by Judy Davis
I recently visited my daughter who lives in La Crosse, WI. When we went for a walk downtown, she took the opportunity to show me the now finished mural designed and painted by one of our favorite local artists, Landon Sheely. Titled “Helping Hands”, she and I had been excited when Landon received the commission from the city, and watched as yellow scaffolding was put in place and the he sketched the figures onto the building wall.
Seeing it now, I am reminded of the morning 3 years ago when my daughter moved into her newly purchased first home. She was inside unpacking boxes and generally pushing things around, while I made myself busy outside in her overgrown yard. I had just started the lawn mower trying to beat the impending rain when her new neighbor walked over to introduce himself. Afraid that I would be unable to restart the mower if I shut it down to talk, “Lester” and I smiled and shouted over the noise. He told me that he was Norwegian, raised in a farming community not far from La Crosse, and that there was always plenty of work to do and that everyone helped everyone else out whenever there was a need. Then, as I began my mowing, Lester started his mower and began cutting from the opposite side of the yard. The two of us crisscrossed back and forth until the last pass, when he slipped back to his garage to avoid the rain that had just begun to fall.
Zoom out now to the many serious problems confronting out society: I do not understand how progressive policy proposals constitute the “radical socialist agenda” liberals and centrists are accused of supporting. In his excellent book Arguing with Zombies, Paul Krugman details the many ways Republicans have slandered the social-democratic ideas of Democrats and asks if it is not time “to turn the ‘socialist’ smear into a badge of honor”. Perhaps if we just considered everyone as our neighbors…¯\_(ツ)_/¯