The Doctor Is In

in Poetry

Dr. Wes

The Last Demonstration Zone

The Last Demonstration Zone
by Copyright Dr. Wes Browning

Welcome to the Last Demonstration Zone,
Step right up, take your megaphone, set permanently on mute

The American Protest Theme Park greets you,
bring your quaint belief in what’s true, they take it for cute

Remember, don’t mention Mickey Mouse.
You’ll get thrown out of the house, you’ll pay a fine

Anyone in America can speak out.
Take a number, don’t shout, wait in line

Welcome to the Last Free Speech hole in the ground.
You may now speak freely to whoever’s around, nobody cares here.

Step behind the rope, dope, nobody cares here.

Is anyone besides me aware that all inauguration ceremonies are propaganda? And that propaganda is government speech? And that therefore if Pennsylvania Ave. is a designated Demonstration Free Zone, then there can’t be an inauguration there either? Is it just me who thinks Demonstration Zones are the worst things that have happened to this country since slaves? What next? Talking Zones?

Thinking Zones?

They can’t even hide behind state’s rights on this. We’re talking about the District of Columbia, where all the law is Congressional law. That bit about "Congress shall make no law... abridging the freedom of speech" has full force in D. C.

Meanwhile our own mayor Schell wants to define Tent City as a political act, apparently because in the past he’s had some success forcing political acts to go away. In connection with the trials of Tent City a word has cropped up often: transient.

transient adj. 1. not lasting, enduring, or permanent; transitory 2. lasting only a short time; existing briefly; temporary -- n. a person or thing that is transient.

Mayor Schell would clearly like to see to it that Tent City is transient. But more importantly, there is the notion that the people who make up Tent City are not deserving of Seattle’s concern, because they are transient, they are not natives.

I have heard the following statistic quoted: half of all Seattle’s homeless are not from here.

I’ve got news for you all: as of the last twenty years at least, anyone who is from Seattle isn’t a normal Seattleite.

I don’t have to go back to the pioneer days to establish the fact, but I will, just because I can’t resist mentioning that Chief Noah Seattle was born on Kitsap. Or that Denny came from Indiana, or that Doc Maynard came all the way from Vermont.

Do I have to tell anyone that John W. Nordstrom was born in Sweden? That William Boeing grew up in Detroit and didn’t move to this city until he was thirty?

I don’t have to go back that far. I can look at... I don’t know, let’s see now... the Mayor! Paul Schell, born in Fort Dodge, Iowa? So Schell once really did get out of Dodge?

City Council-person Margaret Pageler was born in CHINA for crying out loud. Jim Compton came here by way of Portland Oregon. Jan Drago and Heidi Wills are from another planet.

The Stranger was born in Chicago. More than nine-tenth’s of the Burke Museum was born in British Columbia or the Great Plains. The Pike Place Market got its start in Morocco. The Space Needle was shipped here in a box from the set of the Jetsons.

Surveys have been done that have shown that considerably more than fifty percent of us aren’t from here.

Does that make the majority of Seattle transient? Sounds fair to me.

© Dr. Wes Browning:

2129 Second Ave., Seattle, WA 98121 (206) 441-3247

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The Great Speckled Bird Columns on Homelessness