Monday, March 19, 2007

The Lights in Memphis

I keep thinking that, one day, Memphis might actually get some positive coverage in national media that doesn't pertain in one way or another to Elvis. But then I remember that Memphis fails at getting positive coverage in the local media.

The New York Times ran an article today about our current Ford scandal with Memphis, Light, Gas, and Water extending $16,000 dollars to Edmund Ford. You can't cut off a Ford's lights here in Memphis. I'd be surprised. Except I'm not. It's Memphis. Moreover, it's people.

This specific scandal is emblematic of a flaw that Memphis possesses in abundance, but a flaw I hardly think is limited to Memphis. The rich use their wealth and influence to protect themselves while ignoring the need around them. This quote from the Times article sums it up.
“I think it is a travesty of the public utility system in the city,” said Ron Johnson, who works with low-income students in the city’s school system. “Memphis is a town in which the poverty rate is high, and you have individuals who could truly benefit from help. And yet you have politicians benefiting on the backs of poor people, and it’s just wrong.”
It's particularly obvious in Memphis because there is so much poverty juxtaposed with ostentatious displays of wealth. One of the first things a visitor sees entering the city from the east is Bellevue Baptist's crosses and their obnoxious billboards -- God alone only knows how much was spent on those that could have gone to ameliorate the vast amounts of suffering in this city. But the poor masses of Memphis won't be able to contribute to Bellevue's capital in way the upper middle class white folk drawn in billboards will be able to. MLGW's President gets more from currying favor from the Ford family than he could by breaking up 16,000 dollars worth of credit among several poor families.

1 comment:

Peterson Toscano said...

Memphis is one of my favorite cities in America. So many wonderful people and things to do. I adore Wild Bills and so much more. I lived there for 5 years and loved it.

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