MY TURN-Over the last seven years as I have become more and more embroiled in conflict with the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), the reaction to my allegations of endemic corruption of this public education bureaucracy has consistently been met from my American friends and colleagues with the same response, "I can't believe."
It usually stays this way until the non-believing teacher or somebody they know or love is themselves targeted for early expiration by the morally challenged people purposefully running public education into the ground for money and the further dumbing down of America- it's hard to rule, as opposed to govern when citizens actually have an education and know their rights and obligations under the constitution.
On the other hand, when I mentioned what is going on at LAUSD to my Italian now ex-wife, she matter of factly had a different take, "In Italy, we know government and anything having to do with it is corrupt, so we stay as far away from it as possible...why would you think any different?"
This is where Jimmy Stewart screwing me up comes in. I was raised watching his movies like, It's A Wonderful Life" and "Mr. Smith Goes To Washington," and in those movies and other like them, the good guys always win in the end. The message was that as the children of immigrants who came to this country to escape the corruption of the old world, we would not abide it here.
This was a country of law where the son of a Jewish immigrant named Louis Brandeis could become a Supreme Court justice in one generation, something that was unheard of in my ex-wife's Italy at any time, if one was not raccomandati or recommended by some connected family that was already in power, you didn't have a chance at upward social mobility. In human society, it seems that once the turf gets staked out, those that have it dismantle any sense of fair play to keep it for themselves and their posterity.
Will Rogers expressed the difference of America by saying, "We all couldn't make it on the first boat." if one was an indentured servant in colonial times, they could work their way out of it, buy a horse and a rifle and move across the Appalachians into the Ohio Valley and settle land that in Europe had long before been divided up.
Even as late as post WWII, Americans who couldn't make it in New York or Chicago could find the promised land in California. But as this country has filled up, the Old World reality our ancestors escaped from is becoming more and more standard operating procedure here.
Where a truck driver could own a home and be a member of the middle class when I was a kid, that American dream has not so quietly been dismantled by folks like J.P. Morgan Chase's Jamie Dimon, who should be in jail instead of having an estimated personal fortune of $400 million- and he's a piker when it come to the uber rich.
Ironically, Europeans, although presently going through significant social dislocation, are doing so because of a social contract that places the minimal well being of all citizens above the exclusive control of the upper class which has now become standard operating procedure in the United States.
For example, no conservative French or German politician would dare question socialized medicine and a social safety net where the poor and the old are secure throughout their life.
In this country, that is 27th in the world in infant mortality, an intellectually challenged product of our public education system will forcefully assert, "I don't want the government messing with my Medicare!"
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