Beauty. Artistry. Color. Diversity. Energy. Passion.
Not words usually associated with downtown Salem, Oregon. But yesterday Silverton's Raks Sarama belly dancing troupe, performing at a First Wednesday celebration, showed that this sleepy city has potential to wake up.
In my You Tube video (embedded below) you can hear a conversation between me and a fellow progressive friend, Frances, where I extol the virtues of my Flip Video camera.
Before that, Frances told me that she'd just been extolling the virtues of Lloyd Chapman, who is running for mayor against the incumbent, Janet Taylor. She ran into some Taylor supporters and told them that Chapman was a better choice for Salem.
Amen to that.
I can't vote for Chapman since we live outside of the city limits. But I sure hope he wins, defying the odds against dislodging Taylor from her entrenched position as a defender of unplanned growth, reduced quality of life, and favoritism toward big business over the average citizen.
We recently got back from a Hawaii vacation where shopkeepers asked us innumerable times "So, where are you from?"
I got tired of muttering, "Salem, Oregon…it's pretty boring with not much going on…Portland and Eugene are a lot more interesting." Had to speak the truth, though.
It's sort of hard to put a finger on exactly what it is Salem lacks. Whatever it is, Janet Taylor and her hidebound city council aren't the ones to bring it to town.
Chapman promises to shake Salem up. And god knows, we need it.
Raks Sarama showed me that. It was great to see the sidewalk in front of the Salem Center mall filled with smiling clapping people rather than just a few moribund shuffling shoppers.
At the end of the video I include a dig at Hillary Clinton. Understand, I'm much more of an Obama lover than a Clinton hater. There's a lot to like about her.
However, this country needs to be shaken up even more than Salem does. More of the same won't cut it. That's why I'm for belly dancing in the streets, Lloyd Chapman, and Barack Obama.