Monday, October 8

Take 'Em Down JAX -- Hmm, What Could 'Em Be?

Upon hearing there was a Take 'Em Down rally in Jacksonville, I wondered at what all the 'Ems in Jax could possibly be. 'Em is short for Them, in case you weren't sure. In Jacksonville's case 'Em might be short for Confederate monuments, but there are so many other 'Ems. Let's consider what other 'Ems we could be attacking here.

Sticking with the Civil War theme, I'd say street signs and school names could be 'Em. Probably especially school names. Robert E. Lee Generals? This school is 65% African American. I mean, unless it's a belittling thing to Southern generals (like Indians/Warriors/Braves/Redskins), why in the world do we have that happening here? I could maybe see it if Lee was from Jacksonville. Robert E. Femoyer of Jacksonville received the Medal of Honor from the United States of America (WWII), and the name's still Robert E., in case you like that combination. According to my sources, we have at least one Femoyer left in town, but seemingly not a large delegation. (And Femoyer wasn't really from Jax, but he is buried here.) If we don't want war heroes for schools or roads, we could always have Skynyrd Way and Bizkit Avenue. Or Tebow Terrace. 



On a less political note, let's take down the bandit / snipe signs. I know they're already illegal, and Jax has even offered a bounty in the past. But you don't need money to take action on these signs. Just fill out a form on 630City. You can probably take 'em down yourself, but that could be dangerous because you'd have to make yourself a pedestrian in Jacksonville. 

This one's more my personal opinion, but I don't like the crosses that pop up where someone was killed on the road. I am a Christian, and I'm down with crosses, but it just bothers me while driving. And then having to talk to my kids about it. Maybe in a few years when my own kids are driving around here, I'll be embrace the teachable moments. Like how my mom showed me a Readers' Digest from the 70s she'd kept for just the moment when I got my license--a special edition with police photos for dozens of dead people at accident scenes. I suppose crosses at the side of the road are less traumatizing, but it's a testament to my mom that she held on to that magazine for over a decade just to scare the pants off me. 

'Em could certainly be some of the apartment complexes chronicled by local news channels. The problem is that people still need a place to live. Unfortunately, it seems there's a lot of deferred maintenance around town, so people who need a place to live end up living in nearly uninhabitable conditions. But there might not be other available spots, especially in the budget. From what I can tell, the whole Jacksonville area is prone to building, letting it fall apart, and then building something new and more expensive. The old place is left to fall apart as the owners take as much profit out of the buildings as possible, and I can totally see it's not worth refurbishing apartments that can't rent for very much. I know we've moved past the whole City Beautiful idea of clear cutting certain neighborhoods, but maybe just a few of the worst apartment complexes would make a dent in our problems.

I'm wondering if 'Em should be palm trees. I've read that these non-native trees are a hassle to keep alive, and that the Bold Vision landscaping plan has been a fiasco. Looks like two kinds of Sabal Palms are native, as is the Saw Palm. And that's all, folks. Palms can live here, I guess, but I don't know if it needs to be a government priority to plant non-native trees in order to create an aura that isn't natural. I mean, it's still hot here. We don't have to pretend we're in the Tropics for people to know how hot it is. Just mow your lawn on a summer day.

I'd also like to imagine that 'Em refers to the extra-large pickup trucks that make very little sense to me. Anything that outweighs my car by several thousand pounds and sits as high as a semi should probably require a CDL to operate. I'm not calling for government to fix this. Ladies, if you just tell your man that you love and appreciate him for who he is and that the size of his truck only impresses his friends and not you, then we'll have a lot fewer of these monsters on the road. Besides, if he's put an extra $10,000 into his truck to make it big and awesome, he's not going to have the cash to spring for the engagement ring you want, which means loans and paying it off over time, which means he'll be thinking about how much you cost him when you nag him about moving his truck so you can get your car out of the garage.

I bet we've got all kinds of 'Ems we could be taking down in Jacksonville to make the city a little better. We can't expect government to fix all of our problems for us, and some of our problems are our own to take down. Like the barriers between us.