Tag Archives: Republicans

100 Days of Madness

Over the past eight years, many people blamed President Obama for the growing divide in the United States, and there is little doubt he was a party to the problem.  However, he has been gone for over 100 days, and we are more divided than ever.  In the first 100 days of Donald Trump’s madness, the nation has been besieged with riots in the streets, claims of fake news, outright lies and twists on the truth, growing threats of nuclear war, continuous Presidential tweets that reek of schoolboy bullying and narcissism, and White House jockeying that appears cloaked in scandal and coverup.  As a nation, we have watched as a once proud political party jerked the power of the Presidency from the hands of their political adversary only to become mired in madness and drown in its own vomit.

This past week, President Trump continued to pile coals on an already blazing fire when he fired FBI Director James Comey.  Whether the firing was justified or not is debatable, but the timing and how it was handled was amateurish.  In what seems to be the norm with this President, he makes decisions on the fly, loosely coordinates a cover story with his staff, and later kicks their feet out from under them when the story begins to unravel.  For example, in an interview after firing the FBI director, he acknowledged his people had not been one-hundred percent accurate in their initial portrayal of the events surrounding the dismissal.  He said he is such an active President that there is no way his people can keep one-hundred percent up to date on everything going on with his Presidency.  If that is true, he has serious communication and logistical problems with his staff; however, it is more likely his staff cannot keep up because the President’s stories keep changing.

Look at the the story behind James Comey’s firing as originally reported by the President’s spokespeople to the news media.  They initially reported the Russian investigation had no bearing on the firing whatsoever.  However, the President later contradicted them when he admitted Director Comey’s investigation into Russian interference in the Presidential election and possible White House collusion played a key role in his decision to fire the director.  We also learned the President took issue with Director Comey’s refusal to pledge his loyalty to him.  Bravo for Director Comey!  Such a request was not only unethical, but in direct conflict with the Constitution of the United States.  Like the President’s oath of office, the FBI Director takes an oath of loyalty to the Constitution of the United States and not to any individual, including the President of the United States.

The White House madness has now escalated from Russians to pledges to possible taped conversations with President Trump’s tweet to ex-Director Comey threatening the possible existence of secret tapes made of their conversations.  Maybe the President needs to study history!  In 1973, President Richard Nixon got into a hell of mess with secretly taped conversations, which led ultimately to his resignation in 1974.  Maybe the tweet was simply the President making up garbage once again – who knows!  Made up garbage certainly fits the bill for the madness surrounding a President who says whatever he feels his supporters what to hear regardless of authenticity, shrugs it off when called to task, and moves on without an ounce of accountability.  That is madness!

Some people say such madness would have never occurred under a Hillary Clinton Presidency, but I am not so sure.  If she had been elected President, I believe things in Washington would be much quieter, but I don’t believe she would have accomplished any more in her first 100 days than President Trump.  I am afraid, she would have consumed her first 100 days sitting in front of the mirror admiring the new President of the United States.  That would be madness of a different kind, but nevertheless madness.  Of course, everyone knew when Clinton and Trump became nominees for the Presidency we were in for a long maddening four years regardless of which one was elected.

JL

©Jack Linton, May 15, 2017

Jimmy Kimmel Stands Tall!

After David Letterman and Jay Leno retired from late night television, I thought the end had come for quality late night talk shows.  However, I have been pleasantly surprised by three of the four new late night hosts.  Jimmy Fallon with his boyish charm, sappy games, and decent interview skills emerged as my favorite, but to their credit Jimmy Kimmel and Steven Colbert are close on his heels.   The only miscast has been Seth Myers.  Poor Seth can’t seem to shake himself free of his old Saturday Night Live routines.  His show comes across as a SNL rerun, especially the first half of the show when his skits are often little more than SNL rip-offs down to the writing style and intonation of the delivery.

Up until a week ago, my order of preference for watching late night television was . . . .

