The Newtown Pentacle

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Archive for September 14th, 2012

ghastly marble

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

For so long, western Queens has been regarded as the vestibule of Long Island- a convenient place to stamp out boots caked with mud or to leave a wet umbrella. It has been a place one passes through, while on the way to somewhere else. The elites of a certain Shining City lying to the west have formulated a different role for the place in recent years, but there’s no denying that they still regard it as a corridor.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Those of us who live here see a different place, idiosyncratic and oddly charming, populated by aspirants, immigrants, and often- bad actors. We exist between the factories and rail yards, along the highways and elevated subways, in pretty as you please two and three story homes. “Mind your own business” is the motto, as is “trouble will come anyway, so why seek it out on purpose?”. Most just want to be left alone to BBQ or smoke black market cigarettes.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Municipal involvement, other than by a dedicated cadre of operatives and opportunists, is slim. Ask any resident of Astoria what reward there is in voting, and you’ll be told that it’s jury duty. All of the time I spend in Brooklyn on creek business strikes a stunning counterpoint to the scene in Queens. In Greenpoint, they may not vote at higher numbers than on the Queens side of the Newtown Creek, but they can summon up a torch bearing mob with stunning rapidity over there.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

For many years, I’ve wondered “what if election day was a national holiday?”. A national “get off of work day”, which would be vetted by a receipt handed out at the polling place and presented to your employer. It wouldn’t indicate who you cast a ballot for, instead merely stating that you voted. The biggest problem we have is low voter participation. It allows marginal groups who vote in blocs great power, sidelines the mainstream, and allows elites to develop amongst elected officials who cater to tiny slices of the population. Perhaps a tax credit instead, knock a hundred bucks off your federal taxes in return for participating in the American form of Government.

Written by Mitch Waxman

September 14, 2012 at 1:01 am

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