July 4, 2010
July 4. These words from Jonathon Kozol in Savage Inequalities: Children in America's Schools.
"Surely there is enough for everyone within this country. It is a tragedy that these good things are not more widely shared. All our children ought to be allowed a stake in the enormous richness of America. Whether they were born to poor white Appalachians or to wealthy Texans, to poor black people in the Bronx or to rich people in Manhasset or Winnetka, they are all quite wonderful and innocent when they are small. We soil them needlessly."
Again, up to 300,000 teachers are likely to get pink slips this year so we can spend more on war. Such nonsense. We need more teachers not fewer, smaller class size not larger. We must educate kids not "train" them for jobs that might disappear before they can be claimed.
I feel uneasy this July 4. Some of you have written that we must do more than blog and whine, and that is correct, but finding the path is not like falling off a log. I am reminded of the screenwriter in Annie Hall: "Right now it's only a notion, but I think I can get money to make it into a concept and later turn it into an idea."
Fighting Bob Fest will be more practical, more solution-oriented this year. We cannot ignore the seriousness of our problems--but we will also have fun!
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Sorry Ed, but I repeat my assertion that todays liberals, progressives, whatever they want to call themselves, are pansies.
Right. Today is July 4th. Lots of parades. The local Dems put on a pathetic performance. Can't say about other places.
But take it even further. Referring again to the 30's. I remember reading a very good book on the history of labor in Wisconsin. There were photos where literally thousands were marching, and demanding a fair shake in places like Milwaukee. Falling off a log? Gimme a break. The squeaky wheel gets the grease and if teacher lay-offs, gutting of public services, etc. are so important where the hell are those people?
I say it again. Gutless! Maybe they just aren't hurting bad enough yet. Or maybe it is just too much work. I will tell you this though. The establishment won't listen until you shove a stick so far up their collective backside that they can chew the splinters for breakfast. That is the history lesson I have learned. And no teacher ever taught it to me.
Now I am going to take a look at my grandfathers old Farm/Labor Progressive Party membership card for 1937 and think about the shotgun pellets and tear gas those guys stood up to in order to get a union and a fair shake.
Have fun at the liberal debating club.
-Griebnotz Doerkpfester | Egg Harbor,WI. | July 4, 2010
Well it is unusual to post a comment to a previous comment but I have to say to Mr. Doerkpfester that if he is going to call all progressives "pansies" he is going to have to include himself in that list.
This is just the kind of thing people who oppose our causes love to hear...progressives attacking progressives.
Mr. Doerkpfester I am not a "pansy" and my grandfather also fought the progressive's battles. You are obviously frustrated and you are not alone but here are some perspectives that might at least contextualize what is going on.
First, since the supreme court decision we now live in an oligarchy, not a democracy. Second, when active protests, even mass protests do occur they are seldom covered by the media, not even dear old public television. Third, when 26% of the American people don't even know who we fought the war of independence with then there is going to be big trouble, period. If this is an intelligence test for the United States then things do look bleak and this fall's election will be a real freak show.
We have democrats who don't know whether to fight or flee, republicans who have a one word vocabulary of "no" and tea potters who love to scream and yell but have no solutions to anything.
Maybe things just need to get bad enough, which almost seems an inevitability, before anything meaningful will occur.
Everyone feels your frustration, Griebnotz, but calling your allies names really doesn't help at all.
-John Davey | Kendall, WI | July 5, 2010
We all saw what happened at the G20 : secret, or little-known laws were used to arrest people who "did" something, assembling, a crime; designated protest zones were actually traps to make it easy. Police allowed initial small vandalism to set the stage. Police attacked women, who alleged rape threats. This is Canada! Watch what happens next time there is a Seattle. People will die because they assembled. Sonic cannon and micro-wave crowd burners will be used.
This is a corporate plantation with too many slaves. Many must starve. Move to Laos.
-bruce powell | antigo wi | July 6, 2010
I spent my holiday weekend reading the 2000 book "Will Standards Save Public Education?" In the forward Jonathan Kozol said "The best teachers of little kids I know are poets in their personalities: they love the unpredictable. That's why they're drawn to children and not business school. If we force them to be little more than the obedient floor managers for industry, they won't remain in public schools. The price will be too high. The poetry will have been turned to prose: the worst kind of prose too, the prose of experts who know every single thing there is to know except their own destructiveness."
The book's author, Deborah Meier calls for a more vital form of accountability: "It's for the loss of belief in the capacity to influence the world, not our economic ups and downs, that educators should accept some responsibility," adding "It is educationally important for young people to be in the company of adults – teachers, family members, and other adults in their own communities – powerful enough to decide important things. They need to witness the exercise of judgment, the weighing of means and ends by people they can imagine becoming; and they need to see how responsible adults handle disagreement."
Children witness these types of adult behaviors when we bring them to Fighting Bob Fest.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child - accepted every UN nation except the U.S. and Somalia - states that children are entitled to a broad education which develops their "personalities, talents and abilities to their fullest potential". Increasingly, our schools seem determined to grant our children only the right to pass exams. An education accountable solely for test scores is surely a form of child abuse.
-johnny | mount horeb | July 8, 2010
Here is my idea for making much-needed progressive change here in Wisconsin (following a suggestion recently made by Eric Alterman in The Nation): turn Fighting Bob into an official club within the Democratic Party.
From "Kabuki Democracy: Why a Progressive Presidency Is Impossible, for Now" [Published July 7, 2010 on The Nation(http://www.thenation.com)]:
"As Jim Vopat reported in In These Times, in Michigan a group of progressives who met through MoveOn house parties established Harbor Country Progress, an official Democratic Party club that is changing the political landscape in the state's rural Sixth Congressional District. As G. William Domoff noted in the same publication, replicating this model across the country 'allows activists to maintain their primary social and political identities while at the same time enabling them to compete within the Democratic Party.' They could be as progressive as they like so long as the campaign stayed a positive one; and win or lose, everyone would agree to support the Democrat in the election."
While I would much prefer a viable third party, I think this idea is worthy of serious consideration as a perhaps more realistic alternative.
-Paul Theis | Cedarburg, Wisconsin | July 16, 2010