  1. Jimmy Fallon: Fallon is a multi-talented host who comes across as extremely likeable.  He is the best interviewer of the four.  His biggest flaw is he plays it too safe, and has hit on a formula that with time is likely to grow old.  His house band, The Roots, is by far the best late night band on television;
  2. Jimmy Kimmel: Like Fallon, Kimmel comes across as approachable and likeable, which makes him a perfect late night host.  His video challenges are fast becoming legendary although at times controversial.  Unlike Fallon, he does not always play it safe.  He has been known to joust in murky waters with needle tongued jabs at politicians, but almost always with a mischievous little boy smirk on his face;
  3. Steven Colbert: Unlike Fallon and Kimmel, Colbert’s commentary can sometimes be down in the dirt mean.  He is not above outright attacks against those in the public he personally finds despicable and in need of having their faces rubbed in the mud.  Although I enjoy watching Colbert, he can sometimes go too far and pummel his audience with his personal politics.  However, there is no denying he is awfully good, especially when he is so often “point on” with his views; and
  4. Seth Myers: Seth Myers is by far the weakest of the four hosts.  His interviews are extremely thin, and as an added distraction every interview is saturated with his silly school girl giggles.  Myer’s biggest handicap is he can’t seem to shake Saturday Night Live from his system.  That is unfortunate since it is obvious the man has standalone talent.

However, that was my list several days ago.  Recently something happened that made me rethink my rank order.  No, Seth Myers was not fired.  Actually, Seth has shown some improvement, or maybe he is growing on me.  Lately, he seems to be wittier and more in tune to with his subject matter.  He is no longer simply reading jokes someone wrote for him, he is delivering his lines with authority and an underlying message that is not only funny but scary as hell.  He is still a little too much SNL, but he is growing.

However, Seth Meyer’s improvement did not cause me to rethink my list.  Jimmy Kimmel’s heart-felt message about the medical problems faced by his new born son was the catalyst behind rethinking the list.  Although critics, primarily Republicans, screamed he used his son to make a liberal political statement about Obamacare, nothing could be further from the truth.  It takes courage to put potential harm to your ratings aside and lay yourself open like Jimmy Kimmel did a few days ago on his show.  He spoke from his heart, and spoke a message that any father – any human being – can understand.  He was not speaking for The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and trying to sway political winds in favor of the embattled healthcare act!  He was not taking a political stand!  Jimmy Kimmel was speaking with the heart and voice of a father and with the passion of a human being pleading for all human beings to have compassion for those less fortunate.  He said no parent should have to watch their child die because the parent cannot afford to save their child’s life.  If that plea was political, in the name of God on High, we desperately need more such politics!

Jimmy Kimmel spoke from the heart.  Politics speaks from the pocketbook.  Jimmy Kimmel did not have to worry about paying for his son’s operation; his pockets are deep.  His plea was for those without deep pockets.  His tears were not only for his son, but for the realization that all children are not as privileged as his child.  His heart was breaking for the parents who without proper health care might have no choice but to watch their child die.  In the greatest most affluent nation on earth the health of a child – the life or death of a child – should not depend on the wealth or lack of wealth of the parents or guardians.  Thank you, Mr. Kimmel, for having the courage to publicly show your humanity.  You, Sir, are my new number one late night host!

JL

©Jack Linton, May 9, 2017

Everyone Needs a Little Christmas Magic

Christmas is a time for celebrating family and friends and extending fellowship to all.  It is a time for worship and remembering the sacrifice God made to send his son into the world.  Also, it is a time for reflection on the past year, and boy do we have a year to reflect on!  Beginning with an election campaign filled with calls for disengaging from our love affair with wealth and embracing leveling the playing field for the poor, it is a year to look back on and examine our values.  It was a year that gave support to an isolationist mentality as frustrations grew out of the uncertain impact illegal immigrants had on the economy and rising concern and fears over instability and terrorism in the Middle East.  Sometimes seemingly focused on the disenfranchisement of diversity in America, 2016 was divided by conservative versus liberal, Democrat versus Republican, Christians versus LGBT, and black versus white.  Highlighted by a Presidential election like no other in history, the year gave us reason to question our decency, sense of justice, and even our humanity.  2016 gave us a lot to reflect upon, but unless that reflection leads to lessons learned, it will be just another year to count as a year older, but no wiser.

