Where do we go from here?

Two topics for this post:

  1. Political segregation
  2. Public education
  1. Political segregation : I’ve read articles like this one (from 2016) and, frankly, things have gotten worse.

Yes, people eat at Applebee’s…just no one that you know.

And COVID has made things a whole lot worse.

My community: the grocery store I go to: everyone is respectful, masked up, keeps distance. So I keep gong there. I walk by an outdoor church service: everyone sitting in spaced clusters; some in their cars; respect for one another. I won’t venture into “their territory.”

And, well, they don’t exactly desire my company either.

And so I think about the election…

Back in 1988 I lived in Austin, TX and walked to work (as I do now..come to think of it..) and I remember counting the Bush vs. Dukakis signs: 21 Dukakis, 3 Bush. So I jokingly said “Dukakis will blow out Bush in Texas!”
People who knew me laughed..those who didn’t know me looked at me as if I were crazy..I smiled and said “that is a joke.”

And it was; I lived in a very liberal college neighborhood. Democrats usually won those. And in Texas, Democrats have historically (1980’s onward…post Carter days..and yes, Carter won Texas in 1976) won the deep south parts of the state (heavily Mexican) and El Paso..and often (but not always) Travis County (Austin).

Now: in Texas, the Democrat will win El Paso, San Antonio (Bexar County), Austin (Travis County), Houston (Harris County) and Dallas..as well as the deep south and the Big Bend areas…

But…but…you can drive hundreds of miles in Texas and see no support for the Democrats! True: but the Democrats dominate the big cities and THAT is one reason Biden has a shot. Yes, he is an underdog; FiveThirtyEight gives Biden about a 30 percent chance…a big turnout in the light turnout areas can help.

And it is that way in Illinois too! Chicago (Cook County) and some of the collar counties: Democrat. Other than that: purple in Rockford, Rock Island, Moline, Peoria, blue in Champaign (University of Illinois) and East St. Louis (African American) and that is pretty much it; ruby red everywhere else.

Even where I live: blue around me; red a few miles away from me.

Bottom line: sampling one’s own bubble says NOTHING about how the country, as a whole, will vote.

Yes, I still have Republican friends; the one I used to socialize with (before she moved away): atheist, pro-science, pro-public investment, pro-choice. And she was was just shocked that I am a capitalist; the difference is that I want more regulation than she does.

2. Public education
I was struck by what I was reading from parents (teachers are behind in grading turned in work) and from teachers (they are buried). Yes, things have gotten a lot worse.

And BEFORE COVID teacher training programs were drying up. New students are not attracted to them. And is it getting worse. Everyone, from school boards to parents are making demands on teachers, and their load grows and many who can leave, are leaving. I’ve had teachers tell me to discourage my kid from entering that profession.

We may be reaching a point where there will be no one to teach the students and I don’t see the will to change the system.

I think that we’ll eventually see wealthy private schools (or very wealthy public schools funded by a big local tax base) putting the money to hire the best teachers and pay them well, and no one else will get anything. I just don’t see a public will to help out the schools that don’t directly benefit the communities of others.