It is absolutely astounding that the mayor of our city has also become Asheville’s chief fashion-police officer and the guardian of our morality. She’s running around town chasing down Nekkid Ukiah, yelling at him to get off the streets and go home. She recently advised him — in no uncertain terms — that he was arrogant and offended local merchants, residents and parents with his bizarre (non)attire.
Why does she not exercise this same outrage on the rest of the street people who offend a large portion of the population — loitering on the streets bedecked in Rastafarian dreadlocks, green hair, tattoos on the sides of their faces, and rings in their noses, eyelids and tongues?
Depending on the point of view of the beholder, all of these people should be outlawed for one reason or another. Yet I would fight to the death to allow them to express their individuality — just as I do, wearing my in-your-face cowboy hat, which I am sure offends many people.
To complicate matters, the police (probably with orders from “above”) arrested this pathetic, pathological exhibitionist for exposing his cojones (the official charge was “indecent exposure”). He’s out now, under a $200 bond.
But wait — it gets better. The mayor enlists the help of state politicians, who recognize that this is election time. They’re going to rush to Raleigh to find some law to stop such scandalous behavior — and if they can’t find any laws, they will, by God, make some laws.
Now comes the Asheville Citizen-Times editorial commending the public officials for fostering personal responsibility, common decency and respect, and chastising this “libidinal regressive poster child” (their words) for trampling Asheville’s “scenic beauty.”
What happened to the “most happening city in America” where we “celebrate diversity”?
Have we learned nothing from past experience with this ne’er-do-well? The last time we jumped on this tar baby, we got national publicity. I envision the new scenario of Mr. Morrison enlisting the ACLU and creating a grandiose court case that will again attract reams of national press — and will make us look like Hooterville, once again. Someone told me recently that you have to be careful if you dance with a pig, because the pig will love it.
Maybe we should have another Vision task force or mayor’s roundtable, with lots of flip charts showing almost-naked men, so we can get lots of citizen input to solve this problem.
It’s time we learned that public officials can’t fix everything with laws and damn-fool proclamations.
To their great credit, even the religious community (which is usually out front in matters such as this) has had the good judgment to ignore this aberrant behavior, rather than give this man more public exposure (pardon the pun).
Surely, our fine public officials have a full plate of serious municipal problems that should be getting their full attention — the Civic Center, housing, transportation and our decaying infrastructure (to name just a few).
Keep in mind that the citizenry is not fooled by political grandstanding and moralistic, self-righteous hoopla used to cover up the failure to solve our difficult problems.
Get on with the real business of the people, and stop trying to “wag the dog.”