Hopefully, during this Christmas season, we can slow down enough to realize that in spite of all our problems and differences, we nevertheless work, play, and live in the greatest nation on earth.  We are one people under one flag under God, and regardless of individual stands as conservative, liberal, Democrat, Republican, Christian, LGBT, black, or white, we are one brotherhood sharing the gift of being Americans.  As a Christian nation, we must reflect on our views of the poor, those standing at our door, and the diversity of our brothers.  We must ask ourselves if as Christians we reflect and uphold the views of Christ, who was born poor and never held a job other than as an itinerant preacher, was an immigrant taken by his earthly parents to a foreign land to escape the murderous intentions of Herod, and who as a man of God embraced lepers, prostitutes, and Samaritans.

In 2016, Americans cast enough righteous stones at one another to destroy a lesser nation.  Instead of respecting differences, “I am right; you are wrong” became a recurring battle cry across the nation.  No one was interested in hearing what anyone had to say; Americans only wanted to be heard.  That failure to communicate is still very much alive, but hopefully, the Christmas season will slow things down a bit and allow time to reflect on how we might once again learn to respectfully listen to each.  To do that, we must stop seeing and judging our fellow man as we would have him be and accept each other as who we are.  We must remember during this special season that Jesus was born into the world not to judge us, but to save us, and in turn, to save America, we must stop judging one another.

Hopefully the magic of Christmas will wrap itself around each of us during this Christmas season, and point to a much higher road in 2017 than we traveled in 2016.  If we cross our fingers, wish upon a star, and pray anything is possible.  Until then, I hope this Christmas fulfills all your dreams and brings peace, love, and joy into your life.  This is the time of year everyone needs a little Christmas magic, and I pray you find yours.  Merry Christmas, and God bless us all!

JL

©Jack Linton, December 18, 2016

 

Democrats vs Republicans vs Libertarians

A quick look at what Americans need to know:

Republicans Democrats Libertarians
Believe Nancy Reagan coined the phrase “Are you yanking my chain?” Believe Donald Trump is “Yanking our chain!” Wish “They had a chain to yank.”
Believe it takes 10 chickens to make 10 McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets. Believe chicken should only be eaten fried. Only eat leftovers.
Believe Republicans win 65% of all coin tosses. Believe 65% is the chance the Republicans have of losing the election Believe 65% of all coin tosses will land on edge unless tampered with by Democrats or Republicans.
Believe it is time for Donald Trump to be President since the USA has never had a President named Donald. Believe it is scary to imagine a Pope named Donald. Can’t follow this line of thinking.
Believe Donald Trump put the jokes to rest about his hair when he let Jimmy Fallon muss his hair on national television. Believe Fallon mussing Trump’s hair explains the sudden spike in glue sales shortly before the show aired. Believe the bigger issue is lice control.
Believe the biggest danger in the USA is electing Hillary Clinton as President. Believe the biggest danger in the USA is ingesting Donald Trump’s malarkey. Can’t believe they are not the whackos on the ticket.
Believe a 2,000 mile border wall between the USA and Mexico is the best solution to immigration. Believe such a wall would be an unfair deterrent to their voter recruiting efforts. Believe it is impossible to build a wall between the USA and Mexico since the border is only six inches wide.
Believe Democrats were behind replacing silicone breasts implants with cookie dough as part of their concerns for the ecosystem. Believe Republicans are full of hot air, but for environmental reasons, think cookie dough does rise to the occasion. Wonder what the Cookie Monster has to do with the election.
Believe there is scientific evidence to support that at any given moment, there are American men who don’t realize their fly is down. Believe Donald Trump is one of those men, but they are not sure if it is intentional or not. Are hoping both Hillary and Donald are “temps.”
Believe the letter “F” should be removed from alphabet soup to remove the temptation to spell dirty words. Believe the letter “R” should be removed from alphabet soup to make it taste better. Didn’t know anyone still ate alphabet soup.

America, the choice is yours!?

JL

Jack Linton, September 18, 2016

Warning Shot Fired at State Educators by Mississippi Legislature

After House Bill (HB) 449 in 2015 and HB 49 in 2016 failed to become law and silence state educators, the Mississippi Legislature may have delivered a coup de gras with the recent passage of HB 1643, Section 44.  Section 44 reads . . .

