As I approached the 96th street station I saw that part of 97th street was cordoned off by a blue "Police Line Do Not Cross" barrier. This was right in front of a school, and there were what seemed to be hundreds of children in the street. I immediately thought that something had gone horribly wrong, perhaps even a school shooting, but as I approached the kids I realized that none of them looked particularly traumatized or upset. In fact they were playing, some jumping rope, some playing soccer, and a large group playing tag between the parked cars. I soon put together what was going on, these kids were on recess from their school and their playground was...a blocked off city street. This struck me as mind-boggling. When I was in elementary school we had a rubber covered playground in back of the school, walled off from the city and full of jungle-gyms, seesaws, handball courts and the like. In High School we had a courtyard that consisted mostly of basketball courts, but was fine for handball or even football if it wasn't too crowded. These kids were left with...a street?
As I walked through the crowd of children, watching them at play, a young boy, probably around 11 or 12, ran by me playing tag. He dodged between two cars and promptly tripped over a concrete tree planter, falling to the ground and whacking his head on the sidewalk. He tried to get up and a trickle of blood fell from the back of his head. I almost stopped to help, but some of his playmates ran up, helped gather him to his feet, and took him to see a supervising adult. I continued on to the subway with considerably less concern for my feet.
Let me say upfront that I think it's criminal that these kids are forced to play in the street. It's not safe, it's not well-designed for recreation, or designed for recreation at all. I can't imagine an excuse for a society as wealthy and productive as ours to treat our children with such disdain and respect. Watching that boy fall I couldn't help but think about all the anti-tax crusaders, those who think that the highest moral claim is for people to "Keep the money they earned." There has never been a point of view that stank more heavily of bullshit.
Nobody in this country has made it on their own. How many of the so-called "Self made millionaires" owe their success to the land-grant universities or the GI bill? How many have relied on an educated and healthy populace to work in their factories and research labs? We are all part of the same society and as we reap the benefits of it we owe it to that society to pay back into the public coffers in accordance with our abilities to do so. I have no use for those who would rather buy a third Hummer than give a child a safe place to play. None. There is no excuse for it and I don't want to live in a world where people pretend there is. The fact that I have to is one of the great sadnesses of my life.
The conservative and libertarian positions are ultimately devoid of morality or reason. They are based purely in greed and the desire to debase one's fellow man in order to enhance one's sense of personal worth. A rising tide does lift all boats, but the conservatives make the claim that rising boats lift the tide. That is a patent falsehood. I am tired of pretending such ideas have merit or moral standing, they do not. Anyone who considers himself a Christian should want to do whatever he can to help the least among us, to make sure that a poor boy in Public school does not have to play in a dangerous street or "learn" in a bathroom stall because of lack of classrooms, or miss school for weeks because he cannot afford to see a doctor. Anyone who cares about humanity should want that as well. Libertarians are the epitome of inhumane. They would have it that a rapist can simply pay his victim money and walk away a free man to rape again (if he can afford it.) They want financial aristocracy established and they want it now.
Those who claim that Liberals should not impose their views on others are dead wrong. We have all benefited from liberal policies. Those of us who believe differently than what the majority would have us believe and want the right to worship (or not) as we see fit? Liberals to thank. We have liberals to thank for the fact that we do not have to bow our heads to royalty (Yet, give the Bushie Bushie fanatics 30 years.) Liberals to thank for science and technology. Liberals to thank for this country itself. Thomas Jefferson was no more a conservative than Paul Wellstone.
It is time for action. I can't comfortably sit on my large ass and do nothing while young boys endanger their health in savage streets so that billionaires can have property and money to build sports stadiums for corporate clientele on the public dime. I can't deal with this corrupt selfish 'morality' and the greedy motherfuckers who would rather they have a billion dollars and someone else have none than they have half a billion and the other person have...enough.
What can be done? I do not know. It's gnawing at me right now. I keep seeing that boy and I keep worrying about his friends and his future and if he has to play in the street then what is he learning in that horrible school, brought low by the indifference of the hellish ruling class and the tainted hateland called "The South." A land built on slavery and oppression has failed to raise itself from its base roots. Am I the only one who thinks that America would be better off if we'd let the shitty little rebels form their own little shitty country of morons and fanatics, instead of outbreeding us and trying to take over ours?
On the ride home from work a woman started preaching on the train. She was chattering on and on about how salvation comes from Jesus and how only through loving him can you avoid hell. What kind of fucked up sick motherfucker creates an entire wonderful world, puts living breathing thinking creatures in it, and then wants them to attend ONLY to him and will torture them for eternity if they don't, but fails to communicate this directly, instead sending ONE dude down 2000 years ago to talk about it for like 3 years? Even if I believed in god I would tell him to go fuck himself on principal alone. I almost said "FUCK JESUS" in the train, but I was too tired and I hadn't eaten so I didn't want to get into a fight. I regret it though.
The experience has inspired me to write a short script that I shall probably send to Robert Peate because I think he would get a kick out of it, if he wants to see it.