Educational Prority: Protect Children!

“…Deputies say that between 2009 and 2011,(School Principal) Edwards molested at least three boys between the ages of 11 and 14….”

Shonelle, Ayodele, Michele and Teneka, something they don’t teach you in Supervision and Administration courses is that you must constantly be on: “weirdo alert”. I wish I could put it in a more professional PC format; but there it is. Unfortunately some people come into education with evil intentions; some are perverts, some are drunks, some are drug addicts, and some are just plain old-fashion crazy (I know I should not use the word “crazy”—but again, there it is.) You must identify them, stop and remove them away from children. Very often as it seems in this case the person exhibiting this type of behavior will target students who constantly get into trouble, and/or who are known not to always tell the truth. Be a “nosey”, somewhat cynical and highly suspicious administrator; and stay out of that office during the school day. If everybody at that school swears they knew nothing; then the devil and some of those staff members are liars. In any school the principal’s social/love life (or lack of) is always a popular topic of unofficial speculation and discussion.

In the Airport I saw a sign that read: “If you see something say something”. Well, somebody saw something in that school, and said nothing. I am convinced that if he is in fact guilty of these multiple horrible acts over several years; someone(s) in that building knew something; and made a conscious decision; and/or was rewarded by him to not  step forward and protect those children.  If the Principal is the primary abuser in the school, the children have nowhere to go.

Note: One of my former students and now Collogue Latoya Ashe-Bartley reminded me …Just as we educators need to be alert and “nosey”; parents must also do the same. And maintain an avenue of honest and authentic communication with your child; so you can determine when there is a potential danger.


“A former middle school principal in North Carolina is accused of sexually assaulting a student while the boy’s unsuspecting parent was outside the room…..  Deputies say that between 2009 and 2011, Edwards molested at least three boys between the ages of 11 and 14. At least one of the incidents allegedly occurred in Edward’s office while the victim’s parent sat in a nearby waiting area. Edwards resigned from his position at Douglas Byrd Middle School, where he had been principal since 2010, in August, WNCN reported. Before that, he was principal of Ramsey Street Alternative School. Officials believe that all of the sexual assaults took place on the campuses of these two schools. Authorities have also noted they “believe there were more than the three victims,” sheriff’s spokeswoman Debbie Tanna told the Fayetteville Observer.  The school system has said that when Edwards resigned, they were unaware there was a pending investigation. He claimed he was leaving for educational opportunities, according to WTVD.     If he is in fact guilty; someone in that building knew something”……..

Chapter 3 of Malcolm Gladwell’s: David and Goliath should be read by every collge bound high school student and H.S. guidance counselor/college advisor

Misplaced Opportunity?

“Today, the conservative leaning Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a new affirmative action case out of Michigan. Nearly a decade ago, a more balanced court ruled in Grutter v. Bollinger that racial preferences in law school admissions was permissible with the aim of fostering a diverse learning environment.” – The Grio….I wonder if we need a shift and focus to college retention, STEM major retention, and college graduation. Further, in his recently publish book: David and Goliath; Malcolm Gladwell presents an interesting hypothesis in Chapter 3 (this chapter should be read by all college bound high school students and H.S. guidance/college counselors; even if they don’t read the entire book; which they should). Titled: “If I’d gone to the University of Maryland, I’d still be in science.” Smart Black and Latino students are very often pulled into “top tier” colleges to satisfy  the diversity goals of the college, and also to allow the college to “draw down” large governmental and private scholarship money. And yet often there is no real commitment to make sure those students remain in school by creating a cultural structure of academic and psychological support that would encourage these students to  pursue and complete a STEM major, and ultimately graduate. It is also possible that the reason these students struggle academically, switch from a STEM major and often fail to graduate is that these students perhaps were top students in an environment where they did not have a “critical mass” of competition (a large percentage of the student body aggressively fighting for top grades); these students may in fact have graduated from “majority minority” schools where very talented and bright students (Particularly males) chronically and purposely underachieve. This lowers the ability of these “high performers” to be pushed to their personal academic best; and benefit from the experience of intense academic competition. The clearest path to a STEM major graduation may go through schools like Spelman (Georgia) or Xavier (Louisiana); at the very least these schools see the successful graduation of their STEM students as central to the mission of the school.

When in Doubt Rant, it Feels Better then Facing Inconvenient Facts and Thoughts.

