The Revolution Has To Start Here — For New York City Teachers

I received one of those change.org petitions tonight. It said that Bill DiBlasio, the mayor of New York City was proposing a massive and heinous cut to the school department. I don’t know much about New York City or its budget, or even its teachers, though I do know one. What I do know is right from wrong, and national politics, and how things are going in this country I once loved. The bleeding needs to stop. The revolution in how we view each other and how we value each other — the acknowledgment of real heroes — needs to start now. This is not the way to do it.

If there’s one thing that this crisis has made clear is who honestly works hard for society, and who wants to claim America’s wealth via stealing from others — not just money, but power in so many areas of our lives. We have seen that doctors, nurses, EMTs are willing to die to save others in society. Many parents have seen just how hard it is to teach children first hand. We will see social workers and therapists picking up the pieces of it all. Is it too much to ask that their value come in the form of being able to eat, have a place to live, and see their kids in the same day? We need to start valuing the helping professions more than we do those who sell stocks. We need to value the honest and caring more than the corrupt and self-serving, and we need to start now.

I don’t actually blame Mr. DiBlasio for the problem of a budget crisis. I blame that on Mitch McConnell and the Republican establishment in deeply red states. Places in the Deep South that proudly let their people starve so as to not make conglomerates pay taxes, places that don’t educate their children because they don’t believe in science or ‘liberal views”, like equality and rights have the wrong model. It doesn’t work for most people in those states and it has led us here as a country, with its hatred or misunderstanding of science, a love of blind loyalty over critical thinking, and now 70, 000 dead.

Mr. McConnell has made it clear that blue states can suffer as far as he’s concerned. The man who runs the country at this point wants to foment those divisions, and Mr. McConnell’s beliefs about the way things should be go right along with it. The answer is not what we have been trying since “trickle down economics” came to the fore. The answers are not found in less education in those red states or in any state. The answers that we need to survive are found in more education, more belief in science, more critical thought, and more creativity. Education offers all of those things. Just because McConnell doesn’t like it, and That Guy in the White House doesn’t read doesn’t make this any less true.

What I do blame Mr. DiBlasio for is buying into the forced choice that McConnell and his ilk have been pushing for years: we can’t seem to find money for programs that promote kindness or support people who do most of the work on a day-to-day basis, but we can always find money for wars and CEO’s salaries. After the federal government steals PPE and then charges exorbitant rates to hospitals and municipalities in blue states and cities that That Guy doesn’t like is not the time to give up on justice or intelligence.

The answer is to make a stand for justice, and to model kindness and intelligence that comes through conscious decision-making. The answer to this crisis is to return the country to a blue majority where we value people’s lives and the education needed to meet the challenges in life. The money will be returned to the majority of people if we get it back from the thieves who have profited from the pandemic and every other ill-gotten gain of the last 40 years, That will only happen if more of the people are represented in the halls of power. Democrats are working to make that more likely.

In a world where politics, greed and theft determine so much, we are witnessing the last bid of the corrupt and greedy to own it all. We must not let that happen. I believe we won’t let it happen come the fall, but the revolution of kindness and thought needs to start in the city with the most people in it. That, of course,is New York City. We cannot succumb to ignorance and greed. It will only teach people that selfishness is more important than other people, and we have had enough of that lesson to last us a lifetime.

So, Mr. DiBlasio, I beg you to support teachers and students in your fair city. I beg you to make choices for free thought and people’s lives by paying your teachers, your school staff, and others what they are worth. The pandemic has shown us what teachers are worth, and how important education is. Make a stand and fight for it. Thank you for your time.

Resisting with Peace,

John Madsen-Bibeau

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