Once again a week was full of Police Violence, Gun Violence, Medical Malpractice and all that falls into the larger picture of how our society runs. And it was a week of funerals and memorials and recollections of lives lived. It was a long but busy week. And I returned to work to see that while some things change some things never do.
The never ending debate over medical care continues as ways to reduce costs and raise efficiency and in turn find insurance coverage for the great unwashed. We have gone through Medical Concierge services (do they still exist), threats to end supplements on the ACA that has enabled many to attain coverage, while simultaneously shutting out those who do not qualify and pay exorbitant coverage costs from either high deductibles, high premiums or a combo thereof. It takes only one medical bill to send one to the hospital. And this is just one of many stories about the same. And as we enter the renewal ACA phase in a couple of months this issue will not be abated. Then we have the never ending Medicare/Medicaid feud about coverage and expansion of benefits. Or just the bizarre laws and rules that have enabled hospitals to fund themselves will doing little or nothing to reduce costs and serve patients. You know like the President who does little to serve the country but plenty to serve his interests.
We have Police shooting innocent people and again the story buried was an actress who ironically was in ER the series that brought us the great furrowed brow acting of George Clooney shot and killed in her own home during a "wellness check." And here in Nashville a suicidal man was shot and killed by the police in his own home. Having been subject to one of those myself I did not touch anything in my home stood in pajamas and was scared shitless out my mind as two cops diagnosed me as depressed and having anxiety. Ya think? Death be not welcome on this mat.
Then another story of a Police seizure of property without due course or charges filed. Civil Assets Forfeiture is the biggest boondoggle and boon to local Police forces across the country. That and the act that enables them to attain military grade equipment at low prices with no training, need or even how to maintain and upkeep everything from tanks to grenade launchers. Sure what.ever.
I have written extensively on the subjects of Judicial Reform, the problems with the Medical Industrial Complex and the issues surrounding the ACA/Obamacare before and after Trump and over these past years I have seen little to no movement on any of the subjects. Some promise and some rhetoric directed to them but in reality the system in entrenched in the status quo. Perhaps a new broom will sweep it clean and maybe the women running for office around the country will bring that with them when they enter their halls of justice and disorder. Women are good at multitasking and house cleaning and working is something we are very familiar.
And speaking of great women the four days of funeral processions and services dedicated to the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, was topped not by its seven hour ceremony but her amazing fashion choices that were from head to toe. Even at the end Ms. Franklin shined and her music that was the soundtrack to all of our lives will live on our radios as we drive down the highway in our Pink Cadillacs. Death as in life always glamorous and always in style.
Which brings me to John McCain. I might have been in hiding with Trump on this one. I have never liked the man from his politics to his personal life he was never one I identified with regardless of the moniker "Maverick." His daughter has to be the most humorless dullard ever to comment on a TV Screen and frankly I am already burned out on his procession and canonization of this man who brought us Sarah Palin, only bucked the party to my knowledge that infamous ACA thumbs down vote that came on the heels of his diagnosis of brain cancer where he knew the end was near. Then we have his own sordid personal life where he ironically left his first wife when she was disfigured from an car accident. Thankfully Cindy kept up her youthful looks there and I guess Cindy thought hey we are rarely together and he has his work wife, Lindsey Graham, to keep him warm those long nights in Washington doing nothing but talking to media so in death they do finally part.
I respect that he served his country and spent many years in a prison camp to come home and continue to serve but then at what point do you say I have done enough bullshit and go and actually go do something. . Maverick my ass and this profile in the Rolling Stone from 2008 has another tone that was no present in the endless eulogies repeated for days on end. The only job that in America you can do literally until you die is serve in Congress, so much for swamp draining.
I have spent the better part of the last few months discussing the problems in the "it" city that surround crime, violence and education and those three are conjoined in a way that few discuss here as most of it is by faces of color and many who are barely out of their teens. Since this was reported in June, there have been dozens of more fatality or near fatalities thanks to gun violence here. Before I left for vacation there was a shooting rampage that terrorized East Nashville for days. Every day is another shooting, a home invasion, a car jacking and assorted other stories of violence and crime that is rarely discussed as a major problem in a city that relies largely on tourism. And to blame just faces of color would mean that two cities that I just visited, Cleveland and Pittsburgh, would have greater crime as they are similar in composition and demographics when it comes to income and race. Well no. Irony that Chicago a much larger metro area which is constantly decried as a city wracked with violence gets the media attention while Nashville is ignored. Why is that?
