Wednesday, July 10, 2019

The Saga of the Rainbow Bridge

Last month was Pride month. Someone decided it would be a good idea to paint the bridge at Silver Lake in Baldwin. I don't live in Baldwin, but my sister in law does. I'm there a lot and I walk my dog there a lot. To my eye, that's a distinct upgrade. It's also a celebration of a nationally recognized observance.

A lot of people in Baldwin didn't see it the way I did. I won't post social media without permission, but they argued it was graffiti, that graffiti was bad, and that it therefore must be removed.

Not only that, but it was removed, and quite quickly. Within days the town had covered over the offending rainbow and it was no more.

The next look is on the right. It was very quickly painted over. You'd think they'd at least let it last the month, but you'd be wrong. This happened after only a few days.

A lot of people said that yes, sure, it had been a good look, but graffiti is graffiti. It didn't matter what its purpose was. There was a statement, referred to in the photo, from Legislator Debra Mule in the photo. It pretty much said the same, and that if she were to tolerate this painting, she would have to tolerate other less well-meaning statements on public property. I'm not accusing her of bad intent, but I'm not pleased with her position either.

I wondered why they couldn't have just left it up for the month of June at least. Actually, the new neutral look did not last long, and you can see what looks like now.

I have to agree with that caption on the left. Now it really is graffiti. As far as I know, that's how it looks now. Or perhaps there's a renewed urgency. Maybe town officials are jumping up and down to remove that seditious message, "Live, laugh, love." After all, who knows where they'll be living, what they'll be laughing at, or who they'll be loving?

It looks to me like people just got all bent out of shape over that little rainbow and it had to go. I understand we don't want swastikas painted on public bridges, but I hardly see how a symbol of hate can be conflated with one of tolerance.

I find myself really disappointed in the alacrity with which the rainbow bridge went away. It bothered people. They can say all day long that they're just concerned with the graffiti issue, but it's more than that. We're an intolerant country with a bigoted xenophobe ostensibly in charge, and little things mean a lot.

In one respect, it's amazing they couldn't look the other way on a little rainbow bridge. In another, it's no surprise at all, and there's just no painting over that.
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