There is a popular video of an MSNBC commentator/guest making the rounds where said commentator passionately declares a Pox on both political parties; interesting, yes; insightful no! Like most people I like the feeling of a “good rant” every now and then; but I am also aware of its utter political uselessness.  I have also spent a life-time encouraging young people (and myself) to look deeper and wider, to look into places that challenge ones strongly held thoughts, to think about the sources and process of your own thinking. I read somewhere: “When I was a child I thought like a child…”. Graphic translation: In my younger days the world was a circle with a thin grey line (diameter) down the middle dividing the world into black and white (good-evil; hero-villain, friend-foe). But the older I got the wider that grey line grew; alas, I have learned that events in the world are not so easily divided into black and white absolute categories. The problem in the case of our present political crisis is that the “Both sides are broken” or “Washington dysfunction” narrative pushed by an intellectually lazy news media; is also intellectually dishonest. The “middle ground” could also be dangerously deceptive; because there is always the risk that an extreme objectivity prevents us from being honest about what is actually happening. The both sides are wrong; “why can’t they just get along” song  we hear over and over again is of course comfortable because it allows us to hate the abstract “Washington Politics”; this removes the need and responsibility to fix the bad, and keep and expand the good. This is a case of a comfortable simplicity acting as the enemy of a thoughtful complexity, a static belief that is the enemy of positive change. Why bother doing anything if the entire system is hopelessly broken? Ironically the public (polling) are closer to the reality then the professional media “talking-heads”; the public continues to say that it was not necessary to shut the government down, or breach the debt limit, simply to overturn a law through extra-legal means. Sometimes facts get in the way of a good story:

Fact: The Affordable Care Act (ACA) or “Obamacare” is a properly passed law that was challenge in the Supreme Court (and failed); and the Republicans in congress have made 41 attempts to repeal the ACA (and these efforts have also failed). The obscene expansion of unregulated money being poured into political campaigns was passed by the conservative section of the Supreme Court. Republican controlled statehouses created a series of Republican pure districts, and therefore made themselves immune to any push/feedback from more liberal/progressive voters; this also increased the power of “outside” conservative funding sources to exert a great deal of influence over local congressional primary races. Finally, this President has faced a relentless head wind of opposition that was pledged and carried out by the Republican-Tea-Party cabal upon his first inauguration; emotional condemnations of “Both sides are equally bad”, seeks to overlook this important fact. Do we need campaign finance reform, absolutely. But I also agree with 2 very smart economic guys (Paul Krugman and Robert Reich); that this “debt problem” is artificially being over-played as a way for conservatives to cut aid and support to the poor, the hungry, seniors and children. Are the Democrats  innocent of “bad acts”; absolutely not. Especially when the citizens and civil service workers in Detroit are told they are too small to matter; and corporations in that same city are financially bailed out because they are too big to fail. But the act of holding Smokey the Bear hostage so as to just  score political points is harming millions of people and damaging our fragile economic recovery; and it is wrong independent of the shortcomings of the Democrats…… “The New Confederacy is Very Much like the Old Confederacy”…

Chicken in the FOX house: The Crisis of the Negro Conservative

”I have to tell you Obamacare is, really I think, the worst thing that’s happened in this nation since slavery.”….Ben Carson speaking at the Tea Party’s Voter Values Summit, 10/11/13

“Dr. Ben Carson joins FOX News…”


First a confession, I bear some responsibility here. I just hope that on the Day of Judgment God will give partial credit for good intentions.  For many years I purchased thousands (yes, literally thou$and$) of copies of Dr. Carson’s auto-biography: Gifted Hands. I also raised funds through private donors to bring Dr. Carson to NYC (along with his wife) to speak to students who could now see and touch the person who was the subject of that inspirational book they just read. This was long before Dr. Carson was nationally famous; and long before he became the colored darling of the rabid and racist Tea-Party. I did so back then in the spirit of offering students the opportunity to see the possibility of success at the end of a challenging childhood; to see a real life “over-coming”; to see how a once struggling student could through hard work become a high achiever in a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) career path. His life story was in many ways the central story of my educational philosophy: Our nation is at its worst; and we are collectively hurt, when we waste, and lose the badly needed talents of bright and creative Black, Latino and poor students of any color. He was very much our STEM champion; and his accomplishments made the students proud. Now pride is very good when it is good; but when it is bad, it is very bad. As a youngster attending Sunday school I had many thoughts about the weekly lessons (I would keep my thoughts to myself until I reached the high school level, where we had more thoughtful discussions). But I wondered in my earlier grades why “Pride” was a sin. Everything (including my cherished dictionary); at home parental “directives”, and in the school environment, suggested that pride was something positive, and something we should strive for and keep. It was only later when I expanded my reading list to include:

