A brand new tree.

It’s got to start somewhere.

I thought.

The change has to come. Maybe from a little seed. Maybe from a terrible tragedy. Like gun violence. Like the three mass shootings that we had last week. Like the horrific number of shootings in Chicago. Like the never ending gun violence in my home city. New Orleans.

When I made this picture, I knew what it was about. This is a little bitty baby tree, growing from seeds after a storm.

We’ve had the storm. The storm clouds haven’t broken. The man in charge won’t do anything. I watched his speech. Did you? He looked drugged. He mumbled. He thought one of the shootings took place in Toledo. No, Mr. President. That’s was Dayton. Dayton, Ohio. In a state that you need to carry if you have a hope of being re-elected.

I’m not sure that’s going to happen.

Aside from his hate filled racist rhetoric, he killed my retirement fund yesterday, with his “easy to win trade wars.” The Chinese reacted in the only ways they could. They stopped buying grain and soy beans from American farmers. And, they let the Renminbi (Yuan) drop to a conversion rate that is higher than it was when I used to roam around Asia.

I can afford to travel to China since goods, services and lodging are much cheaper for me. But, after the stock market reacted, my retirement fund tanked. Now I might not have the money to travel.

So.

What to do?

Since our government leaders seem to be stuck in place, it’s up to us. It is always up to us.

Look around the world.

Puerto Rican citizens forced a corrupt leader out of power.

Hong Kong people are striking in every possible way. On Monday, they shut the whole city down. By forcing the MTR (subway) to stop, the Hong International Airport was forced to cancel 200 flights.  My fear is that with the PLA (People’s Liberation Army — Chinese Army) mounting up in Shenzhen, just across the border, they may enter the city. There will be serious bloodshed. I lived in Hong Kong for a long time. Those are my people.

All of that said, maybe it’s time for us to strike. To shut everything down. To force our politicians to act. To act now, because waiting 18 months to vote is too long. People are dying. People are afraid to go shopping, to go school, to go hear a concert, to gather in a crowded place.

One of my jobs in my other career is to predict the future. I think about our local events.

What about Mardi Gras?

What about French Quarter Fest?

What about Jazzfest?

A guy with a gun could kill hundreds before he could be stopped. I’m having second thoughts about making pictures during those events.

Even neighborhood second lines — the thing that is near and dear to me — could be compromised. If a deranged white power dude wanted to take out Black People that would be the place to do it.

The whole thing sucks.

That’s why we have to step up. Somehow. Some way.

Because.

Doing nothing will kill more of us.

A few notes.

I promised that Storyteller would be a politics free zone. It would be a place to talk about art. About photography. About seeing. And, about some technology.

I’ve broken my promise to you. I’m so sorry.

But, if I say nothing I’m as culpable as the people doing us harm. So, you see, I have no other choice. I’ve got to speak. I fear that in the future — I don’t know when — Storyteller may publish pictures of events I don’t really want to photograph. But, my journalistic roots won’t let me ignore the events of change.

I’m sorry about that too.

That was never my intent.

Peace.

 

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