Blog or Not?

A statistically improbable polymath's views on politics and culture.

Monday, April 28, 2003
In response to Yglesias's "The Forgotten Issue"

I have a dream.

I have a dream of a day when a Democratic presidential candidate stands up in front of a big ballroom full of reporters, retorters, and campaign supporters and says:

"Let us all admit that the phrase 'local control' is to school inequity as 'states rights' is to segregation: Under the guise of protecting the federalist system of government, those who advocate these measures are in reality trying to perpetuate inequality in perpetua.

Let us tear down this structure of spending, this allocation of monies according to the wealth of the community, which has forced our great universities who wish to correct historical injustices by a system that has fostered resentment and suspicion of those whom the system was designed to help.

Let us realize that the streets of Washington Park in Chicago, South Central Los Angeles, and the South Bronx shall be filled with bloodshed and violence born of despair until the despair is lifted by the hope of education.

Private organizations; charities and universities, have tried to alleviate this despair, but they cannot go it alone. It is up to all of us to share their burden.

And what of the small, poor towns of the mountains and the prairies, where the local industries are dying? The money municipalities, states, and the federal government spend every year to keep corporations in certain locations could make the American education system the finest in the world. Our attempts to resist the displacement of factories to countries with cheaper labor is futile; the laws of history and economics are against us. So why do we squander our capital on this?

Because we--as individuals and as a nation--are guilty of a lack of foresight. It has been said that America has a short sense of history; in part, this is a good thing. It has cooled the turmoils of ethnic and intra-national conflict faster than in all of Europe. Yet we are still creatures of history, and to forget this is a grave peril.

I have a dream.

I have a dream that one day my (number of children/nieces/nephews) will be able to move anywhere in this great nation of ours and not have to worry that the school system won't teach their children to read.

I have a dream that Mississippi, that bastion of ignorance, will someday become an oasis of knowledge.

So let the clean, pure light of knowledge into every valley, crown every mountain, and sweep every prairie of this great land. Let it burn away ignorance, and hatred, and despair, and let it give hope and love to all those who receive it. And we will speed up the day when all of our children, black and white, rich and poor, will cross the stage of a high school auditorium, and receive a diploma that actually reflects a quality education."

But will this happen in my lifetime? Here's hoping.

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