The Maxwell Leadership Bible

Smith’s Bible Dictionary

Charles F. Pfeiffer: Bible Dictionary and Concordance

Xavier Leon-Dufour: Dictionary of Biblical Theology

Hodge: Systematic Theology

The sermons of Gardner C. Taylor; and the theological writings of people like: Buber, Maritain, Merton, Thurman and Tillich.

Did I come to a better understanding of the serious danger and trap of “pride”. The problem with pride is that it can become the worst type of idol worship; where you move God off of a place of praise and worship, and replace Him with yourself. Perhaps Dr. Carson got lost somewhere in the “hoopla” of congratulations and adulation that was directed toward him over the years; the financial rewards as his legendary achievements grew in public and media recognition. I know that the person I met in the 1990’s was not the mean-spirited regurgitator of Tea-Party talking points of racial denunciation and hate that I see today. When did he decided to cease to want to be an inspiration, a healer; and instead seek to be a central character in the Tea-Party’s dismissive, delegitimizing and despiteous treatment of our nation’s first Black President. In part it is driven by an insane logic by so-called Black conservatives to prove their loyalty to the right-wing cause by out ‘raceing’ the racist. Messer’s Thomas (Judge), Scott (U.S. Senator), West (fortunately former congressman), et al; are driven to extreme pronouncements of disrespect toward Mr. Obama if only to prove that they need not even maintain the simple act of respecting the “office of the Presidency”; no they must leave no doubt in the demented (Jim DeMinted) minds of their Tea-Party masters that they are in any way influenced by their own Black, or any reality. But they must go further; they are required to disrespect all of Black America. Beyond medical school; it is hard to believe that anyone that attended any school beyond the 5th or 6th grade could believe that the horrible institution of slavery could in any way resemble the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or “Obamcare”.  And nowhere in Dr. Carson’s biography does he mention that he missed the entire high school course in American history.  I would have to believe that a person of Dr. Carson’s academic ability is simply being consciously intellectually dishonest; this racist derogatory assertion seeks to not only insult and diminish Black Americans who are presently living; but also all in the past who lived, suffered and died under that brutal and dehumanizing system. To compare a plan that offers people the equality of health insurance, to a system that offered Black People equality with the animals on the plantation, is beyond offensive, and sense. For sure FOX News is where he belongs; and one could only wonder what will be his response when he finally realizes that his FOX handlers, the Tea-Partiers who applauded his self-degrading and disgraceful comments, reveal that they see no difference between Mr. Obama and Mr. Carson; President of the United States or Neurosurgeon; the Tea-Partiers look upon both of you as 3/5 of a man.

From a preacher writing a letter from a Birmingham jail cell, to the preachers of L.A.

“….But though I was initially disappointed at being categorized as an extremist, as I continued to think about the matter I gradually gained a measure of satisfaction from the label. Was not Jesus an extremist for love: “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” Was not Amos an extremist for justice: “Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” Was not Paul an extremist for the Christian gospel: “I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.” Was not Martin Luther an extremist: “Here I stand; I cannot do otherwise, so help me God.” And John Bunyan: “I will stay in jail to the end of my days before I make a butchery of my conscience.” And Abraham Lincoln: “This nation cannot survive half slave and half free.” And Thomas Jefferson: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal …” So the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. Will we be extremists for hate or for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice or for the extension of justice? In that dramatic scene on Calvary’s hill three men were crucified. We must never forget that all three were crucified for the same crime—the crime of extremism. Two were extremists for immorality, and thus fell below their environment. The other, Jesus Christ, was an extremist for love, truth and goodness, and thereby rose above his environment. Perhaps the South, the nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists….”–Excerpt From Martin Luther King’s :LETTER FROM BIRMINGHAM JAIL April 16, 1963


