One last hello, minions. As I recline here on my ragged couch watching Ernest Saves Christmas on the Hallmark Channel (it’s either this or a Proactive commercial), I can’t help but wonder “What’s this wet stuff seeping from my eyeballs?” Surely, it can’t be tears of sadness? I guess I just can’t believe that three months have already come and gone and, though I did most of the talking here, I feel like we were just getting acquainted. I was just getting used to your anonymous faces. I feel empty, poppets. I guess the only thing to do is look back at these missions and try to figure out if we did any good…and maybe think of something else we can do to help our city in the future.
Sack, In Real Life
I'm not sure if I really understand the format of this week's mission, but here’s a quick synopsis of our past missions and proposed solutions:
1. Education. The city’s cutting funds, teachers, programs (particularly the arts) and overcrowding classrooms. The Solution was to appeal to the community, bring in senior and local volunteers…and appeal to the city for more funding.
2. Employment. Modesto has twice the national unemployment rate and high crime. No solutions were settled on, I wanted to keep local businesses from leaving the country and wait it out.
3. Safety and Personal Empowerment. Modesto’s really cut down on law enforcement and fire department personnel. The solution was to start a citizen bike patrol, neighborhood watch and virtual tip line.
4. Healthcare. Healthcare costs are astronomical and there may not be enough doctors to fill future demand. We wanted to provide healthy school lunches, start community gardens and make the neighborhood safe for walking…and appeal to the city more funding.
5. Housing. Foreclosure rates are way up and home values are way down. Foreclosure hurts the whole community. My solutions were to try and prevent foreclosures by renegotiating loans and counseling home owners and also to help people ousted from their homes into new places.
6. Transportation. I learned (after reading the other heroes’ experiences) that although there seems like a lot of transportation options in Modesto, the buses down come very often and they stop running early. There also no decent bike paths available. I proposed to fix the bike paths and increase the buses. So…another appeal to the city for funding.
7. Leisure. People never go outside and play anymore, they spend their free time online or watching TV. This leads to depression, higher crime rates and a decline in social capital. I decided to reinstate park funding by crunching the budget numbers and I also wanted to start a sort of family campfire program in the parks.
8. Entertainment. This mission dealt with the artistic and entertainment venues available in town. Apparently, amateur art outlets contribute to a good society. I wanted to help by encouraging student murals, radio shows and poetry readings.
Now that I’m more informed on the ills that plague Modesto, it would make sense to pass this information along. I can think of a lot of ways of getting the message out: city meetings, blogging on the Modesto Bee website, radio shows, podcasts, flyers, emails, phone banks, the list goes on…to me the problem is really about getting people to care about the issues.
I think the Building Imagination Alliance should tackle Apathy. Yes apathy. Our biggest enemy is ourselves – we don’t care. We are conscious of the problems, but we aren’t concerned by them. Perhaps it’s the anonymity of our culture; the shielded one-sided interaction of the internet has made all our experiences virtual and, therefore, unreal. Whatever the cause, I know that the ills of the world do not touch me at all. It’s scary being unable to care about something important.
I would encourage younger people to take part in this mission. They have a lot of raging chemicals and hormones bubbling all up in them that I think could be channeled into actual passion. The only way I would change the game would be to open it up to a larger audience.
The only extra tools I can think of wanting would be courage, a heart, a brain and a way home (I get my inspiration from various places)…well, definitely courage and heart. I would come back for season two to offer guidance and answer any questions new heroes may pose.
Ah, well, here’s the point where I imagine the next big mission, here goes…
Oh no! Something terrible has happened in Modesto! A terrible sleeping spell seems to have blanketed its citizens in a walking dream. People move about their daily business only half-awake. All around them, the city crumbles; schools, jobs, personal safety, healthcare, housing, transportation, leisure and entertainment are in turmoil. Don’t they see? Why don’t they care? What can we do to cure our citizens of this outbreak of APATHY?
Oh Noes! It's APATHY ZOMBIES!
LEARN - Educate yourself about the many problems plaguing our city. Why aren't the people of Modesto angry? What's causing this mass APATHY?
ACT - What can you do about it? Use your own self-described super powers to light fires under the asses of our community. What can you do to wake people up?
IMAGINE - Unleash your creativity. Tell us how you were able to spark passion for local issues in your friends and neighbors.
That’s all minions, I’ll miss you.
Sad Sack out!