Trash and Snow Removal

One of the inspiring things about the peaceful demonstrations in Egypt and now, Wisconsin, is that the organizers arranged clean-up crews. (How come I can’t do that in my own house?) When zillions of people gather, it’s important to clean up after yourselves.

This morning I woke to ANOTHER dumping of snow on My Beautiful New York. I wondered, Who is going to clean this mess? The New York City Sanitation Department. They must be really tired of looking at snow. The snow blankets the garbage. The kids thought a pile of snow outside of our apartment building was garbage. When the snow melted last Friday, we discovered the pile was a motorcycle.

Clean up is not sexy, but it is an essential part of the process. You have to clean up before you can start anew. In Egypt, after 18 days, when the people decamped from Tehrir Square, I noticed in the photos that the people doing most of the cleaning were women. They swept the square. Maybe as democracy sweeps through the world like a winter storm, one democratizing outcome could be the the equal sharing of chores between the sexes.

Whether it’s New York City with another dumping of snow, a people’s movement in Wisconsin, or a democracy movement in Egypt, let’s not forget to clean up. And let’s not make only the women do it. Let’s be like the Sanitation Workers, equal opportunity cleaner uppers.

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