“..What we see, then, is that two societies have issued from two kinds of  love. Worldly society has flowered from a selfish love which dared to despise even God, whereas the communion of saints is rooted in a love of God that is ready to trample on self. In a word, this latter relies on the Lord, whereas the other boasts that it can get along by itself. The city of man seeks the praise of men, whereas the height of glory for the other is to hear God in the witness of conscience. The one lifts up its head in its own boasting; the other says to God: ‘Thou art my glory, thou liftest up my head’…St. Augustine, City of God


“…Every means is an obstacle. Only when every means has collapsed does the meeting come about..”…Martin Buber, I AND THOU


“..Christianity and the New Testament understood something perfectly definite by believing; to believe is to venture out as decisively as it is possible for a man to do, breaking with everything a man naturally loves, breaking, in order to save his own soul, with that in which he naturally has his life. But to him who believes is promised also assistance against all danger. But in “Christendom” we play at believing, play at being Christians; as far as possible from any breach with what we love, we remain at home, in the parlor, in the old grooves of finiteness—and then we go and twaddle with one another, or let the priest twaddle to us, about all the promises which are found in the New Testament, that no one shall harm us, that the gates of hell shall not prevail against us, against the Church, etc….” Soren Kierkegaard, Attack Upon Christendom

And so has it all been reduced to the urgency of the amount of “preaching fees”, and the composition, and size of the entourage. We wonder why the religious experience has been transformed into a god serving as a giant cosmic ATM machine. This god is promised to make you rich in the midst of great poverty held by those who unlike you are not selected to be “blessed”; if people are jobless, homeless, hungry and exposed to the ugly abuses of this world it is because this god loves you, and not them. When “mega” replaces meaning; when there is no distinction between the principles of the material world and the principles of the spiritual world, why bother going to church. There are plenty of good self-improvement, self-empowerment seminars, books, DVD’s and programs that won’t cost you a tenth of your annual salary. Where then is the distinction; the call to humility, service, sacrifice and salvation. Modesty and restraint is confused with a vow of poverty; but it is impossible, a contradiction for a true instrument of God’s love in this world to be poor, to not have the adequate tools and resources to act out your calling. If this single “truth”, is not true, then the whole meaning of seeking a spiritual life is false; then let every person “go for it” alone; and may the most brutal, selfish and cynical win. I believe that the striving for obscene materialism is the enemy of a spiritual life. What is the value of being the richest person in Sodom or Gomorrah; the “rich” are those who can escape the philosophy of spiritual death. The great contrast between an L.A. mansion and a Birmingham jail cell may not be so clear. We might think that one (the jail cell) represents defeat, poverty, confinement and degradation. But I assert that the preacher captured in the cell of his worldly-material mind is truly living a life of spiritual imprisonment, spiritual poverty in the midst of enviable luxury. The preacher held captive fighting for justice is the most free as they live out the words of the prophet Amos: “But let justice roll down like a river and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream”…… don’t focus on my confinement; rather focus on my assignment! We need spiritual leadership that can trust God to provide whatever they need to live because they are working within their calling to serve the neglected, rejected, the disenfranchised of this materially driven world. We need spiritual leaders who will speak truth to the powers that seek to subjugate and oppress those who are most vulnerable, those who cannot defend themselves. We need spiritual leaders who will not lie to people by telling them that selfishness and a focus on personal happiness are principles reflective of/or admired by God. Help the people find their calling in life, and don’t mislead them into thinking that their personal and unique calling can be acquired at the mall. The great lie of this world is that we can purchase happiness; and in a way we can purchase a false sense of happiness; but the cost of this false happiness is that we must wander off the path of our true calling; we are lost to our natural inclination to serve God by seeing, and serving that part of God we see in our fellow human beings. An example of Spiritual leadership can be seen in the daily practiced beauty of education service (as in any vocation); it is here that each day you are  offered the opportunity to see and nurture the Goodness of God emerging, and growing in young people; to help someone find their calling increases the possibility for a cascading effect of good works to resonate throughout the universe; but in the same but opposite way; misleading people away from their calling, causing them to fail to find their calling in life,  leads to increased suffering and evil in our world. I would think it would be better in the end, if one just went into business for the sake of just making a profit; as opposed to being a false prophet who specializes in making spirituality into a business.

