which inspired me to organize my thoughts a little.
I often thought, and said, that we should have a strong social safety net because, all ethics aside, when economic structures are top-heavy, societies turn into enclaves of a very few rich people behind barbed wire, and everyone else, who deals with significant crime and a lack of opportunity. I didn’t want to be right about this, but seeing the anger, that has always been there, plus no school, no jobs, people finally have time to think more about how they’ve been treated, and what that means. Particularly when the people who are pulled back to work, and pulled into danger, are people who are disproportionately black.
I’ve spent many years trying to explain racism and its effects, and plenty of people are not interested. The more time has gone by, the more I have understood that white Americans genuinely see people who are black (particularly if they do not work hard to present themselves as allied with the middle class) as odd, scary, and in many ways, past help.
I told you college was cheaper than prison. I told you that even at the school where I taught, with great amounts of support for students, they were significantly held back by a lack of funding and opportunities. Public colleges are public in name only. Some places in our country used to have actual public universities, by which I mean: tuition free.
Could the financial chaos happening now have been softened or even prevented by making sure everyone made a living wage, everyone had public education offered to them from preschool through college?
If we had excellent public transportation, so that a car problem didn’t immediately mean potential job loss, and a snowball of financial crisis, would this be happening in Kansas City?
It’s not just that I’m a bleeding heart liberal (which I am) or that I’m not ethically firm in my conviction that the government must provide a base level of services to all Americans, but it’s actually cheaper. Crime is expensive for a society. Riots are expensive.
Financially and emotionally, they are expensive.
Would this have happened if Hillary had been elected? I don’t think so.
Would this have happened if Trump had been removed after impeachment? I don’t think so.
Knowing your president supports racists has been deeply wounding people for years.