May 12, 2009
Today, the dreams of Grant Park were tested in the real world
By Paul A. Moore
It was the night of November 4, 2008 and each of the half-million human beings in Grant Park in Chicago represented thousands more around the world. The dreams rushed up in a violent torrent. The tears flowed like a mighty river. It had been so long since dreaming made sense.
It was the night of November 4, 2008 and each of the half-million human beings in Grant Park in Chicago represented thousands more around the world. The dreams rushed up in a violent torrent. The tears flowed like a mighty river.
It had been so long since dreaming made sense.
There had been the Reagan Revolution and the enshrinement of greed, rapaciousness, and materialism as the state religion. There had been the beginnings in 1991 of the long war to gain control of the planets oil supplies. There had been the period of the most "Republican" Democrat ever to occupy the White House, a man so vapid and devoid of character that he sought nothing of his office beyond his own sexual gratification. There had been the eight years of the most utter hopelessness and despair as the United States of America moved as close to fascism and the end of constitutional government as it has ever been.
Today, the dreams of Grant Park were tested in the real world.
Today, a U.S. soldier in Iraq used his weapon to kill five of his comrades and wound three more. The fratricide occurred at a Camp Victory clinic that treats military personnel for stress. President Obama released a statement that "his heart goes out to all the families" but it is clear now that he has no intention of withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq and ending that war.
Today, Barack Obama's national security advisor Gen. James Jones, rejected Afghan President Hamid Karzai's demand the U.S. halt all aerial attacks in that country. Gen. Jones said, "we can't fight with one hand tied behind our back." With both hands free a U.S. airstrike in Afghanistan's Farah province killed as many as 130 civilians. Afghan doctors report treating at least 14 victims of severe burns. White phosphorus munitions produce severe burns so human rights organizations will investigate.
President Obama met with his Afghan and Pakistani counterparts on the day of the Farah raid and commented that his "heart went out to the victims" but it is clear now that he has no intention of ending the Democratic Party's "good war" in Afghanistan and the deadly drone attacks on Pakistan. It's just a matter of better management. Gen. McKiernan is fired and now Lt. Gen. McChrystal will bring the art of deception he used so effectively after the death of Pat Tillman to the war.
Today, the Advanced Medical Technology Association; the medical device manufacturers, the hospital owners, the HMO's, the insurance industry, and the drug makers offered the President a $2 trillion IOU to leave them in control of health care in the U.S.. President Obama acknowledged that the American people "desperately need health care reform in 2009" but he took the vampire's kiss. There will be no genuine single payer national health care system under this president.
Today, it was reported that "President Barack Obama wants to see 5,000 failing schools close and reopen with new principals and teachers over the next five years." Failing schools is the race neutral way of saying public inner-city schools. Replacing the principals and teachers identifies them as the reason the schools are failing.
Today, there was no comment from the White House on yesterday's Mother's Day protest in Chicago, the hometown of both the President and his Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. The mother's have lost their school age children to gun violence. "We can't eat. We can't sleep. We're angry. We're sad. We don't understand our purpose for life. Our children were our purpose for life," protesting mother Pam Bosley said. Insight into the reason these mother's have taken their private grief to the public is provided by the Chicago Sun-Times.
A total of 508 Chicago school kids were shot from September 2007 through December 2008, according to data compiled by the school system and released to the Chicago Sun-Times.
That's almost 32 children shot each month.
Most of these kids, thankfully, did not die.
But the damage is tremendous nonetheless.
There is the physical damage, which is awful enough. But the psychological damage can last much longer -- both for the victim and their classmates. Many kids in the most violent neighborhoods of Chicago are paralyzed by fear, and it's hard to blame them.
They are thinking rationally.
In 130 schools, at least one student has been shot since September 2007.
In 15 schools, at least 10 students have been shot.
In 12 other schools, at least 5 students have been shot.
School officials compiled this data to look for patterns that might help them get a handle on the problem. It was collected under former schools CEO Arne Duncan. New schools CEO Ron Huberman is reviewing and verifying the data.
None of these children was shot in school, it's important to note.
President Obama had voucher and charter school boosters to the White House the other day for advice on educational policy. The nation was treated to the incredible spectacle former Speaker Newt Gingrich posing as an enemy of racism and a proponent of civil rights for his concern over the "achievement gap". There was no mention of the infant mortality gap, or the life expectancy gap, or the household assets gap, or the employment gap, or the incarceration gap, or the quality of healthcare gap, or any of the other gaps that might shatter the illusion that Newt Gingrich gives a damn about people of color.
And speaking of gaps, today the leaders of historically Black colleges vowed to fight the elimination of a program they called a financial lifeline in a time of economic distress. President Obama's budget left an $85 million gap in a fund that Black institutions received in the last two years of the Bush Administration.
Today, the dreams of Grant Park are no more than that.
Paul A. Moore, Teacher, Miami Carol City High School, Miami, Florida