A low Interest, low Information diet is a recipe for death

I read a post today on Facebook from one of my favorite intellectual/political pugilist Playthell Benjamin. He wondered as I have recently why through all the “chatter” on social media only a small amount of energy is directed toward what may be the major constitutional-economic crisis event of the Obama presidency. I actually participate in social-media to keep up with the good news chatter of: Graduations, job-position appointments, promotions, weddings, births; etc. and watching the wonderful social and intellectual growth of the children of my former students and collogues. In the midst of so much bad news in the world I find peace in the good news of a child’s success or accomplishment. I must confess I really like, and look forward to all of those announcements of: first words, first steps, first book read, martial arts Belts, awards, certificates, trophies, medals, etc. But I also worry about the world these children will face, when there are forces in open-action seeking to diminish and destroy their potential contribution to the world. In fact these Republican acts of restriction and reversal seek to destroy the very potential and personhoods of these children. Everything you need to know in life, can be learned in a high school English class; for it was there that I learned that there is no such thing as a Separate Peace; if children anywhere in America are not safe, are mis-educated, denied access to out of school learning experiences, hungry, homeless and without adequate health care, then all children through some cosmic algorithm (I believe, but can’t explain), will also be in danger of harm. The American myth is that if we have Scandal, Sports, a job and health insurance; then all is well in the world. This is why even as I watch the NY Giants make a mockery of their tradition; as I learn how to bake; as I continue to buy books on Amazon; as I try to catch up and mount my growing stamp and art collection; as I enjoy taking pictures in the State parks; I am painfully aware, my conscience continually shaken; and I am incapable of ignoring this horrible attack on  successful vote on a bill (ACA), that can help so many in our nation who are out of the proactive health care loop. There is something wrong when justice is undone; when access is denied, when there is an open attempt to nullify a vote. I understand the news media has successfully obscured the reality here, by pretending that this is two obstinate sides unwilling to compromise; a “fight” rather than the dull inconvenience of the truth will better feed ratings. The right-wing definition of compromise is an end to a presidency, and an end to a bill (ACA) authored by that president. I know many folks of color and all people of goodwill were tremendously proud of Mr. Obama’s two electoral victories. But the president must be wondering at the moment, as the song goes: “Where are all my friends?” And  what do “his friends”  think now that this “new confederacy” ( “The New Confederacy IS Very Much Like The Old Confederacy”…  ) is in serious kamikaze mode in seeking to undermine his election and the key legislative victory that could bring much needed relief to millions in desperate need of affordable health care. Folks who complained that the POTUS was not doing anything for the working- poor and Black folks; well who the heck makes up a huge majority of the uninsured? And what about those health confederate states that are refusing to set up state health exchanges to discourage and diminish participation in the Affordable Care Act (ACA). These Rebel governors are standing and blocking the health-clinic doors by literally rejecting federal funds to extend Medicare services to the poor, Black and White in their states. All of this in order to put Mr. Obama; who they don’t recognize as the legitimate president of the United States; in his place. That is the true meaning of the “Tea-Party”, who like the original Boston version are seeking to overthrow a government they don’t recognize as legitimate. Make no mistake Messrs.’ Boehner, Cantor, McConnell, Rubio and Cruz can frame it in the least offensive language that would be allowed by the rules of political linguistic PC; their intentions are very clear: This (Mr. Obama) presidency is not representative of America and therefore if it means we drive the U.S. into an economic crises so be it. They are in every way in insurrection against a properly and legally elected president; and so all acts including hostage taking is permitted to further their cause. They act in a great confidence because they  believe that Mr. Obama will ultimately trade in the ACA for the avoidance of an economic calamity; they also know that the U.S. has already survived a brutal civil war; and their thinking is that the U.S. will also survive this current civil war; only this time there will be no need for post-civil war “Black Codes”, White Citizens Councils or the Klu Klux Klan; this New Confederacy will win by relying on the lack of information and low interest on the part of the newly inducted citizens of the post-racial era. Yes folks, we are “moving on up”…. to the basement.

