North Carolina News and Views

Clarity can hit you unexpectedly.

The problem we all live with
I am travelling for business and I stopped for the week end to visit some old friends in North Carolina where I used to live years ago.  We decided to go on this splendid Sunday afternoon to visit an exhibit on Norman Rockwell at the North Carolina Museum of Art. A good excuse for a countryside drive.

One of the painting exposed is the famous "The problem we all live with", a reflection on the integration battles.  Norman Rockwell might have been hijacked by conservative America, he might have been accused of all sorts of things but he would have been the first one to tell you that he painted an America the way he would like it to be, an idealized version of what he saw and not the white wonder bread vision that too many are only too willing to label him with.

That very famous painting of Ruby Bridges being escorted by 4 federal marshals to school in New Orleans is in all minds of those who have still an idea of what the fight against segregation was.  But I can assure you of one thing, standing in front of the real thing can make you gasp.  Not only at the obvious message but also at the art.  You need to see it live to truly understand the faint nigger painted on the wall, and the exploded tomato on the floor.  The perfect symbolism of a lost cause no matter what the parents boycotting that school thought that day.

The reality of Ruby Bridges
As I kept walking through the exihibit I could not help but be haunted by Ruby Bridges and coming back to observe the painting again , 4 times as a matter of fact.

These days in Venezuela the sight of Nazional Guards "escorting" someone out of the property has become common.  Whether the property has been robbed or built through hard work does not seem to make a difference: the idea is to stain or destroy that person's reputation.  The idea is to make believe to  "el pueblo" that Chavez is working for them, that he is taking away what is supposedly due to them, what they were exploited for.  That reality more than often falls short of chavista fiction is irrelevant for chavismo, in particular when the workers do not welcome the take over as the Polar case illustrated so well.

No, the reality of Ruby was that the US marshals were escorting her to include her in society;  the Nazional Guard escorting performed in Venezuela is done to divide society, to exclude people, to create a pariah class.  There is a difference, the former is democracy, Marshals and all, the later is totalitarianism, pueblo and all.