Summer Camp

July 2013 is winding down, but summer camp is still in session. Detroit officially declared bankruptcy, the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history thus far, and there has been significantly more media attention on Britain’s royal baby, Boy George, and on Carlos Danger, aka Anthony Weiner. The hype over the royal baby has been almost comical, as it has no bearing on anything in the near future. As for tragi-comedy….the over exposure  of Anthony Weiner (yes, that’s right) is beyond absurd. Have we had enough of this camp?

There is so little discussion of issues of importance, whether they relate to the future of Detroit and other cities, or the other candidates in the New York City races (besides Spitzer and Weiner and their overly public so-called private lives). How many people know about the political experiences and stances of the other candidates? Municipal government has become increasingly more important as urban population growth continues to rise. While the decline of Detroit has been known for some time, the actual effects on public services and foreclosed buildings, among other issues plaguing the city, have recently been illuminated in light of the declaration of bankruptcy. These are important matters for all of us– for Detroit and for metropolitan areas across the country.

Unbridled ambition, tangled sexcapades, attempted redemption….this is the stuff of the arts, not politics. That doesn’t mean that we ignore ridiculous behavior of politicians or other potential leaders. We know the stories and the arguments. We’ve lived through this too many times in real life, much less in literature, theater, opera, symphonies, ballets, poetry, art…. The most unsavory part of these stories isn’t the sins that were committed or mistakes made, but the attention seeking that keeps the rest of us from getting beyond the drama (or cartoon) that has become what we refer to as news.

This summer camp has not been a refuge from school and parents. This sort of camp has been great for comedians, and I’ve enjoyed the late night fodder. If only it were just the stuff of the arts or entertainment. It’s been over the top, at the expense of seriously considering policies and actions that could actually improve lives. There are endeavors that we can take in our communities that elevate us, and that contribute to positive discourse and impact others in positive ways. Everyday actions that inspire and support deserve more attention than the distractions from important matters and those who seek the attention of gawkers. After summer camp, it’s back to school.

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