Monday, November 02, 2009

Halloween in Berkeley: America at its best

I love politics because there is always so much skulduggery going on. Someone in Washington is always cheating and lying and robbing us poor taxpayers blind. And between all the terrible wars America has gotten itself into lately and our economic meltdown and the 44,000-plus Americans a year who die from lack of decent healthcare and the failure of America to educate its young, there are far too many things that are wrong with this country. I could write a whole book about America's shortcomings -- several books in fact.

But America for once has really gotten something right -- Halloween in Berkeley!

I took my two-year-old granddaughter Mena trick 'r treating this year and guess what? People all up and down the streets of Berkeley were laughing with joy and talking to strangers -- and no one was in danger and everyone was safe.

We stopped by the firehouse, where the firefighters were giving out candy. No one was scared of our police. They were everyone's protectors and neighbors. Yuppies came here from their suburbs over the hill and gangbanger types came up from the urban slums of Oakland and old people poured out of their rest homes in wheelchairs and Mexican-Americans spoke Spanish and little kids were EVERYWHERE -- and all were completely safe. What a night. Everyone smiled. There was an abundance of everything. Everyone here opened their homes and their hearts. It was just like back in the day before the advent of poverty, greed, separatism, military adventurism, hypocrisy, trickle-down theories, rampant homelessness, Wall Street bailouts and talk radio -- back when everyone in America used to care.

Halloween in Berkeley this year reminded me of everything that I love about America. Perhaps it might be a little bit weird to describe Halloween as a time when America is at its best -- but why not.

PS: Here's a video of us in our costumes, just starting out to trick 'r treat. "Ashley! Mena! Wait for me!" And here's another video of us at the haunted house graveyard: