Sunday, June 6, 2010
Between innings, I catch an ad for some California casino. Somewhere in the state where we're pink-slipping good teachers and slashing social services, somebody's got enough left over to go gambling. I confess this makes me crazy.
I know it's not just California. I've seen stories in the Boston Globe - it's happening across the country. Governors are settling for casinos as economic development. The rest of us are settling for gambling as recreation. Am I a Puritan prude? Or is this insanity?
Then, at the end of this 30 second ad for some casino - more than willing to take your money for nothing - the casino has the balls to add: "And, remember, friends, gamble responsibly." I'm totally serious. "Gamble responsibly." As if, saying it like that makes it so. As if, there's a way for BP to 'gamble responsibly' 5000 feet below the surface of the sea. As if, there's a way for California to 'gamble responsibly' with all these kids whose schools are failing miserably. As if, there's a way for us to invest nothing in infrastructure, nothing in clean energy, nothing in education, nothing in environmental protection, nothing in job training. "And, remember," says the ad, "gamble responsibly."
I know the days of preachers wailing against things like gambling are long gone. And thank God. But I wonder, here in 2010, where the outcry comes from? Who says enough? Who says: Let's prioritize our communities according to values like public education. Let's acknowledge that wealth isn't simply a private accomplishment, but a public resource that comes with huge obligation. Let's make some commitments to one another.
Is gambling the best we can do?
Posted by Dave Grishaw-Jones at 10:45 PM