Public schools are losing funds even as charter schools and private academies proliferate. Public libraries, hospitals and free clinics are being closed. Historically diverse, ethnic or working class
neighborhoods, are rapidly being wiped out, and replaced by newly fashionable enclaves for the well-heeled. What's wrong with America is what's wrong with New York!
It's more dire than just considering how, though there are many more white police officers than black, black officers are repeatedly shot by their white colleagues, while a white policeperson has never fallen from a black officer's 'friendly fire.' No, we are living amidst a 'Great Recession' second, in terms of severity, to the debacle of 1929. But what happened then, is not what's happening now. Earlier, the market crashed, millionaires lost their fortunes, workers lost their jobs, and prices, across the board, went down. Today, it seems that some of the super-rich are moderately less rich, and at every economic level, many are out of work. Yet for some reason, this time, for those who can least afford it, the cost of all life's most basic necessities have risen in a curious way, defying all reason.
So it is no matter if you are Congressman Charles B. Rangel or even Governor David Patterson, if you are among the million New Yorkers who inhabit rent-stabilized apartments, your rent, is going up! If
you ride the subway, even if you are billionaire-Mayor Michael Bloomberg, soon you will pay more for your fare and so will people who ride in taxicabs!
No doubt, this will impact those with moderate incomes far more than Mayor Bloomberg and his friends.
How is it that Wall Street bankers, who wrecked our economy to the extent of compromising national
and even global security, are still enjoying record bonus payments on top of ample salaries? How is it that our Mayor who presided over this financial mess, who underwrote the campaigns of the very Republicans who hijacked the state senate, men who have paralyzed government, a mayor, who was 'for term limits, before he was against them,' how can he be poised to win reelection? How can it not matter to 'savvy New Yorkers' that our mayor is the richest city resident or that his fortune has at least doubled since the start of his tenure?
How can it be right that the Yankees, the country's most affluent sports franchise, have gotten a billion
dollars in tax money even though ticket prices have soared and parks meant to replace open space where they built their way over-budget new stadium and parking, are still nowhere in sight? How can it be OK for the wealthy Mr. Ratner to be able to bail out of a contractual commitment to improve Brooklyn rail yards and public transit? Can victims pressured into subprime mortgages, though they qualified for conventional fixed rate instruments, get that same deal?
We live in interesting times. A great deal is at stake. Nearly a decade ago, and then again, four years later, we proud Americans had our presidential election stolen. One never heard
Senator John McCain or his cronies demand that protest be strongly lodged back then. We've much less stomach for the patriot's martyrdom since 1776, and, by-and-large, no one here takes to the streets. When some did, during the GOP convention during which Bloomberg endorsed the candidacy of George Walker Bush,
they were illegally arrested under the direct orders of the Mayor. We New Yorkers are still paying out damages to those hapless protesters who were wrongfully arrested and detained.
Some maintain that all of this is alright, because, unlike a place like Iran, no one has been shot; we have order and no one has been killed. Only this simply isn't so--- all over this city, all around our
land---people unable to afford to live free from the fear of eminent ruin or eminent domain, are suffering death in slow motion. Bereft of affordable health care, devoid of a decent place to live, watching mutely as politicians cynically 'readjust' standards to appear to be addressing their problems, Americans, New Yorkers, are not like Iranians. Even now we are not willing to march in common cause, to mount the ramparts to foster meaningful change.
But act we must, if we are to take control of our destiny and make New York and the USA, both, a welcoming place to live, even if you're not white or heterosexual or rich.