The “New Confederacy” IS Very Much Like The “Old Confederacy”

“The rise of the New Confederacy.”– -Colbert King/Washington Post.. 10/5/13


In this “shut-down” scenario the news media has taken the path of least-intellectual effort by promoting, to the advantage of the Republicans; the “broken politics” line. In fact I think that the reason the:  website is having so many problems is because the Democrats (including the White House) have accepted the badly organized “likability polls” (who are they polling anyway, as I suspect that a large number of people who don’t have health insurance, also don’t have home phones) that say that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is unpopular; and so the site was not properly prepared for what is a very popular program. When there is very little knowledge, and a great deal of confusion as to the “true” name of a bill how can the “poll” results be trusted? When people can say all of the parts of the ACA they like; but don’t like the sum of the parts called “Obamacare”; something is missing. When they say that: “they don’t like Obamacare”, and yet; they “do like the Affordable Care Act”; something is very wrong here. The news media has shed more confusion than clarity, by pretending that the ACA is not settled law; that “hostage taking” is in fact a legitimate approach to how bills and laws are created in a democracy. And that is why I am glad that Mr. King has broken ranks with his professional journalism collogues; by speaking truth to the pitiful and petty minded in our Nation. Why can’t “objectivity” simply mean telling the truth? Stating the obvious? Abstain from creating false equivalencies? And most important: Definitely touch that third truth rail of Race. Yesterday I saw three Journalistic events that compare and contrast greatly with Mr. King’s editorial offering. In many ways these three events speak to and represent where we are journalistically with this “shut-down”. (1) Watching a clearly pained and restricted CNN’s Don lemon (I actually felt his pain) listen to what was clearly absolute foolishness spouted by a leader of the Tea-Party; you could see in Mr. Lemon’s body language that he wanted so much to say: “Sir, with all due respect, one-half of what you just said is not true, and the other-half does not make a bit of sense; I am sorry, but you sir, are a dangerous fool.”  I guess it’s hard out here trying to be a good journalist; and I imagine that this shut-down must be an extreme challenge for thoughtful and intelligent journalist like Mr. Lemon, who are forced to stake a line of inquiry on a false middle-ground; and it can’t help that the Republicans daily change the location of where that false ground is to be (2) I Watched Washington Week, hosted by Gwen Ifill when another interesting event took place. Ms. Ifill turned to CNBC’s John Harwood who opened his comments (paraphrasing here) with: “First, we must be truthful about who caused this shut-down….”; well, Ms. Infill quickly switched the topic and commentators; her quick action mirrored the earlier moves of (3) Judy Woodriff who repeatedly tried to shift the “Brooks and Dionne” conversation segment of the NewsHour to fit the PBS party line of: “A broken Washington, where both sides are equally at fault.” But David Brooks to his credit would have nothing of it; he would not sell out his intellectual capability or integrity. He repeatedly stated the obvious, that the Republicans artificially, misguidedly and wrongly created the present shut-down crises.


The Rise and Fall of the “New (old) Confederacy”?


  If I had a Pulitzer vote to offer, Mr. King would get it for this brave sample of truth telling. The national news media has perpetuated a false narrative of “broken politics” because there is no one in an editorial leadership positions who can say: “Wait, why are “both sides” equally guilty?” And; “Why must the president “negotiate” away the essential parts of his presidency, in the doomed hope of placating a group who will only be satisfied when both Mr. Obama and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are completely delegitimized and destroyed. Who negotiates their own destruction? The only thing missing from Mr. King’s opinion piece is that this “New Confederacy” also does not accept or recognize the legitimacy of a Black President. Political differences alone don’t explain why a string of Senators, Governors, House Representatives and local elected officials would go to such an extent to hurt their own uninsured constituents; who are now “gathered” inside of extreme racially concentrated communities. These elected officials can deny these communities access to affordable health care; by labeling it “Obamacare” (meaning: “Obama-scare”) ; and then hope that the “lesser angels” of race hatred in the hearts of these constituents, can overcome their instinctive sense of survival. In many ways this strategic battle plan of the “New Confederacy” is the same as the one utilized by the “Old Confederacy” where wealthy landowners convinced young White men to fight, die and lose a war for: “our” state’s right to exploit other human beings; for the protection of “our” (White) way of life. Little did those confederate soldiers know that slavery actually depressed and restricted their wages and employment opportunities; hindered the South’s evolution into modern industrialization. That slavery artificially created a class of humans who held a status lower than their own; and yet did nothing to elevate the quality of life for the White southern impoverished masses. There is a long heritage of denial through legal and physical violence visited upon the southern Black citizenry that has created a false sense of superiority and progress. This deadly fever would be broken by the civil rights movement; which essentially save the south from itself.  And so, then and now the south finds itself struggling to emerge intellectually, educationally, culturally and spiritually with the rest of modern America. The low information confederate soldier, like the Tea-Party grunts of today; are very much used and exploited as history fillers. They are the last “Gerry-manned” line of defense in a war against sanity and modernity. The new and old confederate troops have much in common; and one of those things, is that they are going to lose. In this case it will not be a Gettysburg type great battle; rather this will be a matter of education, demographics, geographic’s and the march of history. Black people are not returning to the back of the bus; women are not going to relinquish the control of their bodies; gay people are not going to pretend that they don’t exist. And just as a reluctant President Lincoln had to fight the first civil war and win; America must fight and win this second civil war; we must remove the spiritual infection of dream denying; the: “I win when you lose”; the attempt to halt human evolution and development, if we ever hope to realize our true potential as nation.


