Wednesday, April 12

Side-lining the BIG MARCH

My eye was drawn to the man running across the intersection at Camelback and 7th Avenue during rush hour this morning. He had the green light, but the fact that he was running in full neon orange vest and yellow helmet construction crew gear was kind of hard to miss. He was looking very intently at something ahead of him and to his left. I never even noticed the man who was out of his motorized wheelchair right next to me off the sidewalk until I followed running construction man's urgent line of vision as he crossed the street. The wheelchair was stuck in thick landscaping gravel, and the man's shriveled, twisted legs could barely hold him up as he tried to push his chair out. In my rear-view mirror, I could see the construction man reach the disabled guy and put a gloved hand gently on his shoulder as he probably began to say something like, "Hey, buddy, let me give you a hand..."

It was one of those things that you say to yourself, "Man! I'm glad I saw that!" I marveled at how a stuck wheelchair could have come to anyone's attention in a dusty light-rail construction site on the other side of four lanes of crazy Phoenix traffic. And, once the predicament was sighted, that a person would be prompted to physically respond and hurry to give assistance.

Yesterday, after the National Day of Action immigration march that drew an estimated 100,000 to down-town Phoenix, Alfredo Gutierrez - a former Arizona state senator, issued a short and hostile editorial in the Arizona Republic which threatend that his people would "take up arms" should current legislation "humiliate" them and "trample" their "rights". There is a good deal of political and social action brewing in town right now that did not get the same air-time as the emotional march Monday. Eventually we will hear more from those who resent the arrogance and gross intitlement exhibited by those who feel they are above the law and deserve all the priveleges of citizenship without the effort to earn it. Sentiments expressed at the all-day rally were loud, angry and bi-lingual.

In those 4 or 5 seconds in the far West South-bound lane of 7th Avenue as I passed the wheelchair scene at 40 mph, I noticed one more thing: the good samaritan was hispanic, and the other man was white.

I'm glad I saw that.

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