When I was a kid growing up in 1970’s California there was a popular myth after every tremor that California would one day fall into the Pacific Ocean. Child stuff, right? But I am snug in the midst of my adulthood, and the state has fulfilled our childhood prophecies, albeit metaphorically, economically.
How did this creature crumble? How did this lovely, promising swan defy evolution and turn into such an ugly duckling? So many metaphors to mix to note the abject failure of the state and … as California goes, so goes the nation?
For example, at one time in my lifetime, California schools – I mean its public schools – rated top in the nation.
But the first pair of bookends to fell this mighty giant was 1978’s Proposition 13. The second bookend is the Obama Administration’s Secy of Education, Arne Duncan’s Race to Dismantle Public Schools.
As Chicago educator Marva Collins said many times, it wasn’t the Soviets who destroyed our schools, it was us ourselves.
Of course, our woes have much more breadth than the To Do List of this obviously mediocre president and the obvious intentions of the Democratic wing of our single Capitalist Party they dutifully serve.
We want universal health care: make us buy it from the private companies. We want marriage equality: send your federal lawyers to enforce Defense of Marriage Acts. We want troops out of Afghanistan: escalate, baby! Send those drones in and massacre more innocent men, women, and babies.
Workers, a forgotten but growing lot, still have no voice, but they do have sense. Some workers, like Dept of Homeland Security officers, cannot speak out at all and have only their obviously mediocre managers, deputies, gulags of executive staffs to drivel that there is no problem, that all is well, that we are giving the Homeland 110%: this prattle truly is a motif for workers’ struggle in the United States.
What happened? It starts with the police state forming all around us, in full view … well, sort of. The police state is forming to stop the inevitable disintegration of the Western, Christian leviathan [thank God!] but while other disgruntled thugs from the Dark Ages place incendiaries in their underwear [boxers or briefs?].
One Dark Age should not replace another.
Our Dark Age modern terrorism is documented, if only it be studied in the open air of a library or bookstore, versus the They-hate-us-because-we-are-Free line, which wouldn’t even pass for a child’s bedtime story.
Al Qaeda may not really exist, and I doubt that it does. There is real, valid anger from the Other Side of the world where the West drew a map and installed princes and potentates who have kept their populations under foot like any good Confederate slave master: keep them ignorant and unlearned and hungry.
But they themselves want those princes and potentates gone, and have pleaded to their sponsors [that would be the West] to cease and desist. Our response is to send in the soldiers, draw up No-Fly lists, and criminalize the colonial world [nothing new there].
It is too bad rather than watch the scaffolding of the police state go up and the dismantle of our public schools we could get these two Dark Age surrealists, East and West, in the Coliseum together to fight it out to the death. The survivor would be duly fed to those lovely Roman lions, and the world would be rid of that trash forever.
No such luck. Prospects are bleak. So while teachers all over the state of California will either be fired, face larger unmanageable classes and students loads, and made to run a federally sponsored three-legged race to Oblivion, our security services are a growth industry.
The Dept of Homeland Security has taken the wage of your local public school teacher and given it to a rabble who couldn’t pass a Civics test, but they are watching you, and they are finding other places to watch you.
That BART policeman who shot in the back a passenger on the deck of the Fruitvale train station in Oakland, Ca., was nothing but a Tonton Macoute, and there are more inevitably to come as rabble is elevated to titled status to pry and prod into our lives.
For more of my articles: LA Times campaign to bash public schools * New Yorker Mag joins in attack of public schools * Obama abandons his base, stays true to his funders