Friday, September 14, 2007

Stupidity Seldom Seen Except in Cleveland

"I just hope that some of the young people who break our hearts every night on the television news can see this. Hopefully they'll realize, if Carl and Louis Stokes can rise from humble beginnings, they can, too." -- Hon. Louis Stokes

Lou Stokes and his late brother Carl were honored this week with the opening of a museum commemorating their achievements. The Museum is situated in the Outhwaite Homes public housing community of Cleveland where the Stokes boys were raised by their widowed mother. Lou served 15 terms in the United States Congress. His brother Carl was the first black mayor of a major American city and after that enjoyed a successful career in broadcasting in New York City.
Not bad for a couple of kids from the projects.

I wish more kids could see their own potential. These days most kids in some neighborhoods are lucky to make it to 18. Even though I live in the pristine Stepford way-outer suburbs, living near a big city means understanding that violence is a daily occurrence for someone. But the degree to which the gun violence in Cleveland has escalated in the last few weeks, even I in my hardened state can't help but religously check to see the death toll the next morning. Worse, I have it on good authority from a source who deals with economic development issues that the numbers reported in the Plain Dealer are just a fraction of the murders that happen in the city every day.

But wait! There's more! In a bold move, the City of Cleveland is cracking down....on jaywalking. That's right. Apparently a Cleveland City cop can't catch bloodthirsty gangmembers, but according to this news report they can bust your sorry ass for crossing W. 6 in the middle of the street. That's a $174 fine at a minimum.

Help me understand how priorities have gotten so far out of whack that this remotely makes any sense?

I've had this great, sad song on my mind all week. It's from the honorable Seldom Scene, and tells the story of a Civil War battle that takes place after the war had been declared at an end. It was a senseless tragedy and it seemed there was little anyone did to stop it. When I hear the line, "And their mamas cried, O my Lord how their mamas cried..." I can't help but think about the mothers and grandmothers who've had to bury their young this year, in particular the innocent bystanders caught in the crossfire of gun violence.

Thirteen hundred died that day
It took ten good men just to dig the graves
They buried them shallow, they buried them deep
Buried them next to Dry Run Creek

And their mamas cried
O my Lord how their mamas cried

Well they weren't just blue and they weren't just gray
Death took both sides when it came that day
They layed them down side by each
They placed no stones at their head nor feet

And their mamas cried
O my Lord how their mamas cried

When the diggin' was through they gathered 'round
A lonesome dove made the only sound
They said their prayers, got to their feet
Left their friends at Dry Run Creek

War'd been over for about a week
Word hadn't gotten to Dry Run Creek
They fought and died right to the end
A battle that should've never been

And their mamas cried
O my Lord how their mamas cried
And their mamas cried
O my Lord how their mamas cried


At September 15, 2007 10:56 AM, Blogger DrDon said...

Listen, nothing is going to happen to solve these problems because everyone is afraid to speak the truth. The truth is that poor people with poor attitudes ruin neighborhoods. And by poor, I don't mean black, although poor blacks have certainly done their share. Poor whites are to blames too. These people always complain they don't have nice neighborhoods and opportunities. Bullshit.

Look at Slavic village. It was a nice lower middle class neighborhood at one time with decent stores, clean streets, and decent schools. My uncle lived their for many years with his family and I knew that area well. Then the poor people started moving in. People who are pissed because they don't have everything that more affluent people have. So, they stop taking care of the homes, let their kids run wild, and trash the neighborhood. Sooner or later, the decent people who know how to function in society leave because they are either scared or don't want to keep losing property value.

Eventually, all you have left are the losers and now Slavic village is in the news every night for all the wrong reasons. The same with Ohio City, most of 25th Street and a host of other Cleveland neighborhoods. The inner city residents scream that no one cares about them or spends money on them. Bullshit again. Cleveland spends more money per pupil on education than most of the suburbs that do a much better job. So why are Cleveland schools so bad? It's not the teachers but the animals in the classrooms. The city fixes a school up and it is trashed 2 years later.

What these poor residents need to do is stop blaming everyone else and start giving a shit about their lives and that of their kids. These low income men need to stop spreading their seed around like it's fertilizer and start taking care of their kids. These women need to close their legs and get a job or some education. Those who already have kids need to start disciplining them instead of waiting for the police to do it.

But these things will never happen because no one with a public voice would dare say these things. We all know this is the truth but we're so goddamned PC today that no one will do it. So people are getting killed every day and this cancer keeps spreading out from the city consuming more and more neighborhoods. It's sickening.

At September 15, 2007 10:57 AM, Blogger DrDon said...

Soory for all the typos. I was a bit hopped up by the topic.

At September 15, 2007 4:35 PM, Blogger Mando Mama said...

Hi Doc,
It's ok to make mistakes, and ok to be hopped up around here. Bluegrass is all about hoppin' up.

At the root of this, and I think this is what you're saying, is a total lack of personal responsibility. Somehow it's always someone else's problem or responsibility. And it's not just poor folks; there are plenty of middle-class Americans who think they're above doing the right thing. If it ain't in their rulebook, baby, I guess it ain't a rule.

I think what hopped ME up was the jaywalking thing. Everywhere around us kids and grownups alike are being gunned down, and Officer Dingbat is all hopped up on his newfound jay-busting authority. It's just so fucked up. Tell me, would you be afraid of the heat when you know, hey, they won't come into your neighborhood to take your gun but they will give ME a ticket for crossing the Euclid Corridor in the middle of a block? Hell to the no!

At September 15, 2007 7:51 PM, Blogger DrDon said...

Mando - You're right about the jaywalking but we also need more police period in Cleveland. I still stand by my comments about many of these poorer people. And no, I don't mean to say all poor people are bad. However, while middle class and upper SES folks do bad things, they generally do not destroy their own homes and neighborhoods and this is what we're really talking about. There's an anger among some low SES folks and a resentment of anyone who has it better than them. Did I have it easier than someone from W20th street? Sure. But I still had to go to school, get good grades, fill our college applications, get a Ph.D., etc. I was the first person in my family to attend college so no one was able to help me with that. I didn't really have any guidance. There are loads of programs and institutions set up to help lower SES folks raise themselves up but, as you say, first they have to stop blaming and looking for someone else to do it for them.

At September 15, 2007 9:31 PM, Blogger Mando Mama said...

Back about 9 months ago, we did a project for an organization that has its offices in a very bad 'hood. What my boss saw when he went to those meetings (he wouldn't permit me) was just the beginning of some of the stuff that's been going on. Now there are more plainclothes cops in some of those Midtown Corridor restaurants than there are civilian customers.

This is a real onion, lots of layers. Kids are getting guns, old dudes with nothing better to do are boosting kids and cars and acting the hot shit in town and the kids are getting killed. Mamas wring their hands because their boy wouldn't ever do anything like that. But somebody's boy shot that little 17 year old on his way to see his grandma last week; he had been working and saved up enough money to buy a car. And somebody's boy shot that girl in the face, taking her lower jaw off. These are people who hate themselves in a deep, ugly way. They don't care about houses. They don't care about going to school. They don't care about working. They don't care about living. And they don't like people who do.

Even Congressman Stokes said, back in his day, people were poor, but at least they were decent. Decency is gone the way of chivalry now. Dead and gone.


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