“None of the funds provided herein may be expended to make payments or transfers to the Mississippi Association of School Superintendents. Furthermore, none of the funds provided herein may be expended if any local school district expends any public funds to make payments or transfers to the Association.”

Over the years, the Mississippi Association of School Superintendents (MASS) has been a major education liaison between educators and the Mississippi Legislature.  After July 1, 2016, Section 44 may put an end to that relationship, but as grave as the loss of an association devoted to promoting and improving education may be, the gravest consequence of Section 44 may well be the silencing of educator voices across Mississippi.  By prohibiting payments from public funds to MASS and threatening to withhold state funds to any local district violating Section 44, the legislature fired a warning shot aimed at all state educators.  They sent a strong message that if any educator dares side or speak against them, as some superintendents did during the controversial and heated Initiative 42 campaign in the fall of 2015, there will be consequences to pay.

Bill author, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Herb Frierson, R–Poplarville, made it clear Section 44 of the bill is retaliation for what he called personal attacks against state officials by state school district superintendents during the Initiative 42 campaign.  He said, “When they attack people like that, they’re biting the hand that feeds them, and maybe the next time they need to think about that.”  However, the record supports the problem goes much deeper than Initiative 42.  Prior to the Initiative, House Education Chairman, John L. Moore introduced HB 449 in the 2015 legislative session that threatened to penalize educators $10,000 dollars for exercising their freedom of speech on school related issues.  He renewed his effort to silence educators in the 2016 legislative session when he introduced HB 49, which was basically a repeat of his failed 2015 bill.  The objective of both bills was to silence the voice of educators across the state who spoke in protest against state legislators who refused to honor the law and fully fund education.

Frierson said, “There’s very little trust between the leadership and school administrators and most of it goes back to the 42 campaign.”  He is right; little trust exists between state leadership and educators in general, and the vindictiveness of HB 1643, Section 44 will do nothing to build trust between the two factions.  The distrust between the two, which began long before Initiative 42, will only grow deeper as a result of such pettiness.  This rift began when state legislators repeatedly went back on their word to fully fund MAEP (Mississippi Adequate Education Program), and refused to work and listen to state educators on education issues.  This divide escalated with Initiative 42 when legislators placed an alternative measure on the ballot, which confused the issue and made it difficult at best for the Initiative to pass.  Trust between the two deteriorated further when legislators misled state voters with threats of budget cuts to other agencies if the Initiative passed – cuts that nevertheless became a reality after the Initiative was defeated.

HB 1643, Section 44 was a stroke of political genius.  By taking a less direct route than Moore and embedding the retaliatory action against school superintendents in the appropriations bill, Frierson kept his intentions under the radar as a part of the greater bill.  However, the impact on educators will be everything Moore hoped for, if not more.  Section 44 is most likely a death blow to MASS, and due to fear of reprisals against them, it may likely usher the end of educators speaking out for fairness, integrity, and common sense on education issues.  As Frierson would say, “If it does, it does.”  After all, why should free speech stand in the way of the greater power of the state legislature?

It is ironic some of the exact things the Mississippi leadership detests most about the federal government are forced on Mississippi citizens by the state leadership.  They detest the federal government usurping the power of local government, yet Section 44 tells local school districts how to spend local dollars.  They openly despise Common Core Standards because they argue the federal government bullied schools into using the standards or risk losing federal funds.  Doesn’t Section 44 do the same when it threatens to withhold state funds from local school districts that fail to take part in the legislature’s vendetta against the superintendent’s association?  It appears the Mississippi Legislature may be as power hungry if not more so than the federal government they rail so vehemently against.

Isn’t it also ironic America’s most basic right, free speech, is the right many Mississippi legislators want to strip from state educators?  In the United States of America (Mississippi is a part of the United States), instead of reprisals against free speech, shouldn’t there be reprisals against those who advocate such?  However, retaliation against either side will not resolve this issue.  As Frierson said the issues boil down to trust, and at this time neither the legislature nor state educators trust the other to do their jobs effectively.

