OPINION — There’s nothing quite like standing on the frozen sands of North Beach on a winter’s morning. The frigid waves steadily march from the endless eastern horizon only to crash mere inches from my feet. The crisp air fills my lungs. The whooshing wind whistles in my ears. The ridgeline behind me, full of still-sleeping Racinians, conspires with the roaring lake to encircle me in natural wonder.
There I should be standing completely and utterly humbled in the presence of God’s magnificent creation, but all I feel is two sausage egg and cheese McGriddles sinking to the bottom of my stomach. The awe I should have is replaced with malaise. The reverence I should feel is overcome by indigestion.
This is in no way intended to besmirch the good people at Mcdonald’s. They perform their jobs admirably. There are few things as delectable as a couple spiced-sausage patties between syrupy pancakes when prepared to perfection. That is precisely why I like to eat them on a cold winter’s morning before I go to the beach. However, its savoriness comes with a heavy price. The syrup-soaked sandwiches also soak its consumer in apathy. When all momentary hunger has been sated, the hopes and fears of the world around you fade away. So there I stood, in God’s jaws, with no feeling at all.
I look back at that moment in embarrassment; though I know I am not alone. The success and sales of McDonald’s and its competitors are proof that there is a seemingly endless demand for apathy.
The people of Racine, and America as a whole, have to wrestle with the daily temptation of avoiding the momentous challenges of today. Our society has allowed millions of different ways to indulge in apathy with varying degrees of lethality. It can be found in the drive-thru, the telephone screen, or in a bottle, but the solutions to our myriad challenges remain few and unpleasant.
To be apathetic, one only needs to sit still and soak in society’s narcotics. To overcome our societal challenges, one needs to stand up in the face of the pervasive afflictions that we encounter every day and try to ignore.
To overcome, one needs to awake from slumber and refuse to rest until the challenge has been solved.
One needs to stand up and refuse to sit.
One needs to speak and refuse to be silenced.
One needs to fight and refuse to surrender, until our homes have been healed.
This is why it is necessary for Alderman Henry Perez to be the next mayor of Racine. In his words and actions, he has already taken the first steps towards the true rehabilitation of our community. The current mayor, who claims everything in Racine is “bright” when anyone with eyes, ears, and a heart knows this to be blatantly untrue.
Racinians are being killed. Our schools are failing. Our buildings are crumbling.
It would have been easy for Mr. Perez to allow the entrenched status quo to cause our city to further decay. Yet, he has stood up, spoken out, and is fighting for positive change.
On April 4th, while the lake crashes onto our shores as it has done for millenia, we must take advantage of the great opportunity that is waiting for us in the voting booths: an opportunity for us to wake up and begin to be healed.
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