Brian E. Cooper: Colorful crosswalks should be complimentary, not adversarial

Last modified: Tuesday, July 01, 2014
To the editor:

The current proposition in Northampton to create a patriotic red, white and blue crosswalk across Main Street in front of City Hall should not be viewed as a circumstance of “if they can have it, why can’t we” but rather as “We should have both.” It is not insignificant that our city is among the most gay-friendly in the commonwealth, nor is it insignificant that our commonwealth was the first state in this great union to legalize gay marriage. The rainbow crosswalk on Main Street tips its hat to multiple vertebrae in the backbone of our community, as well as to the historical significance of the role Northampton has played in the overall national debate on equality.

What better way to announce to visitors to our city that we are truly pioneers in the most American sense of the word, than to have a rainbow crosswalk adjacent to a red, white, and blue one? Moreover, crosswalk paint tends to fade quickly, and any attempt to make one more visible, especially in such a pedestrian-confident community such as Northampton, is a good thing.

“Pandora’s Box” shall be opened when a very niche special interest group proposes to the DPW that their colors be included in the design of a crosswalk downtown. But at this point, an American-themed color scheme on a crosswalk adjacent to a gay pride one would not be adversarial in Northampton; rather, the two would be complimentary. Anyone who attempts to downplay the significance that the LGBTQ community plays in our identity as a community at large is truly in denial, as is anyone who refuses to acknowledge the historical significance that our small city has played in furthering the concept of equality in this great nation.

Brian E. Cooper