After the defeat of Initiative 42, Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves spoke about pulling both sides together as a family.  That has not happened.  All anyone needs to do is examine such bills as HB 49 and Section 44 of HB 1643 to see educators are not regarded as family by the state legislature.  If they were family, legislators would be more inclined to listen to them, and not try to silence them.  However, maybe Mr. Reeves’ words were for show only, and what Frierson, Moore and many others in the legislature really want is for educators to prostrate themselves before them.  If so, who is next – small business owners?  Ministers?   Simply put, Section 44 is nothing less than heavy handed tyranny that should scare all Mississippians into waking up!

JL

©Jack Linton, June 4, 2016

Mississippi’s Once Grand Old Party has become the Sad Old Party

First the Republicans write legislation singling out one specific group, educators, to silence. Now they have changed the rules to limit debate and questions in the House! Why are the Republicans so afraid?  Are their actions so questionable that they feel compelled to silence all potential opposition?  But, maybe it is not opposition they fear, but reason!

What is going on with the Mississippi Republican Party? Why are they so set on shaping Mississippi in their image? Why does a Republican leader pen legislation that goes against the very Constitution the Republicans say they support? Why are they so insistent that only the Republican voice be heard? A state with only one voice is dangerous and borders on tyranny. Perhaps, the people of Mississippi should ask the Republicans if their intent is to serve the people or rule the people. They might be surprised by the answer, but in light of the actions of some Mississippi Republicans, their intent seems to be very clear.

State Republicans claim their goal is to save Mississippi, but who will save Mississippi from them? No one can talk to them, and you sure as heck better not talk about them! Republicans know everything, and if anyone dares believe they don’t, they will be silenced. They hate public schools, and do their best to legislate them out of existence. They are not above being deceptive to get what they want even it means duping the state’s citizens. What was once called the GOP, Grand Old Party, is now the SOP, Sad Old Party.

Lately, the Republican Party, especially in Mississippi comes across as having tunnel vision and being out of control. Some people may say I am off base, but if I am, please somebody explain to me why . . . .

  1. Republicans think they have all the answers and are reluctant to listen to anyone who actually might;
  2. Republicans want to silence those who challenge them or speak out against them;
  3. Republicans hate public schools;
  4. Republicans have little respect for educators;
  5. Republicans take from the needy (public schools) and do their best to give to the well to do (private and charter schools);
  6. Republicans use smokescreens as a tactical tool with citizens;
  7. Republicans claim absolute allegiance to the Constitution of the United States of America, yet they orchestrate bills to take away the First Amendment rights of state citizens; and
  8. Republicans always have enough money to do the things they want to do.

I am not against the Mississippi Republican Party, but the way they have been handling themselves lately, I find it hard to see how anyone who believes in personal liberties and what is right can stand by them. However, maybe, the Republicans are not guilty of any of the above, and they are simply being vilified by a few out of control bullies. Either way, a once Grand Old Party is not what it once was.

JL

©Jack Linton, PhD     February 27, 2016

Future School – Darcy’s Ashes

“Imagine with me a Mississippi where schools compete for students.”
Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant, 2016

“Bull S#$@!” Selena Smith, parent, 2036.

6:30 a.m. Thursday, May 22, 2036

A small unfinished oak box held Darcy’s ashes. Mica wiped a tear and placed her hand on the box. “Today is for you,” she said.

“Mica!” a voice called from the bedroom. “Get in here, now! You know we can’t be late.”

“Yes, Mama,” Mica answered. She kissed her fingers and touched them to the box, and ran to the bedroom.

Selena carefully brushed Mica’s hair. She dare not miss a single smoothing stroke. Her daughter’s future depended on perfection – not only her preparation for the interview, but her hair, and clothes as well. The Primary Interview Committee would be extremely meticulous; they would choose only the best of the best. “Are you nervous?” she asked.

“No,” Mica said. “Miss Brighterstar says I am ready.”

“Your teacher should know,” Selena agreed. Mica’s year one Observatory teacher raved about her academics and felt her chances for selection were better than good. It was the other factors beyond her daughter’s academics that bothered her. Factors such as raised by a single parent with a GED education and their family’s lack of standing in the community would weigh heavily in the Committee’s decision. It wasn’t right, but that was the way it was – right or wrong. She stopped combing and fought back tears. Why didn’t somebody stop them before it came to this? Near sighted politicians, old white men, grandstanding to ignorance had done this to her child. Lies too beautiful not to trust that spoke eloquently about choice and turning education over to the private sector had led America down a path of insanity and betrayal. Where was her choice as a parent now? What had involving the private sector in public education done for her child other than convert her humanity to a commodity?

