onefootintheclay

Creativity and Spirituality with Joel McKerrow

Month: June, 2012

The Heart of Power

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We have spent the last two days wandering the sites of Washington DC- from museums, to the Capitol, to the National Mall, to seeing the Declaration of Independence, to the White house (Jed Bartlett for president!!), to the Library of Congress, to the Kennedy Performing Arts Centre. It has been a very touristy two days. Walking through the grand, awe-inspiring buildings at the centre of power of the US empire I am struck by the contradictions of this nation’s history (and present). Everywhere we turn is another slogan about a nation built upon freedom and equal rights for all and liberty and justice. The rhetorical pillars of this empire. Yet we would then hear or read, often almost as a side-note, of the many slaves who built the Capitol building (and built much of the empire), of the absolute genocide of the indigenous peoples, of a nation built upon war after war after war. All of this justified by slogans such as “the cost of independence and freedom.”

The juxtaposition of the rhetoric of ‘freedom for all’ and the reality that is, is stark. Black and White stark.

Of course I am not saying anything new here and of course America has brought great things to the world. It just stands strong in my mind as we walked this magnificent city. Seeing ‘Occupy’ protestors and police at the Martin Luther King (MLK) Jnr. Memorial, seeing the beauty and hardships of the American Indian peoples at the Museum of the American Indian (Which you MUST go to if you ever get to DC!). Seeing the homeless sleeping under coverings as we walked the city streets past the glamour and glorious magnificence of the buildings. I wonder about freedom and power and war and responsibility. I wonder about the many people who have begged me for money since being in the US (some I have given money to and others I have ignored). I wonder about Australia’s history and our rhetoric. I hear of the NT intervention being extended. I wonder if empire can exist without the domination of one people over another.

I wonder about my own rhetoric and reality and the incongruency that lies within.

As we rode our bikes along the path of the National Mall, down past the Washington memorial, past the Lincoln memorial, past the WW2 memorial all the way down to the MLK memorial I wondered what he would have thought. What Would Martin Luther King Do? WWMLKD?  A quote on his memorial summed it all up for me…Image

We are all tied together in this world. We are one whether we like it or not. May I remember this in all my actions.

May my own rhetoric and reality merge as one.

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Fluoro Shoes

Americans live loud, and no I’m not just talking about their fluorescent orange nikes. I mean they are actually quite loud and speak frequently in public and private, to people they know and people they don’t. Where Australians might give each other knowing looks over the state of a public bathroom Americans can’t refrain from a comment of ‘awe man’ or ‘I know right?’. I’ve never had people comment on my shopping while I’m standing in line before and you know that odd person in a public space having a loud ‘discussion’ about all sorts of personal things? Here they’re just one in millions. And louder coz they have to compete with each other. I’ve been told it’s because so many people are sharing a small space and that the rule is that the few inches around your make for your own private estate and you can do whatever you want in that space and it’s no one else’s business.

I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, just different. We went to a gospel church in Harlem last weekend, it was loud too with their ‘amens’ and ‘can I get a witness’. We then went straight to the catholic cathedral for a tour on signs and symbology. The difference couldn’t have been more stark. While both are beautiful I found myself wondering how many unspoken or unrecognized emotions and devotions have been birthed from our restrained english ways. How many unrecognized opportunities to experience life in a big, bright, loud way? How many clenched jaws iron clad shut by decorum. Can’t say i’m about to have it out with Joel on the street corner but maybe I’ll get some fluoro shoes.

~ Heidi McKerrow ~

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We just put up a bunch of the best NYC photos check them out here- 

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