The schools and the endless problems in the schools here has become a daily update much like the crime reports. I again have been to schools that last year were under a different outsourcing agency last year due to the problems getting subs so it was interesting to return. One I was given a bag of popcorn and thanked which shocked me and the afternoon was fine considering what I used to experience when I went there; however, I want to point out it was a SPED class and that I witnessed much oddness in the hall by the mainstreamed class and a Teacher verbally berate a student to the point of excess where in another school in an outlying district led this Teacher to be placed on leave. Go figure as here in Nashville rape, sexual abuse and other incidents rarely are reported. Shocking, I know. Not really.
The other school I went to had been in the news last year due to excessive violence and once again it was as horrid as I recalled and this was two hours for an Art Teacher. It was bizarre when the SPED Teacher pushed in late into the class with her McDonald's lunch which she ate while reprimanding and talking to the students. My favorite was correcting the grammar. Try not eating in front of kids or speaking with your mouth full first before reprimanding others. The bragging that she had moved to an outlying county to a place with a pool and bought an expensive car, a Lexus, to commute was also unnecessary and well again oddly in place for this school. Again all of the above situations were with Teachers who were black and with students who were also black. It has been repeated over and over again throughout my visits to the schools in Nashville and what led me to examine my own views about race and poverty. It was this school when I first arrived that I witnessed the most distressing behaviors, fights and where a Teacher was found with a gun in his backpack. I found out that the reason for this was he was afraid as Parents had been threatening him so he carried it in his car and forgot to take it out to leave in his car that day. He left the backpack in the Library where it was found and then reported. Where he is and what happened to that is one of many stories I have heard since relocating here. Including a Teacher who slammed a door on a child's hand, Teachers who are having sexual encounters with students and of course the endless sordid tales that have made it to the media regarding varying Administrators and their sexual misconduct. Little to no gets reported to the Police or the State. Shocking, no not really. Again this is a district headed by an African American man, with largely African American staff and a student population that is the same. Poverty is the only distinction between the front of the house and the back of the house. So yes race is a factor it is just what role in this equation has yet to be explained or understood by me a white woman of means. And when anyone white questions the decisions made the race card is tossed and then then hand folds. Only one reporter, Phil Williams of Channel 5 has made it his business to investigate the district from hiding lead in the water to the endless other controversy's from budget to sexual misconduct. Again there is no "union" here to protect workers and tenure is not that big of an issue when it comes to termination so really what is the issue here?
Aside from race I do see the role of the secular community from both church to education and its influence. I feel leads to much of what I see and hear. It should not be shocking given the Catholic Church which has both Pedophile Priests and abusive Nuns in their flock. Religion is power and absolute power corrupts absolutely. And other than Congress it is the only occupation you can serve until death. Talk about tenure!
So tomorrow is labor day of which is to honor those in labor. Irony that again much has been done to destroy the power of organized labor and yet the phrase "hard work" dominates the lexicon next to In God We Trust as the American concept of meritocracy is tied to those two beliefs - work for the almighty dollar. I have to laugh as that latter phrase is to be visible in all schools in Tennessee by law. I have yet to see it but I try to just keep my head down, answer the questions asked and no more, try to ignore the children to the point where unless I am observed or their behavior is so egregious I need to intervene I am pushing through this year with the idea that my end date is nearer than I think. As for my relationship with Nashville is not until death we do part.
So as labor day soldiers on who are those in labor? Well we have Police for if was not for their unions we might have some way to communicate and establish expectations for what defines police work. There are Teachers Unions that are struggling to resolve the problem in Education that means funding and overcoming the endless demands on time that cannot be fixed by a 6 hour school day. The Medical field that refuses to change despite the reality that America is not great when it comes to care and outcome and their primary care obligation seems to be profits and wages for Doctors. And lastly our communities that are wracked with violence and poverty that warehousing them in public housing projects or prisons are failing to both protect and serve anyone. Welcome to Nashville, home of the honky tonks, low wages and high violence. Leave your gun in the car and your wallet in your pocket. The land of bridal showers and promises that until death us do part.