Mica admired her dress in the mirror. It had been Darcy’s interview dress, which made it extra special even though the dress hem and sleeves were a little worn at the edges. The committee would never see the worn edges though; her mama hand sewed pink ribbons with neatly tied bows along the sleeves and dress hemline. She looked at the picture on the night stand next to the bed of Darcy wearing the dress minus the pick ribbons. Mama said she and Darcy could have been twins; she liked that, but she did not like the worry in her mama’s eyes.

Mama worried about the interview. Mica was not worried at all. She had been reading since age four, and although she struggled with the math introduced in year one Observatory School, she was confident she would be selected. In a class of forty students, she was the best reader and the sorting wall ranked her number two overall academically, fifth artistically, and twelfth athletically. Her best friend, Mijou, ranked number one in athletics, told her she ran like a girl. Mica was rather proud of that. She worried a little that they would most likely be sent to separate schools for their second learning cycle, but at least, they lived close enough to see each other on weekends and during holidays.

“Quit fidgeting,” her mama scolded.

Mica stood straight, and did her best to control her excitement. She could not wait to stand before the Committee. Today, she would make Mama and Darcy proud.

Selena looked at her daughter in the mirror – so brave and innocent. Darcy had also been full of bouncing confidence and innocence for her first interview. Like Mica, she was a strong student confident the Primary Interview Committee would select her. They did not. Quieter and withdrawn afterwards, she continued for six more learning cycles to prepare herself for the next interview, but she never regained the same energy and excitement she had shown for the first one. Selena did not realize the depth of her depression until a month before the Interview of Intermediates when she found her lifeless on the floor next to her bed, clutching the crumbled and worn non-selection letter from The Primary Interview Committee.

Selena blamed herself. A few months before Darcy’s interview, she learned many parents provided a dowry on behalf of their child to the committee. The dowry was not mandatory, but it was highly suggested. Her family and friends begged her to find a way to provide a dowry on Darcy’s behalf to the committee. They argued such a gift, certainly a sizable one, could make a difference who the committee selected or did not select, especially if the competition was close. Darcy’s teacher also recommended a dowry. However, at the time her meager salary barely payed the rent and utilities and put food on the table. Besides, based on her daughter’s grades and sorting rankings, she believed she was a shoo-in for selection. She would not repeat the same mistake. For the past two years, she had worked double shifts, borrowed from friends and family, and did whatever she needed to do to raise the money she prayed would make a difference for Mica. After losing Darcy, she would sell her soul to get Mica into one of the public subsidized charter schools.

Unlike public schools, the corporate charters and specialized academy charters had the best of everything – the best technology, the best facilities, the best resources, the best teachers, and the best students. These schools were the culminating victory of the Republican leadership who had pushed to privatize public school education for years. Privatization became complete in 2022 when private schools merged with charter schools to form Corporate Charters, Sports Academy Charters, and Art Academy Charters. These charters operated under private management and with private dollars subsidized by corporations and organizations such as Apple, HP, Chevron, Walmart, Disney, CNN, Fox News, NFL, NBL, MLB, Creative Artists, Paradigm Talent, and many others. With the newly merged charters on firm financial ground, the states rushed to slash public education spending. States also moved quickly to institutionalize charters as part of their publicly funded K–12 state systems. Next, they passed new laws to create equity funding formulas weighed in favor of the charters. In addition, the charters also continued to benefit from an open voucher system that originally allowed parents to redirect public school funds to the charter of their choice and then later to the charter that selected their child. Charters had every financial advantage, and they were free to develop and follow their own standards and guidelines as well, including overseeing their own accountability. All but bankrupt, public schools remained shackled by state and federal accountability as well as the double standards handed down by charter friendly state legislatures.

While the charters prospered, the public schools descended into chaos as their funding was cut by as much as half, their best teachers were recruited away, and the best students were swept up by the charters in state mandated year one and year seven selection interviews. Under a system originally established as parental choice and hailed as a potential free-market competition for students among schools, competition had ceased. In its place, a systematic means of suppression and entrapment of the poor, minorities, special needs children, and the unlucky had materialized. The American idea that “all men are created equal” lay buried under the exclusiveness of the publicly funded charter system.

