By David Mark Greaves
On the Social Scene …
Let’s be clear here: President Barack Obama must be re-elected and the thought of a Mitt Romney Presidency is enough to chill a soul, and yet the one percent — like old movie western claim-jumpers, is setting about the theft of the nation “all nice and legal-like.” They are shamelessly buying the levers of power they don’t already own to protect their position, and ensure that their addiction to the accumulation of money is satisfied.
Voter suppression, voter ID laws and the Republican attempt to, once again, steal the Presidential Election are acts of social terrorism that are placing the highest ideals of a nation “of the people” at risk.
Brooklyn has people pouring in from all over the country. They should all call back home and tell them to get out the vote for Obama. As Our Time Press reader Shirley N. Bland wrote in a handwritten note to the paper about fighting voter suppression, “Let’s go forward my brothers and sisters, we have no time to waste.”
In the Community …
It is obvious that everyone wants to feel safe from random gunfire. This we had driven home again on last Friday afternoon when, across the street in Herbert Von King Park, a young man was chased by a group and shot in the buttocks. This is a horrible thing to be happening, we have to get it to stop, but the only villains that people are passionate about are these young men, and to a lesser extent, lax gun laws. But there is no passion for programs and services and infrastructure rebuilding projects to provide jobs and opportunities to combat the hopelessness of seeing a consumer-driven world and knowing that you have no place in it.
To grow up both poor and poorly parented, dropping out of school and seeing no chance of participating in the world that everyone else is enjoying is not the life one dreams for. Finding your role as the gangsta, running the street because “that’s what gangstas do.” So filled with the self-hate of knowing that the dreams they had can never come true, these young males explode in a paroxysm of power that comes from the holding and firing of a gun. This is how it feels to be behind the glass, looking at the American Dream that others are enjoying all around you, and finding your role as “the gangsta” who will kill others who remind him of himself and who has to be stopped.
The frustration comes in because there are so many other villains that go unsung, those pointing with an arrogant smugness.
People like Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire who enjoys being tough on the least among us, and whose passion really comes out when he opposes a “Living Wage” bill and his administration issues RFP’s that make decades-old community organizations unqualified for the work they‘ve been doing every day. His proposal for private industry takeover of jobs such as meter maids is just the latest in an ongoing destruction of the economic base of the black community. That’s one part of it, education is another.
In the Education Arena …
There is a history of Africans in education that stretches back a millennia and African-Americans were first practicing public education when it had to be hidden away in a shed, and practiced by the light of a lantern and in schoolhouses the freed people built with their own hands after Emancipation. And then working with hand-me-down readers during segregation, these teachers, devoted to the upliftment of the race from enforced illiteracy, taught generations of respected doctors, lawyers, entrepreneurs and engineers. And now that European men have taken over the moment-to-moment education of African-American children, suddenly no matter how much money they spend, they just can’t get it right. So they hire European consultants, pay them good tax dollars for all kinds of new methods and systems and either the mayor and others are earnest but very slow learners, or else everything is working perfectly, as evidenced by the school-to-prison and the school to dead-end pipelines, running at full capacity.
So while the 99% is kept busy with this low-intensity racial and class warfare, the 1% are busily taking steps to complete their control of the United States. With the Citizens United case, they can spend as much as they want on influencing elections, and with voter suppression laws potentially disenfranchising millions, they are getting into position to assume the powers and airs of a palace court and if they are successful, it will not end well for anyone, including them.
On Gabrielle Douglas …
Olympic gymnastic gold medalist Gabrielle Douglas is a self-made wonder who took her competitive and goal-setting nature and coupled it with a grueling work ethic to create her incarnation as the embodiment of a role model for young girls in general and African-American girls in particular. To have her hair become a focus of disdainful discussion, to have young girls take away from her Olympic performance the understanding that no matter how good you are or how hard you work, you still have to weave in some Brazilian hair to be a whole woman, is profoundly sad and yet another manifestation of the damage remaining from slavery and the self-hate it sired.