“Congressman John Lewis should spend more time on fixing and helping his district, which is in horrible shape and falling apart (not to mention crime infested) rather than falsely complaining about the election results. All talk, talk, talk — no action or results. Sad!”— @realDonaldTrump
I hope this letter finds you and Pa doing well in your suburban enclave. I miss the simple days of yore when I lived with you on our peaceful cul-de-sac, unencumbered by the inner-city war. But every generation has its struggles. Mine is here, in Atlanta, in John Lewis’s Fifth Congressional District of Hell.
I will respectfully deny myself the chance to engage in platitudes to ease your heart. Our president-elect has certainly told the American people that we are actively burning down our buildings and gorging on each other’s hearts. And so I will be honest with you — it really is bad here.
Why, just the other evening, I was perambulating through Old 4th Ward where the Civil Rights Movement was launched. And not a block away from Martin Luther King, Jr.’s old dwellings and church, I happened upon dozens of drunk people filling the bars of Edgewood Avenue, even puking in the gutters. It was utterly gross. I could only assume they acted as such because they were so unhappy to be living in a terrible place, and so they chose alcohol to salve their inner wounds.
This is just the tip of the flaming spear. Everywhere you look in this district, you see signs of dismay. I live, as you know, a few steps away from the Carter Center along Freedom Parkway, named for another president who still haunts these parts. I recently walked the morbid grounds, and I saw grass so green it made my eyes burn in their sockets, and I saw a pond filled with those Canada geese that make such an ugly racket when flying over. And then I saw a hawk stalking a squirrel. The squirrel got away, but he was lucky. This place is like a living, breathing Cormac McCarthy novel — horrifying and also kind of pretty.
Next, I traversed to the West End and I tutored some students there, which made me very tired.
I then attended Atlanta’s downtown district, which is being overtaken by Zealous Artists and an Evil University that is dedicated to learning all young people, no matter their background. Art and education only bring unhappiness, as we have learned again and again.
On my travels, I saw people of all skin tones, locked tight in their autos, completely ignoring each other, basically because they had to get to work. Where is community when you need it? We are supposedly the City Too Busy to Hate. But are we also the City Too Busy to Say a Simple Hello Through Car Windows?
Another troubling fact about this district: The public transportation system could use some funding. Traffic is ungodly, and MARTA is inconvenient. Sometimes a person must amble by foot to get where he or she wants to go, which is a real pain.
Even the Braves — America’s team! — left us for your suburbs. What will we ever do without them?
Endeavoring any sort of pick-me-up, I sought out an inner-city coffee shop. But it only made my skin crawl. All of the popular hipsters I know from Instagram were gathered there, no doubt plotting their next “like” or hashtag party. That was bad enough. But then I saw cast members from the television show Stranger Things, which is filming here, and I knew I was living in The Upside-Down — that demonic hellhole where people much younger than I make much more money than I.
It was the Beltline that finally pilfered my soul, however. Have you heard of the Beltline, a public sidewalk upon which any person of any color can walk or jog or skateboard or bike? I saw crowds of people bumping into each other, saying hello through vacuous sunny-day smiles; some guy on some kind of ridiculous hoverboard with a stereo attached; even bicyclists telling everyone to “get out of the way” (even though the law clearly states that pedestrians have the right of way!). All I could think of during my time on this strip of damnation was, “Why don’t they have traffic cops out here? It’s time.” Another sign that our society is crumbling …
I don’t mean to alarm you. But you deserve the truth in this dire world filled with #fakenews. We are dying, all of us. Even Google Fiber is coming here, and who knows what Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse will ride in with it.
I wish you and Pa well. Prepare my gravestone, and tell the relatives I fought bravely.
Love and Grief,
Your Foredoomed Son
P.S. Go Falcons!