In feng shui, as in Chinese medicine, CHI is the term for the universal energy, or the energy that permeates everything around us.-
On a recent trip back to my home of Chicago, I was surprised to see the increasing divide between the haves and the have nots. Gentrification has completely taken over the my old neighborhood, courtesy in part to zoning and the 2007 smoking ban in bars and restaurants. Many of the old bohemian hangouts that I used to patronize have been replaced by upscale restaurants and above my pay scale boutiques.
Contrast that with the West (and South) side, where there are flashing blue light police cameras on every corner that would make Orwell shiver in his grave if he were to become conscious once again.
There are no fancy diners with shiny, happy people on this side of town, just neglect and an unacceptable crime rate, largely due to a rather large un-employment rate that continues to eviscerate the hopes and dreams of many African American young men. Add to that a bit of anecdotal evidence from an old neighbor who pointed out that the mayor has "re-organized" much of the police force to such an extent that many patrols have been shifted away from many of the city's most dangerous neighborhoods to the city's newly gentrified neighborhoods on the near North and NW sides. Instead of taking police away from one neighborhood to cover another, why doesn't the mayor just hire more police? I'm assuming that it may have a little something to do with budgetary shortfalls. OK, so the city may not have enough money to deal with what is a serious issue, so can't they just borrow some money form the feds in order to make the streets of Chicago a bit safer? Apparently, that is "not in the realm of political possibility".
..enter the purpose and point of this post..
In a time when many Americans are either un/underemployed &/or fed up with a centralized government that has become intent on micromanaging every aspect of our lives, it never ceases to amaze me how much money our federal government continues to allocate to anti-smoking
OK, so the unemployment rate is unacceptably high in some communities and in others many are under-employed and times are hard, but our elected officials are doing all that they can to help their (largely) proletariat constituency, right? Well, at least the feds are helping some people in their quest to attain long-term (and stable) employment....
Oh, crime, schime...not to fear, for the Youth Brigade is here to clean up the streets of Chicago once and for all. There will be no more gun shots, no more blight, and shiny new restaurants (with patios for the healthy) on every street corner, all courtesy of your tax dollars and the CDC:
Who the hell am I talking about anyway?
DON’T YOU KNOW IT’S TIME TO BE TOBACCO-FREE?
Every student in Chicago deserves to grow up in a tobacco-free city.CHIDONT is an awareness campaign about tobacco-free environments, created to empower the youth and the city of Chicago to know they deserve to live in a healthy, tobacco-free space.
This website is where the youth of Chicago share their stories and make their voices heard. Here you’ll see other students just like you talking about why they live tobacco-free.
Share your story now:
Use #CHIDONT to share why having tobacco-free environments is important to you.
Made possible with funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A tobacco free city. Now, that's a tall order if I've ever heard one. I wonder if they could eliminate the murder problem first. That sure would be nice, for then they could serve as a template for other cities nationwide. Think about it: a night out on the town at your favorite BYOB (I'm cheap) restaurant on the WEST side of Chicago could finally be within the realm of possibilities! Wouldn't that be awesome? I'm certain that the good folks at CHIDONT would agree that it would be nice to go for a stroll (because walking is healthy) down Chicago Ave. on the west side, wine bottle in hand? Wouldn't it be nice to see small, independent businesses flourish in an area that has been neglected for far too long? Maybe they'll change their priorities after being enlightened.....
OK, so this is not really about a bunch of high-school aged kids going around campaigning for the eradication of the smoker. It's not even about preventing kids from smoking. It's about a bunch of over-paid bureaucrats with a penchant for hunting down an over-taxed and overly harassed demographic. Put simply, this is about chasing "those people" out of parks that do not fit the definition of "clean cut" and "healthy". Gutter punks, homeless, artists, and "counter-culture (err..me)" folks take note:
..not a smoke-free workplace or even a smoke-free anything....a tobacco-free city is what this government-funded campaign is all about. Good thing that they have all of those Orwellian cameras everywhere, for they can be used to extract more money-via citations and harassment- from those who already don't have enough of it...and from people largely unable to fight back. Genius!
..and they don't merely (they're so humble, these bureaucrats) want the bars, the restaurants, the smoke shops, the universities, or "public" housing, no.....they want it all!
...Because only shiny, happy, and presumably "healthy" people pay for the parks. It belongs to them and to them only, got that?
Once they succeed at pushing all smokers (young and old alike) out of the parks that have been paid for by everyone (and often via regressive tobacco taxation), surely the belly of the insatiable beast will be filled and content?
Nope, not when there's job security via the demonization of an entire demographic:
When I switched over to vaping tobacco pods last September, I thought that I had finally escaped the wrath of my oppressors. Fat chance. Contrary to whomever devised this silly ad, I DO know what's in my vaporizer: tobacco and food-grade humectants, and sometimes just tobacco. Oh, but nevernind on that, because they probably don't even know what a tobacco vaporizer is, and everyone knows what's in an e-cigarette this point, don't they?
Oh, I really like this next advert..It's quite the catchy slogan that's needed to demonstrate the tolerance of the Neo-Reefer Madness movement of the 21st century, don't ya think? I wonder what ad company they hired to come up with all of this clever branding..? It must have been expensive, for true creativity doesn't come cheap:
Somehow I find it hard to believe that a bunch of high school kids are hunched around trying to devise ways to harass baseball players. In fact, I would venture to guess that most kids that age don't even think or talk about smokeless tobacco, let alone their worrying about some 30 year old dude chewing on it in some dugout somewhere. It doesn't even register on their radar, does it?
...because it's their (the special interests and your govt) dugout, ok? Everything belongs to them. You don't count, so get over it. They rule now.
Kinda sounds like communism, or maybe it's crony capitalism gone amok...
Whatever it is, it ain't "Chi".
My definition of Chi is that life-in times of peace-it is an organic amalgamation of seeds that grow to suit the different needs and means of a people that are as varied as the broad American landscape. In other words, the term "different strokes for different folk's" isn't some tired and old euphemism that should be relegated to the dusty past in favor of some new slogan that purports to change the vernacular of the term on its head, it is something that should be celebrated and secured for generations to come.
My Chi isn't sponsored by an overbearing bureaucracy that knows no limits; and it certainly isn't paid for by special interests. My Chi is about being able to go for a walk down a (any) city street without fear of someone sticking a gun in my face or the fear of getting caught in a hailstorm of bullets. It's to be able to assemble with other adults of like mind at the end of the day with a nice glass of wine and my tobacco vaporizer, free of assault and harassment from some bully (courtesy of his new-found confidence, due largely to your campaigns) that is twice my size screaming at me from 100ft away because he doesn't approve of my lifestyle.
My Chi is FREEDOM, which is the only route and method proven to uplift communities. My Chi is choosing where my tax dollars go, and if I have anything to say about it, they won't be going to organizations like CHIDONT for long.
-Chi: Breathe in, breathe out. Don't let the bullies stress you out.