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Manifesto Hallelujah



My brothers and sisters of the Market,

My brethren of the pavement,

I come before you today to warn you.

To bring the warning of a plague, my friends,

of a deadly threat to our inner-urban lives.

I do not speak of Crime, people.

I do not speak of the homeless.

I do not speak of urban decay.

I do not even speak of the N. C. C.



No, no, my brothers and sisters,

this threat is an invasion,

it is a solid and palpable invasion of our very mentality.



My dear friends,

I speak of the Suburbanite.



Now, don't get me wrong.

The Suburbanite is not merely the product

of geography.

The Suburbanite is a creature of the mind.

The Suburbanite has allowed his isolation,

his spiritual isolation,

to become a way of life,

to become his religion.



The Suburbanite may look harmless.

He may look peaceful.

His R. R. S. Ps may seem like cushions of security.

But mark my words, my brethren -

he will suck the very life from our city.

The Suburbanite does not know

what

a

city

is.

And I tell you to beware of his well-groomed two-car world.



By these signs you shall know him:



He is afraid of Bank Street in full daylight.

He can't find Wellington on a map.

He pays more in taxes than his community uses

and complains when the surplus goes to another part of town.

He drives across town

for 30 cents off Pepsi.

He complains when his tax money is used to fund youth recreation, my brothers,

and his son swarms 15-year-olds in Barrhaven.



He believes that it's socially aware

to talk about the news, about how the politicians

lie and cheat and there's not one you can trust,

and he sits back and says this, eats popcorn and



he



does



nothing



my brethren,

my brothers and sisters of the independent bookstores,

this plague is already upon us,

and I have seen what is to come.



They will build expressways from bedroom community to bedroom community, my friends,

they will demand a Wal-Mart for every 3 square miles.

They will demand lower taxes because they deserve to commute from oversized houses in bloated cars. They will buy gas until the planet chokes.



My friends, our choice is clear.

This scourge will suck the life from us unless we act,

act now,

in conviction and in faith.

Unless we agree that apathy is not contentment,

that complacency is not peace.

We must act now.



I propose we build a wall.

An environmentally friendly wall through the Greenbelt,

a hedge perhaps, maybe cedar.

We reverse municipal amalgamation

(and isn't that an ugly word, amalgamation,

doesn't it just remind you of frogspawn.)

We build a wall, my friends,

a wall not made to keep us in,

but to keep them out.

We build our own urban world in our own urban image,

a new world,

a better world,

where big box stores will be forever banned,

where corner store owners will belly dance down the aisles

and public transit will be cheap and available,

where theatre festivals will line the summer with words

the bankers will know your name

and live 2 floors above you,



and we will all get together and

demand they buy visas

and prove they've ever voted

before they cross the glorious hedge of freedom.



Amen.