Thursday, February 12, 2009

Oscar Speaks

Obviously, I had some problems living in Las Vegas or I would not have sought the sanctity of the Ozarks for my new home. I tired of the “urban” experience, the “twenty-four hour” lifestyle, the grinding traffic, and the perpetual hype. Part of ageing is being less able to accommodate the constant subliminal affect of these irritations. Please note that my objections were more a criticism of city life than a specific rejection of Las Vegas.

Since 1950 I have had residence in twenty different states and at various times lived within the Washington, DC, Boston, New Orleans, Denver, Las Vegas, Milwaukee, and Nashville metropolitan areas. In addition, my work has also placed me frequently in Chicago, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Minneapolis-St Paul, Detroit, Kansas City and Atlanta. Each city has much to recommend it but they also share some drawbacks. For all the amenities which they offer, they are all dirty, noisy, crowded places which impose excessive restrictions on their citizens.

I thought enough of Las Vegas to live there twice (as I did Colorado and Missouri) and still have a certain affection for the town. I, like Mayor Oscar Goodman (D), was outraged at the remarks made by “the one” in an appearance in Elkhart, Indiana on the tenth. I found it totally inappropriate to single out any city in America to make a negative political point. We all share the same difficult situations in ways which are peculiar to our own individual life situations. If you live in Las Vegas and make beds for a living or serve food in the endless buffets, the declining tourist numbers are a vital factor in your life. The 14.2% decline in December visitors undoubtedly resulted in layoffs for those who could least afford it. Any sane person knows that cost cutting starts at the base of the power pyramid and not at the top. I didn’t say it made sense; I just said that’s the way it works.

He (BHO) also demonstrated serious ignorance of the city by using it as an example of extravagance and over consumption. Comparing it to the large metropolitan areas with which he has considerable familiarity, he would find better rooms, finer food, more entertainment and better service in Las Vegas than he could possibly hope for in Chicago or Washington, DC. He would also find he was treated, not as an inconvenient intruder, but as a welcome guest. Not incidentally, he would be in a far safer venue. Chicago and DC after all are in constant competition for the title of “Murder Capital of the US.” I believe that Chicago is now in the lead for the “honor.”

Blanket, ill-informed, assertions are rapidly becoming the hallmarks of this new administration in off-the-cuff remarks. The concept of the well-thought magic orator is disappearing faster than quarters into a Las Vegas slot machine.

A close friend who is familiar with my background in travel planning recently expressed a desire to visit Las Vegas with his family. His wife was concerned with the hype about constant sin and the affect it might have on the children. He was naturally worried over the possibility of the high cost. I was delighted to plan a trip (4000 words) with family friendly activities, low cost but very comfortable hotel accommodations, tips on wholesome yet inexpensive dining opportunities and ways to save on transportation. To his surprise, I also worked in some faith-based features to allow him and the family to keep everything in perspective.

It provoked a discussion of where sin resides. Separation from God is in your heart and mind and not identified by a geographical location. If you choose to be separate, you shall be. If you seek him, He is everywhere and available all the time. Sin is as readily available on a hilltop in the Ozarks as it is on the Las Vegas strip or Fremont Street. The only difference is that the struggle to maintain personal equilibrium is better lit there.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

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