Our Ride has taken us 620 miles. If the pandemic hadn’t kept us home, we’d be in Salmon, Idaho.
Instead of the mountains, we biked Manhattan’s backbone, Broadway, 13 miles end to end. We’ll show you a very few of the highlights of what we saw.
We started just across the Broadway Bridge, at West 225th Street in The Bronx.
In Central Park, en route to the Broadway Bridge, we passed a Morse statue. We’d biked by it many times without noticing.
Morse was a successful portrait painter. He invented the single-wire telegraph that transformed the world. He donated generously to charities.
And he was a bigot. He led movements against immigrants and Catholics. He wrote a treatise defending slavery.
Morse was a complex mix of good and evil. As is everyone. Every “villain”. Every “hero”.
Rabbi A. J. Heschel wrote, “Few are guilty, but all are responsible.”
Maybe part of responsibility is ending the erection of statues—clay-footed idols—altogether.
In any event, symbols matter. And bandwidth is limited.
Confederate symbols, like Nazi and Stalinist symbols, are too evil to be tolerated.
But maybe—with some of the bandwidth spent on deciding the fate of, say, Columbus statues—we should help our neighbors.
The hungry need food. The sick need care. The homeless need shelter. Abused Americans need justice and respect. And the persecuted from abroad need their pleas for refuge to be heard, a hearing that the White House, in our names and in defiance of our laws, denies them.
When calm talk invites attack, it takes a Broadway-size backbone and the reach of the telegraph (or of an Internet following) to change the subject to what matters most. We—a puppet and a person—have no such a backbone nor reach.
To promote meaningful change—to protect the most vulnerable, the people without a country, without a voice—this puppet and this person need organized, talented, ethical, effective help.