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Why Are Our We Being Targeted for Loss? Part I

Poor choices, proposed budget cuts threaten to put a lot of future adults out on the street to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy

By Frankie Firme, Contributing Editor
Published on LatinoLA: June 7, 2017


Why Are Our We Being Targeted for Loss? Part I


¡Orale, Mi Gente!

It's taken me a minute or two to contain my anger and frustration at our current political situation, and although I've been in some lively debates, conversations, disagreements and even arguments on the pro's & con's of all perceived sides of the issues, I have hitherto refrained from writing any political commentary for a couple of years here on LatinoLA , especially during our last U.S. Presidential election leading up to now.

...Some of those written before the final results are now humorous, if not cryptic...

Considering myself as an educated Chicano de Aztlan, having lived through tough times, the Civil Rights Movement, Chicano Moratorium, Viet Nam War, streets and jails of Los Angeles with a touch of substance abuse history, 2 tours of military duty with 2 different branches of the U.S. Military, and over 40 years in the adult working world as a Mental Health Professional concurrently with 25 years in the music business, and 17 years as a published writer & author, I find that my point of view is unique in that it interests and motivates some people, while also annoying and disturbing (outright pissing some off!) others....but I will still thank you all who read my pieces and form an opinion in our (still) FREE society.

I will break my self-imposed rule for this brief series of connected pieces, as I feel some things NEED to be said, and I invite any and all responses...just please be respectful. Thank you.

Here's the first part:

As a father and now grandfather, I have always held my children's and grandchildren's education as an important part of life, if they are to survive life....which, unfortunately is much harder for children of color, be it Brown,Black, Red, or any other non-white skin color, who will grow up to be uneducated adults in our currently tumultuous world if not encouraged.

Seeking a higher education has helped me throughout my life, but it has not been without struggles and sprinkles of bullshit!

One need to only take a cruise through the streets of downtown Los Angeles and outlying neighborhoods to witness the growing number of homeless and destitute...most of them minimally or moderately educated and unable to afford sustainable jobs that can afford rent...

...and they are ALL Americans! Some are honorably discharged Military Veterans that served our Country proudly! ¿Como Chingas? (i.e., WTF?)

As a Mental Health professional for the past 38 years in both the private and public sectors, I have personally witnessed and can confirm the published studies (doesn't really take any genius) that the majority of individuals that live life on the street, involving themselves in substance abuse, crime, dependence on public services, including jails and mental hospitals, are a majority of people that our educational system failed over the past few generations.

I have personally noticed over the past 20 years, that many young people are simply giving up on trying, stop "giving a damn" and develop an evil and manipulative attitude, and many admit never really have been "pushed" or motivated to succeed during school age, thus see no need to push themselves as adults now...many have turned to substance abuse and suicide as final solutions...mental and emotional helplessness and dysfunction is almost inevitable for many...being poor ain't fun in today's World!

Despite what the so-called "Christian Right" says or tries to imply, all people of all races of all walks and stations of life are capable of breeding ... and no amount of damning or laws or impoverishing or punishment will ever change that, and they will continue to breed and multiply!

Yes, indeed!...ugly as it sounds, with some exceptions, poor people make more poor people, drunks and drug abusers make more drunks and drug abusers, rich people make more rich people, angry people make more angry people, and uneducated people make more uneducated people....and all races are in the mix, many interbreed, and we all live in the same world !

Education = Money = Success and Benefit = Increased Privilege = Eventual Voluntary Segregation based on wealth.

Education is a bigger weapon in life than many realize until it's too late!...ask any homeless or poor person.

I remember as a youth in elementary school growing up in La Puente, California in the mid-1960's (it was pretty much Anglo majority populated back then), many of us Latino & Black kids that didn't "act white" to teacher's standards (i.e.shut up, don't make noise or ask questions, don't dress well, can't speak English well, etc) were relegated to the back of the classroom, where they became behavior problems out of boredom. They were simply tolerated,or sent out of the classroom for "time out". They were passed to the next grade without question, many of them ("us") joined gangs in response to our social & educational disenfranchisement.

My only advantage was that my parents & other Adult family members pushed education out of a lament at how they have been treated as a result of minimal education and low wages, and their constant encouragement for me & my brothers & cousins to "Do better"...

I was bullied and treated with disdain by white teachers and peers which brought out the "fight back & need to get even" in me, and I loved to read & write despite being discouraged....how I wish I would have had the insight and courage to encourage some of my young Chicano & Black peers to join me back then.

As we progressed through Jr High School & High School, many of these kids, my childhood peers, were placed in what was then called "remedial classes" with low standards,and ultimately graduated...I was lucky not to be in those classes, but I watched as many of them were deemed "incorrigible" and frequently suspended or expelled for standing up for themselves being proudly Brown or Black during the birth of the Civil Rights movement, not realizing they were getting ripped off for a public education...while a lot of the white guys got the "boys will be boys" breaks and allowances.

Many of the guys were drafted and sent to Viet Nam, or incarcerated at an alarming rate more than our white peers. Many of the girls became teenage mothers..

As the years passed, after I served 5 years in the Marines and graduated from college a couple years afterwards, I would visit the old neighborhood over the years and see these childhood peers, now adults, relegated to begging and living in the street shortly before some of them died at a young age from substance abuse...and then I ran into a couple of white guys who I remember got all the breaks & privileges denied to me, were college educated and doing well in life...and they were surprised that I was now one of their educational and vocational equals...just Brown and ready to whup their ass if they tried any of the childhood disrespect they gave me!