Selena understood very little of this, but she understood the system had turned its back on her and her children. Education choice and selection had led to a system that catered to the white middle and upper class; a system that created a new segregated nation. The result was her children, whose only fault lay not in the color of their skin but being born poor, were relegated to second class citizens. The states may as well have posted the “Colored” signs from the mid twentieth century above public school doors. The only difference was this time such signs would read “Not Good Enough,” “Inferior,” or “Rejects.” Through the sorting process, the new American Reich culled the poor, blemished, flawed, and damaged children. The new segregation in America embraced and tolerated only perfection.

Public schools were left with the children the charter schools did not want. As a result, dropout rates soared, teachers taught from behind wire cages, and pre-teen and teen suicide increased dramatically in public schools. Instead of living the American dream of prosperity, public school children were doomed to a life of the “have nots.” For the sake of choice for a few and segregation for all, the only choice and hope for a better future for many was trampled and buried forever. The legacy of a free public education for all children, a legacy that was once the foundation of America’s greatest, lay smoldering. The ashes of children like Darcy spread across America like a cancerous sore. The epitome of political and social malpractice, K-12 public education lay in ruins.

8:30 a.m. Thursday, May 22, 2036

Mica stood before the Committee. She stood with her shoulders back and looked directly into the eyes of each committee member as her mama had schooled her. This was her day! She could feel it.

The chair of the committee smiled and said, “There’s no need to be nervous.”

“I’m not,” Mica said almost too bluntly. Catching herself, she added, “I am proud and excited to be here.” Mama would be pleased; all the committee members smiled and nodded. She grew more confident this was her day.

Selena nervously paced the corridor outside the interview hall. Every few minutes she sat in one of the folding chairs set up outside the door for anxious parents. Each time she sat, she dropped her face in her hands and cried and prayed, and then composing herself, she rose and paced some more. Exactly thirty minutes from the time she entered the interview hall, Mica stepped back into the corridor. Selena had never seen such light in her eyes.

“Mama!” she cried happily. “Mama, Mama, Mama! I did it! I know I made it!”

Selena wiped back tears and embraced her. “I am sure you did,” she said.

Mica was so excited she could hardly say everything she wanted to say quickly enough. “The people on the committee were so nice. They laughed and joked with me just like you do sometimes. One of them even said she liked my dress. They were so nice, and even funny. I had such a nice time.”

“I am so pleased,” Selena said hugging her close. “How did you do on the interview questions?”

“They didn’t ask any of the questions you and Miss Brighterstar rehearsed with me.”

Selena’s heart sank. “You were not asked any questions?”

“No,” Mica smiled. “They said they just wanted to visit.”

Selena squeezed her tighter. Tears flowed.

Mica felt her tenseness, and gently pushed back and looked at her. “Mama, what’s wrong?”

“I’m just happy,” Selena said wiping a tear from her cheek. “I love you so much, and I am so proud of you.”

Sunday, June 1, 2036

Mica did not eat for two days after the letter arrived in the mail. She stayed in her room, refusing to go out or talk to friends. When she spoke, it was only to say, “I’m sorry.” She did not cry, but blankly stared at the stack of books on the floor next to her bed. Books she had read preparing for her interview. She opened the letter and read it for at least the hundredth time.

Selena stayed vigilant refusing to leave her daughter alone for more than a few minutes at a time. She could still see her girls tearing madly into their letters when they arrived in the mail. “Thank you for such a wonderful interview,” the letters began. Selena saw the light flash in Darcy and Mica’s eyes. “We are excited to invite you . . . .” the letters continued. Tears flowed uncontrollably, as she saw her girls jumping and dancing around the room. “. . . to the Interview of Intermediates at the conclusion of your seventh learning cycle” the letters concluded.  Selena had watched helplessly as first Darcy and now Mica’s hopes and dreams collapsed and burned to ashes.

 

Give me one more chance before we crash and burn, give me one more chance before we reach the point of no return. Unknown

JL

©Jack Linton, PhD January 31, 2016