“The rise of the New Confederacy.” -Colbert King/Washington Post

The Political Art of Hostage Taking: The capacity to inflict great fear and harm on the innocent.

“…. In every “hostage taking situation”, there is an understandable wariness; a wanting to see an end to it all; a desire to settle at any cost; to cut a “deal”, no matter that the deal will not guarantee the return of your love one to you safely; or signifies an end to hostage-taking. There is the strong urge to surrender to the reality that the perpetrators of this dastardly act, have power over something you love so dearly, both you and the captive are in a sense hostages.  And so the power of the hostage-taker is their power to impose fear; but their greatest power awaits them. For as the ransom payment is made, they can choose not to return the victim safe (if at all); or more importantly “hostage-taking” as a standard method of  communication/negotiation, will become the preferred method of the perpetrators; and why not? It works! I must confess that as this “shut-down” continues day to day; my great recurring fear is that I will wake up one day to read  that the Democrats have “caved” and dismantle what is perhaps the best opportunity to get uninsured Americans into  a life-saving health care delivery system…”

Many in the news media and “the professional talking-heads class” are heavily invested in the building and maintaining the false narrative of a: “broken Washington”….”Why can’t they just all get along?”  And of course this approach is most effective with low information citizens who have been sold the idea that survival in a culturally changing America means that you must vote and support a party; even if that party (Republican); operates against their own interest. They have purchased the idea that the source of their trouble whether it is no health insurance, no job, no opportunity to better their lives, is due to the fact that darker, poorer and Spanish speaking Americans are getting things for free. This news media driven story-line is like a boxing promoter trying to convince, and “hype-up” the potential pay-for-view customers. It is a false equivalency of dysfunction that allegedly is fueled by partisan politics. The family of the person taken hostage is asked to negotiate unrelated and unreasonable demands; without the guarantee of having their love one returned to them.  And this is why; like a good counter puncher, Senate majority leader Harry Reid offered a very appropriate response to what was indeed a very unintelligent question from a CNN reporter. The question concerned a single person harmed by the shut down when in fact millions are facing harm; to a lesser are greater degree; because of this purely manufactured tragedy. He is right, why; I imagined Mr. Reid thought, contribute to, and become part of, Republican political theater. Could you just imagine for a moment that if Mr. Romney won the last presidential election; which could have been said to represent a national repudiation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). And then the Democrats  say: “well, we will shut down the government if we don’t get an ACA bill”; now that would be broken politics; where one side refuses to accept the outcome of a presidential election. In every “hostage taking situation”, there is an understandable wariness; a wanting to see an end to it all; a desire to settle at any cost; to cut a “deal”, no matter that the deal will not guarantee the return of your love one to you safely; or signifies an end to hostage-taking. There is the strong urge to surrender to the reality that the perpetrators of this dastardly act, have power over something you love so dearly, both you and the captive are in a sense hostages.  And so the power of the hostage-taker is their power to impose fear; but their greatest power awaits them. For as the ransom payment is made, they can choose not to return the victim safe (if at all); or more importantly “hostage-taking” as a standard method of communication/negotiation, will become the preferred method of the perpetrators; and why not? It works! I must confess that as this “shut-down” continues day to day; my great recurring fear is that I will wake up one day to read  that the Democrats have “caved” and dismantle what is perhaps the best opportunity to get uninsured Americans into  a life-saving health care delivery system. As an educator; over the years, I encountered many working-poor families who did not have health insurance. Families, who lived for years on the margins of a wealthy and endowed nation. They were just one catastrophic accident or illness away from financial ruin. Fortunately I worked at a school that took extraordinary steps to bridge the health care gap, by connecting many of our families to community based health resources; and even bringing in medical support specialist including dentist and medical doctors into the school. But we were unable to help our uninsured parents who lived in fear of a debilitating injury or accident that would drive an already fragile family financial situation into chaos. If and when these folks were forced to seek medical care it would take place in the emergency rooms. Primary preventative health care did not exist for these people. There were also many who were afraid to even go to the emergency room, because of their “emigration status”. No one can convince me; based on my personal experience that health insurance is not a good thing. And yes good health care like good housing, food and retirement income is something we should want for everyone. I found myself agreeing with Alex Baldwin; in his Tweet asserting that  particular professional “talking heads” (he called them’ White guys’ not me) like conservative Bill Kristol have the luxury to be casual and cruel about the importance of access to health care insurance; because they are so removed from struggling Americans who don’t have it; removed from people for whom the emergency room doctor is, their primary care physician.  But will the Democrats stand firm? And it is at these moments that I reference a painting, sculpture poem, book, dance, play or film. In this case, it is the film Apocalypse Now, and the line delivered by the Marlon Brando character (Colonel Kurtz):

