught with sketchiness, because what is "the right thing?", who's to say "what is right"? and there's just no dang person you can trust; any argument has no meaning at all
It's all an attempt to obfuscate matters from the REAL GOAL Americans should be considering in pursuit of a better life.
And what would THAT be?
To imitate Europeans when it comes to social welfare and values
What does that mean?
Well, we'll see.
For as long as I have lived in my American city, my greatest dream was that it should one day come to resemble a European one.
That there would be blocks full of cafes with people sitting in them, talking and expressing opinions over diminutive, unpretentious cups of coffee (and alcoholic beverages too, those are sold in European cafes, not American ones of course). And none of this American tendency to offer gobs of gawdy, inferior options to distract from the fact that Americans just can't make a decent cup of coffee. The quality that is evident in a simple, well-made cup of coffee, and it's lack of necessity towards becoming a myriad of inferior frappucinos and pour over's and whatever the hell else have you
Lots of little shops and activities, random corner produce markets, random corner grocery stores ( that sold higher quality processed foods, and not GMO and trans fatty acid laced products); reliable and safe public transportation that can get you almost anywhere without having to walk fifty miles between stops and that isn't a "joke" and reserved for mostly poor people; "free" healthcare for all citizens, paid for by taxes; better education and an emphasis on learning and greater respect for teachers; free college education for meritorious students, and destigmatization of vocational schools and apprenticeships for occupations like plumbers and electricians; someone to fucking clean up the garbage that everyone litters, and armies of public receptacles for all recyclables, not just glass and aluminum cans, but including things not as common like styrofoam and tetrabrik ( and for picking up compost too, done in many cities).
The streets would be lined with bike paths adjacent to the plentiful sidewalks. Bikes would be encouraged and would be a legitimate way of getting to a substantial destination, like a grocery store, a school, or your job.
No pretenses to Empire and a distinctive slash to the military budget ( there is always money for fending off our essentially non-existent "enemies" but never for the public welfare). European nations obviously have a history of colonization and pretenses to Empire, but not at the moment, no they don't.
Wow! and that people would dress better.
See? When you're out at a cafe, or safely walking the streets to your local grocery store, or taking the safe bus because it will get you to where you want to go, you're going to be seen. Instead of it being a stigma to take the bus, I wish it would be a comfortable, safe, fashionable experience
Not going out in pajamas, or bland neutral beiges with anonymous blue jeans all the time
I have always wondered how high fashion shops survive in this country, because most people really don't give a crap how they look ( unless they live in new york city).
No wonder the clothing stores are stocked with the blandest of clothes, with only a minuscule smattering of something stylish for the small percentage of people who would be naturally inclined to give a crap
The next major question people should be asking themselves is "How close is Cleveland coming to this?"
NOT how close is it to becoming the "next Brooklyn", or the "next Austin", or Portland,Oregano (HAHA) but how close is it to becoming EUROPEAN...
There are lots or restaurants and stuff. There are more coffeeshops, but they're such complicated, overpriced affairs that they will only induce any influence when there a gazillion of them, and it's not so much about their billions offerings but about their importance as places to gather causally with your friends to discuss important matters ( I once had a roommate who insulted me by saying that I thought having more restaurants in a city was a way to save the city; this bougie asshole who had grown up with a maid in new york city was just projecting of course)
Bike paths are making an appearance, but they're not very effective, and sometimes, they're just a picture of a bicycle painted in a car lane. YEAH OKAY There is also this annoying admonition to ride in the streets and not on the sidewalk, and i will duly continue utilizing sidewalks until the entire city is strewn with bike paths that no one ever uses, because it is too fucking dangerous to ride in the street. Okay? That is fucking dangerous, and I think it's stupid to try to pit a human body on a metal frame with wheels against a many-tonned monstrosity going at a greater velocity and with more force; it's just dumb. (hey, this city is about waste, right? waste street space with bike paths people are not used to using. i'm surprised it hasn't happened sooner.) I mean there should be fucking bike paths EVERYWHERE, just like the sidewalks that hardly anyone uses
The bike paths in Europe are not pictures of bicycles painted on car lanes; they are actual mini lanes a safe distance AWAY from eh main thoroughfare
Yeah, they made a new rapid station in little italy, and some cool cats take the bus to work (and the poor people who have always taken the bus to work or wherever ), but that's a trend that will just have to keep slowly, yet inexorably moving through the mud. Cars reign supreme in this country, but there are also apparently lots and lots of lots and lots of just unused cars for as far as the mile can see; nobody is buying them
well, they got rid of the major thrift store in our neighborhood, and you know, europeans aren't big on thrift stores ( I think most foreigners aren't big on it) - they're big on nice new clothes they wear for a long time. or they used to be. thrift stores want to be department stores, and there's the savers in fricking Fairview Park, which kinda seems like a wealthier area ( the trifecta of frugality: Aldi's, Marc's, and Saver's.)
Speaking of Aldi's that's European too. In Slovenia and Austria, it's known as "Hoffer", and it's exactly like the ones here with some dissimilarity in the products they offer.
(But for America, I think we should keep thrift stores and cheap stores, because they wanna get rid of the Family Dollar now in my neighborhood and that's just the last bell toll for the lower income people here)
People are starting to live downtown, in the city, which is where they should be,, which is what that place is for, and they should stop taking up all the space in the surrounding environs; leave that to the animals, and the farmers, GOD DAMN (the Amish, you know?)
Yeah, they started picking up recycling some years ago. They've been doing this in Europe FOR YEARS now, and they even collect things like tetra brik and styrofoam, (they'll even collect your compost in some cities). But here, in this third world country, they only collect the basics. (Maybe in another fifteen years they will diversify the recycling). And once in a while, as you traverse these city streets, you see a container for recyclables ( again, another sign of the lack of pedestrian traffic).
They don't clean up the trash though, and the city is a major pigstye, representative of an attitude of not caring, yes, nobody cares: NOT european
The bad aspect about all this are the people screaming "gentrification!"
Well, that's the country we live in
Everything has to be so complicated. Instead of just having a plain old little corner coffeeshop, it has to be this mega affair with coffees from fifty different countries and fifty different ways of brewing it. It has to be fancy fancy fancy
Do the property values go up in neighborhoods where the shops are not fancy?
Our country is a reflection of our values - profit over people ( yep, capitalism), people are expendable ( I mean, look where they want us to ride our bikes!!!), people are just objects, make everything obsolete, nothing is sacred, and milk the people for all they're worth, and as you're doing it, have them live in neighborhoods that resemble pens in factory farms; just big enough to move around in, just enough to provide the bare minimum, but not enough to enjoy life in.
Reflected in our food, in our clothes, in our neighborhoods, in our public transportation, our reliance on cars, and our horrible lack of genuine, spontaneous social interaction.
( And by the way, i am a FREQUENT customer of local coffee establishments, and very much enjoy them,so i wish them no ill will and only the best, but I am hoping one day for the unassuming corner coffee shop to make an appearance, run by an old codger who serves you one kind of coffee and you better like it)
Aida Moray lives in a daily existential crisis where she cannot decide if she should leave this country forever or go back to Europe so as to not abandon her parents.