from "Heaven's Gate" by Michael Cimino (1980)
- John L. Bridges: It's getting dangerous to be poor in this country. Isn't it?
- James Averill: Always was.
writ, shot, cropped, and chopped by Mike Byrd
We are losing millions of our children to inferior schools and catastrophically misguided and ineffective so-called education reforms. Our schools are being destroyed by politics, profit, greed and lies….Instead of evidence-based practices, money has become the engine of education policy, and our schools are being hijacked by politicians, non-educators and for-profit operators. Parents, teachers, citizens and community elders must arm ourselves with the best evidence and take back control of our children’s public education before it is too late. We all must work together to improve our public schools, not on the basis of profit or politics, but on the basis of evidence, and on the basis of love for America’s children.
It took no courage to do what I did. Jackie had the courage. If it had been me, a white man, trying to be the only one in the black leagues, I couldn’t have done it. What he had to endure, the criticism, the catcalls — I wouldn’t have had the courage.
— Former Brooklyn Dodger shortstop Pee Wee Reese to a reporter when asked about his public support of Jackie Robinson
Old-school Democrats used to declare war on poverty and bring the powers of the state against it. New-school Democrats merely retread Republican deregulatory delusions and cloak them in “anti-poverty” language. Take President Obama’s latest anti-poverty program:
Crucially, no new federal money will be allocated.
It should come as no surprise that what might be Obama’s most significant second-term anti-poverty strategy operates through deregulation and tax breaks rather than real redistribution of wealth. The policy itself is couched in the language of individual uplift and self-reform. The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s FAQ on the policy reminds us that “there’s a basic bargain in America … no matter who you are or where you’re from, if you’re willing to work hard and play by the rules you should be able to find a good job, feel secure in your community, and support a family.”
The burden for social mobility lies firmly with the residents of the zones and, to a lesser extent, on charity and businesses. The implicit diagnosis is one of over-regulation and over-taxation, rather than structural unemployment, racism, and a hollowed-out welfare state.
Call me old-school, but I will take a weak dose of LBJ any day over a strong dose of BO.
America and most of its newspapers applauded me in Montgomery. And I stood before thousands of Negroes getting ready to riot when my home was bombed and said, ‘We can’t do it this way.’ They applauded us in the sit-in movement–we non-violently decided to sit in at lunch counters. They applauded us on the Freedom Rides when we accepted blows without retaliation. They praised us in Albany and Birmingham and Selma, Alabama. Oh, the press was so noble in its applause, and so noble in its praise when I was saying, ‘Be non-violent toward Bull Connor’ …. There’s something strangely inconsistent about a nation and a press that will praise you when you say, ‘Be non-violent toward [southern segregationists],’ but will curse and damn you when you say, ‘Be non-violent toward little brown Vietnamese children.’
Property. The whole fucking thing’s about property.
— 1st Sgt. Edward Welsh (played by Sean Penn), The Thin Red Line (written and directed by Terrence Malick)
The discourse of entitlement is a discourse of rights, of human agents claiming what’s theirs instead of asking permission from the powerful. It’s a tradition that regards paternalism and noblesse oblige as pejoratives. Dignity, not charity, is the animating principle. People earn access to the rudiments of life (food, healthcare, shelter) by virtue of their humanity. Rights language invites the beggar to rise from his knees and, without equivocation or supplication, demand his humanity be recognized. Workers are entitled to a living wage. Children are entitled to grow up free from poverty. Homeless people are entitled to a home.
— Sean Gude, In Defense of ‘Entitlements’
Ideally, what should be said to every child, repeatedly, throughout his or her school life is something like this: ‘You are in the process of being indoctrinated. We have not yet evolved a system of education that is not a system of indoctrination. We are sorry, but it is the best we can do. What you are being taught here is an amalgam of current prejudice and the choices of this particular culture. The slightest look at history will show how impermanent these must be. You are being taught by people who have been able to accommodate themselves to a regime of thought laid down by their predecessors. It is a self-perpetuating system. Those of you who are more robust and individual than others will be encouraged to leave and find ways of educating yourself — educating your own judgements. Those that stay must remember, always, and all the time, that they are being moulded and patterned to fit into the narrow and particular needs of this particular society.
— Doris Lessing, The Golden Notebook
A new sports venue presents no guarantee of urban renewal. If you doubt that, look at the scarred neighborhoods surrounding the Georgia Dome and Turner Field. That’s why the contention by [Mayor Kasim] Reed…that a new Falcons stadium will turn around the area comes off as such bunk. If the city really wanted to commit millions to develop new businesses and mixed-use development around the Georgia Dome, it could have done so without a new football stadium.
A theatrical performance or a staged confidence game requires a thorough scripting of the spoken content of the routine; but the vast part involving “expression given off” is often determined by meager stage direction …. the details of the expressions and movements used do not come from a script but from command of an idiom, a command that is exercised from moment to moment with little calculation or forethought.
— Erving Goffman, The Presentation of the Self in Everyday Life, pp. 73-74