 “…..I remember when I was with Special Forces… seems a thousand centuries ago. We went into a camp to inoculate some children. We left the camp after we had inoculated the children for polio, and this old man came running after us and he was crying. He couldn’t see. We went back there, and they had come and hacked off every inoculated arm. There they were in a pile. A pile of little arms. And I remember… I… I… I cried, I wept like some grandmother. I wanted to tear my teeth out; I didn’t know what I wanted to do! And I want to remember it. I never want to forget it… I never want to forget. And then I realized… like I was shot… like I was shot with a diamond… a diamond bullet right through my forehead. And I thought, my God… the genius of that! The genius! The will to do that! Perfect, genuine, complete, crystalline, pure. And then I realized they were stronger than we, because they could stand that these were not monsters, these were men… trained cadres. These men who fought with their hearts, who had families, who had children, who were filled with love… but they had the strength… the strength… to do that. If I had ten divisions of those men, our troubles here would be over very quickly. You have to have men who are moral… and at the same time who are able to utilize their primordial instincts to kill without feeling… without passion… without judgment… without judgment! Because it’s judgment that defeats us….”


I want to be as optimistic as possible; but I am not sure as how you stop an opponent who out of hatred for, and of anything “Obama” is willing to deny his own uninsured constituents access to affordable health care. I think of the state governors channeling their civil rights blocking ideological ancestors making their last desperate stands against modernity, civility and compassion for the common person regardless of color. It is amazing; and amazingly evil in that their desire to see that Mr. Obama fail; they are willing to inflict great harm on the White uninsured in their states. They refuse to permute and/or cooperate with the implementation of the AFC (The art of “Obamascare”) in their state. One in particular Robert Bentley of Alabama a professional Medical doctor, and supposedly took some form of an oath to do no harm to people; and yet his (active) passive resistance is seeking to deprive Alabamians of the benefits of the ACA. This law (with or without Obama’s name attached to it), could increase access, and dramatically reduce the health care cost to Alabamians in and outside of Medicare. Most importantly, the AFA would go a long way in improving the general overall quality of health and well-being in a state with so many uninsured  people struggling with chronic diseases. Many of these unfortunate citizens; like the poor and uninsured everywhere, will seek health intervention and relief in the most expensive place the emergency room; at the point when their affliction will perhaps be in a very advanced stage. The cost of this most expensive stage of health care for the uninsured will be passed on to the taxpayers. To have the “will” to inflict harm on an entire state; and also know that this harm will fall, not just on the Black uninsured, but also on the “gerrymandered” citizenry that you have taught to fear progress; does indeed take some type of strength and commitment to do some harm. The Democrats need to at least match their level of  intensity in fighting for the poor and uninsured. In the Art of hostage taking, fear is the weapon of choice for the hostage-takers; as is their capacity to inflict great harm on the innocent. But this can be countered by the courage to defend those innocent Americans with extraordinary efforts. And, to listen to the words of a previous president who introduced many social security benefits we now take for granted;  defeat only occurs with the surrender to fear.