In seven days, my family and I will return to our home town, to spend the summer between the ending of one school year to another. As an expatriate American living abroad, it pains me to see my country so inflamed by institutional racism that has yet to be reconciled: Ferguson, Baltimore, South Carolina. It is a septic wound that prevents the underlying principles of our democracy from fulfilling the dreams of our founding fathers. Add to the flames the rampant attack on the poor, and what gels is a concoction of inequity, injustice and incomprehensible sadness that seeps into the vast majority of families living on the edge trying to survive.
This attack on the most vulnerable of our society is nothing new nor is it uniquely American. In 1729 satirical writer Jonathan Swift, wrote the famous essay
A Modest Proposal:
For Preventing The Children of Poor People in Ireland
From Being A burden to Their Parents or Country, and
For Making Them Beneficial to The Public
In the essay, he proposes a the grotesque butchering of Irish children and to use them as a commodity to feed the masses. He sought to bring to light the plight of the exploited Irish people in this highly absurd proposal.
You see, the objectification of a group of “unwanted” people in a society allows institutions to be excused for inexcusable behavior. We have seen this narrative played out time again, in countless countries. It is a variation on a theme of death and destruction swept away under the guise of the one time occurrence or a single aberration of a mentally unstable person or group of people. After each incident people cry out and our officials promise that it will never happen again. Yet it does.
Despite all of our advances since emerging from caves, as species we have equally advanced our expertise of exploiting our fellow sisters and brothers in the most despicable and subtle ways.
For over twenty years, I have worked as an educator. I have intentionally sought to bring light on the issues that tear the fabric our communities at home and abroad. I would be remiss if I sat idle and did not add my voice to the dedicated people who fight for justice and equity. Do not lose hope even in the face of insurmountable odds. It is only through dialogue and a commitment towards change that anything good happens in the world. I head into a tempest, as my country loses it temper.