Ocean Avenue during sunset. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

By CHARLES ANDREWS

LIFE IS A JOURNEY

And for many of us, it is often a beautiful one, blessed with love and friendship, good health, education and artistic opportunities, meaningful work, acknowledgment, money in the bank, travel, warm sunny skies, a car that runs, a roof over our heads and food on the table. Especially if we are “Populus felix in urbe felice” — “Fortunate people in a fortunate city” — the official motto of Santa Monica. (Translations, and pronunciations, vary.)

I can tell you from my travels that anywhere you go in the world, the Number One place the locals would like to visit, and even live, is California. Say the word, when asked where you’re from, and most people’s smiles light up like a switch was thrown. And America is still the land of opportunity and plenty, on a world scale. For all the mess that’s going on, we are still privileged and envied.

When you read that first paragraph, did you start making mental notes of where you felt you were lacking? Not enough love. Missing departed friends and family. Health not perfect. Never finished that degree. Job sucks, not appreciated. Is $100 in the bank a blessing? Does travel to Big Bear count? Your car’s 10 years old. The roof over your head is nothing to brag about. Have to shop Vons and the 99 Cents Only Store, not Whole Foods and Gelson’s, and rarely go out to eat.

Too many times our dissatisfaction over our life is self-inflicted. That’s why I find stopping to count my blessings is the best way out of any self-indulgent funk. Now before I get any more philosophical, and I warn you that’s always a danger, let me say that the point of all this is a great idea a local reader of my column came up with to help others in particular need right now, and I want to help her get the ball rolling, if possible.

GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN

It’s the longest in history, now. If you watch the network news shows you will have seen many examples from real life of how so many people are being personally devastated by this ridiculous, cruel tantrum from “our President.” This is epic. Even beyond the 800,000 federal workers going without pay or a paycheck, there are literally millions more being hurt badly. Vendors, consultants, contractors, and all their employees. Restaurants, gas stations, retail outlets where all those people used to spend their paychecks.

Surely there are Santa Monicans being affected. Nearly 80 percent of American families say they live paycheck to paycheck, meaning missing one paycheck means bills won’t be paid, things like medicine and even food may have to be cut back. Many are one missed rent or mortgage payment away from being homeless. Since we are a wealthier demographic here those numbers probably don’t quite apply, but there must be some who are struggling to get through this nasty nonsense.

Santa Monican Cheryl Drymon, who I can tell you does not live north of Montana, has been worried about our neighbors who may be struggling mightily. She wrote me, “It occurred to me that we the people should be helping our fellow Americans, the government workers. I went online to see if there was any organization that is doing that and couldn’t find one. Maybe we could connect people who want to help with donations, or interim jobs or …?

“IF WE COULD GET IT GOING HERE

It might spread across the U.S. It could be the ‘America IS Great’ campaign. Surely all across our city and America there are businesses and people who, regardless of their political beliefs, would be willing to help their fellow Americans with cash or goods.”

She has reached out to anchor David Muir at ABC News, with its “America Strong” segment. On my advice she has contacted Rev. Janet Gollery McKeithen, amazing minister at our historically socially conscious Church in Ocean Park, and Jerry Rubin, who sure knows how to organize effectively for social causes. I don’t know if either of them have any ideas, but… how about you?

THIS IS TIMELY

These people are hurting now. Let’s show what America is really made of, not the demagogic amorality of a red-hatted racketeer. Even if a deal is reached soon, workers won’t get paid until Jan. 25. For now, you may mail any suggestions for organizing this to me, at my email always at the end of the column. Thank you Cheryl, and all who care. America has always had a big heart, and a heartless President doesn’t change that.

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Really? We’re going to tear down an 18-unit apartment building on Montana? Maybe at this point we have no choice since the owner already Ellis-ed out all the tenants, many longtime residents there, some reportedly elderly, a few years ago. (Where did they go, do you think?) But I have a problem ethically with the City sanctioning all this over the last few years, and no one from SMRR, Rent Control Board, or any other so-called maintain-our-diversity advocates making a sound while the City continues to cry, we are in desperate need of apartment units, we must build, build, build, so many more.

A schoolkids’ garden there? I think it’s a great idea, to let kids learn how food gets to their table. But this is a private enterprise, listed as a non-profit, and the application also calls for regular “meetings” to be held there, large and small. Do I smell a rat?

QUOTES OF THE WEEK: yesterday was Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday — I quoted him last week but you can never OD on wisdom, especially from one of our nation’s most formidable, beloved leaders, dedicated to peace and justice.

“The time is always right to do what is right.”

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

Charles Andrews has lived in Santa Monica for 33 years and wouldn’t live anywhere else in the world. Really. Send love and/or rebuke to him at therealmrmusic@gmail.com

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.