The Color of Hope is Not Green

Mr. And Mrs. Elecpencil along with the Mac went down to Youngstown’s Chevrolet Center yesterday afternoon. We went to see, the Cirque du Soleil and truly enjoyed it.

As I have talked about in previous blogs I don’t like to go out much as events I attend are usually ruined by a force field I suffer with know as, asshole magnetism. I am generally a very tolerant person but my outings always seem to test my tolerance. At the Cirque du Soleil I was so entertained I was almost able to ignore the mind numbing mantra of one of the three elderly women sitting right behind me. From the start of the 3:30 PM show until the end at 6:15 she repeated to her friends, “This better be over by 5:30 as I’ve got somewhere to go.” My thought was why did she even come as there were other show times on other days. I did note we walked out at 6:15 and she wasn’t complaining the show lasted too long. As I said, it was a great show you should check out.

The other day I was talking with a friend that has a daughter graduating from high school this year just like my daughter the Mac. We were lamenting over what field of study is there that our kids can have any future at? If we look around at our own community we can see that industrial jobs have faded and service sector jobs don’t pay a livable wage. The steel plants have been replaced with steel bars. By that I mean the steel industry is gone and has been replaced by the prison industry. Prisons are the industry that are given by the government to the most down and out areas that really need jobs.

I recently read that over 80% of inmates have not finished high school. That’s one sad note when you think how it would have been cheaper for taxpayers if that 80%  had finished high school. It’s just not that it would have been cheaper but about the wasted lives of those behind bars and affected lives of the victims of their crimes. A good job is a great deterrent to someone ending up in prison. With the exportation of more and more of our jobs is it any wonder we have as of year-end 2007, a record 7.2 million people  behind bars, on probation or on parole. 2.3 million or more than 1 in 100 American adults are incarcerated.

Simple math tells me – education = + incarceration.

Here’s a poem I wrote a few years back about this:

The Color of Hope Is Not Green

In the classrooms

kids are watching

Channel One.

Two minutes of commercials

for every 10 minutes of news.

McDonalds is teaching

a class on nutrition

and serving Big Macs

in the cafeteria.

They’re feeding children’s bodies

and stealing their souls.

And the corporate boardroom says:

Get ‘em while they’re young

get ‘em while they’re young.

It’s all about the green

it’s all about the green.

School buildings crumble,

supplies are non-existent

and funding goes begging.

All we get from politicians

is a cultural war

pushing the Ten Commandments,

book bannings, vouchers

and phony corporate prepared proficiency tests.

All smoke screens

for the free market goal,

the privatization of public education.

The downside of capitalism

is people are expendable,

even children.

And the corporate boardroom says:

Get ‘em while they’re young,

get ‘em while they’re young.

It’s all about the green,

it’s all about the green.

After years of economic neglect,

songs of sirens from D.C. and Columbus

sing of jobs, jobs, jobs.

Then give them to our valley

on a plate,

wash their hands

and seal our fate.

They serve us the profits of crime,

the private prison industry.

Our children’s future

is in a guard uniform

or an orange jumpsuit.

And the corporate boardroom says:

Get ‘em while they’re young,

get ‘em while they’re young.

It’s all about the green,

it’s all about the green.

The government gave us no dialogue,

just a take it or leave it monologue.

Then the local government,

like all of government,

carried on their illicit love affair

with the American corporate state.

And the bandwagon of despair

had many in the community jumping on.

It was touted as a hot business

what with America’s

eye for an eye,

lock ‘em up and throw away the key,

try ‘em and fry ‘em mentality.

They even want to try

ten year olds as adults.

And the corporate boardroom says:

Get ‘em while they’re young,

get ‘em while they’re young.

It’s all about the green,

it’s all about the green.

The Christian right has a vision,

kids will turn out great

if we just put prayer in schools.

When that doesn’t change things,

they’ll put bibles in the jails

for the children who’ve committed

the unforgivable crime,

the crime of poverty.

And the corporate boardroom says:

Get ‘em while they’re young,

get ‘em while they’re young.

It’s all about the green,

it’s all about the green.

Our children’s diplomas

are self-improvement tapes

entitled, “Living with Poverty.”

as they graduate

to low paying, service sector jobs.

I want more for our area,

more for our kids,

who look to us for their future.

We’ll give them a reason to live

when we put people

before profits

and education before corporations

on that day the children will sing,

Schools not prisons,

Schools not prisons.

It’s all about the children,

it’s all about the children.

Gary Jules Devil Keeps Grinning

Mad World

Years ago I recognized my kinship with all living things, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on the Earth. I said then and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it; while there is a criminal element, I am of it; while there is a soul in prison, I am not free. ~ Eugene Debs



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