...I finally got "even" !...and I have been privileged to have made a lot of White, Black, and Asian friends in my lifetime, based on mutual respect that I AM SOMEBODY !

The educational system has improved in California since the 1960's, with more people of color achieving higher educational standards and attending college successfully, thus joining the higher levels of the working, law enforcement, military, financial, and political world...

...much to the chagrin of some people who feel America needs to revert to "Being great again" by eliminating many educational programs and privileges that have given people of color equal footing in America, thus a gradual & unfair redistribution of the Country's wealth to a privileged and select few, while putting White people back in charge & control of everything Governmental...and THAT that spoils my view of the not too distant future.

We have a person, and persons, who have been given the charge of our nation's educational system, thus YOUR children's future, despite having NO qualifications, NO experience, or NO expertise in the educational field at all that would make their appointment intelligently acceptable.

Her only reason for Betsy DeVos being appointed as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education is that Betsy DeVos's family made a quarter million dollar campaign contribution to Donald Trump, who reciprocated by giving her the task of "dumbing down" America by appointing her to head a massive Government department, a task neither of them have any clue or knowledge about !

Having attended elite expensive private schools all her life, and having inherited a vast family fortune, never struggling, never going without anything, Betsy DeVos has NO IDEA the struggle many Americans of color struggle with to get an education that will assure them a comfortable adult life for them and their children.

...there's a FEW exceptions, of course, but they don't wish to share the wealth when THEY "get there"! (Orale, como Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, et al.)

Our current Presidential Administration has proposed massive Tax cuts in the future national budget....of which the Government taxes Americans of all 50 American states, and collects TRILLIONS of dollars every year to support this budget. Sounds good, but who will benefit from these tax cuts ?

These "Tax cuts" represent loss of revenue to the Government kitty, so cuts in programs and services provided to and for Americans need to take place in order to make up for that loss of revenue....SOMEBODY has to pay for their executive Government privileged lifestyle, and it sure ain't gonna be the Government!

Unfortunately, our current Government is now headed by a group of white, older, rich businessmen who have NO idea what it's like to experience tough times or struggle. They have led a life softened & sheltered by white privilege with racial discrimination in their favor, double standards in their favor, and minimal obstacles in life in the real world, and they don't intend to start "making things even" with women and minorities now, or give up any of it's power and entitlements, let alone share!...heaven forbid a person of color become President of the United States...

...OOPS! That already happened, and he just happened to be an educated African American attorney, married to an educated & beautiful African American attorney, both from prestigious AMERICAN universities!

Damn them minorities are getting educated! See what happened, Donald?

Same goes to say about our current college & university system, which has imbued itself with high salaries, benefits, perks and privileges for administrators who continue to raise tuition costs, making higher education further out of the each of working class people and low income people....only the rich will be able to send their kids to colleges & Universities in the future.

Recently, the University of California system was busted for harboring a $20 million dollar "slush fund" for administrators!

BUSTED!!...but nobody criminally charged!

Governor Brown appeared to be publicly "outraged", and vowed to correct this, and hold somebody accountable for more than an apology!...let's see what happens...call or write his office and ask! Please!

Some will make an absurd allusion to the student loan program...puh-leeze!!!
Do you know how many years graduates are saddled down with re-paying the loans with it's multi-tiered interest, como our compadres the IRS? (another story despues...)

Betsy DeVos, who attended elite private schools & colleges all her young life, paid for by her rich family, has NO idea what it's like to work to make a living, even AFTER getting a substantial education....so...what does she want to do?

...she has proposed cutting the student loan forgiveness program, many grant programs, and increasing the interest on student loan programs, which will of course increase the profits of the college/university/lending institutions...

...she has also proposed eliminating public education, art programs, music programs, school meals, after school programs, Head Start programs, after school sports programs, funding for new books and improved school facilities, increased teacher salaries & benefits....all in the name of "needed tax cuts" to help support other needed programs, while directing people to private for profit charter schools that not everybody is eligible for.

What better way to control people than to kill their ability to think clearly, logically, independently, and abstractly?

How else to stifle creativity, and the development of new ideas, talent, new perspectives, and an appreciation for the differences and beauty of our World, thus our continued evolution, than to eliminate art & social programs for the young?

How else to deprive a people of a culture, traditions, and history...thus historical corrections needed for future society and the survival of our species, than to deny us education and truth?

What in the World, what in heaven or hell, what in anybody's rational adult mind could be more needed, more important, more substantial, than the education and future investment of the children of this Country who will inherit and maintain our civilization ?

Well...that's my current political rant (cleaned up at frequent intervals, (sans the vitriol)

Hope it has stirred up something in you! I invite you to share & comment!

I am not suggesting race wars, social revolution, or violence...just asking that you consider what has been said here, discuss with people you like & trust, and make moves to insure the education of children...for all of our sake.

I am also very upset at the current state of affairs with the much needed and well deserved U.S. Veteran's Benefits Programs...but that's another story coming soon!...

About Frankie Firme, Contributing Editor:
Frankie Firme is the Al Capone of the microphone and The Hitman of West Coast Chicano Soul, heard daily in World wide Internet Radio station www.eastLArevue.com , and is a regular contributor to this fine web magazine since 2001.
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