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At Home and Abroad, for Them and for Us,
And not forgetting that both charity and security began at home,
And that home includes the inner cities of America.
A Solution Paper by Ron Edwards and Peter Jessen
From Blogs of 9-11, 9-12, 9-13, 10-16, 2003
Posted November 9, 2003
Based on The Minneapolis Story, Through My Eyes
By Ron Edwards as told to Peter Jessen
Part I: 9-11-03: #131. 2nd anniversary of 9-11
Pausing to Ponder on the Possibilities: American or Un-American: Part 1 of 4: Not Supporting Iraq at the Expense of the U.S. but Parallel to the U.S.
Part II: 9:12-03: 133. 2nd anniversary of 9-11
Pausing to Ponder on the Possibilities: American or Un-American: Not Giving Up our Bill of Rights And Become What We Fight.
Part III: 9-13-03: #135. 2nd anniversary of 9-11
Pausing to Ponder on the Possibilities: American or Un-American: Supporting Each Other, Not Segregating Each Other.
Part IV: 10-16-03: #189. 2nd anniversary of 9-11
Pausing to Ponder on the Possibilities: American or Un-American: The "pathways" for maintaining our security as well as our civic values of freedom at home and leadership for peace in the world and, therefore, equal access and equal opportunity for all citizens, and tools, skill, optimism and hope for doing so.
11-8-03 Introduction: We have become two types of American: the 9/10 American and the 9/11 American, two different ways to view and ponder 9-11, whether this is really a world-wide terrorist war or not. The 9-10 view literally white washes (pun intended) the seriousness of the event and acts like it won't happen again. The 9-11 view sees it as an event in a wider world war few understand. As of this writing, the 9-10 view says it was a mistake to invade Iraq, that we are doing poorly, that it is becoming another Vietnam style quagmire. The 9-11 view says this is a war to bring liberation and democracy to people long enslaved by tyrannical dictators, and if we don't liberate/free them we risk their bringing their terrorist war to our shores. Which view is correct? From an inner city stand point, we pause to ponder the possibilities. Whatever takes place we don't want to again be in last place, to be deferred once again behind now Iraq. The US rebuilt Germany and Japan and turned them into democratic and economic powerhouses. All we ask is that same effort be granted America's inner cities. The problem? We believed the Germans and Japanese could do it. We believe those in the Middle East can do it. The USA official policy, as seen reflected in "The Kerner Commission Report" and "The Bell Curve" is that we, unlike the Germans or Japanese or Middle Easterners, are different, that we can't do it, and therefore little can be done. We call for the repudiation of these reports by BOTH the Democratic and Republican parties and we call for the same kind of post-World War II and post Iraq war rebuilding plan for the people and place of our inner cities.
We take a back seat to no one in our patriotism, our defense of our country, and we stand four square behind being integrated, not segregated from mainstream America. Leave no war torn area behind, and that includes the inner cities of America. Part IV has links to resources for achieving this goal.
Part I: 9-11-03: #131. 2nd anniversary of 9-11: Pausing to Ponder on the Possibilities: American or Un-American: Part 1 of 4: Not Supporting Iraq at the Expense of the U.S. but Parallel to the U.S.
9-11-01 changed the United States and world (their war protestors this year represented the majority of their people whereas ours represented a minority of our people). Certainly there would have been no war without 9-11, when we were forced to finally give relevance to the mad men tyrannizing their people and their neighbors and ourselves. But our response is at the expense of our dream, to once again defer our aspirations. We may debate how and when and where what we did/are doing in Iraq but there can be no debate about what they did on 9-11 and what their intention continues to be. But as Paul Harvey says, there is also "the rest of the story." The full story is not just that because now a few men with a few thousand dollars can wreak the havoc of 9-11, we live in the era of pre-emption, in which this war would be waged regardless of which party occupied the White House. But the rest of the story is how we got here. Both political parties have been involved in making Saddam a friend of ours, even while he was invading Iran, even when he was killing his own people, especially the Kurds and later the Shiites. That means there are unanswered questions that make up the rest of the 9-11 story. But the answers to these questions must be answered within the context of making sure there is a place at the table for all Americans (see my book, "The Minneapolis Story, Through My Eyes," pp. 106, 297, 302, 328, and for fun, 271).
The first question is about the spending of billions of dollars to remake Iraq while our inner cities are allowed to decay or funds spent are on White bureaucrats and planners managing the decay. We fed and helped Europe rebuild after World War I and again with the Marshall Plan in World War II. Where is the Marshall Plan for our inner cities? Where is the GI Bill for education for the service of those who descend from the service of slaves? Patriotic fervor is fine, and we all sing "God Bless America" and "America the Beautiful" and "The Battle Hymn of the Republic." But where is "We shall overcome" and "Amazing Grace" and "His Eye Is On The Sparrow?" Saddam and guys like Norreiga and Pinoche and others were our "friends" at the expense of their people when it suited the purpose of this country. The $87 billion asked for Monday night is twice what we are spending on Homeland Security and 50% more that we are spending on education. We stood by and allowed brutality and genocide in Eastern Europe and Africa, even as we did in the Middle East. Those are concerns but not my chief concern. My chief concern is the brutality and violence in the inner city. My concern is that White America still stands by and ignores the inner city neighborhoods of Black Americans except when it can use it to create jobs for White therapeutic and planning professionals.
Let's use a baseball term: the doubleheader. Let's address the rest of the story and have a double header so that we address also the loss of jobs, about which a report released Monday of this week by the Federal Reserve stated that the lost jobs won't come back, “permanent changes in the economy mean new economic sectors will need to be created to revitalize the labor market." In 1900, agriculture, that once employed 80% of Americans, enjoyed productivity increases that eventually enabled 8% to do more than the 80% did before. Now manufacturing is going through the same development: more and more products being manufactured with fewer and fewer laborers. The world's economy squeezes profits from wages rather that stopping the over production of existing goods no longer needed in that quantity and finding new sectors to create jobs in that won't squeeze workers. I want, dollar for dollar, the rebuilding of America's inner cities as well as the American economy as a whole to parallel the rebuilding of Iraq. Without that emphasis of funding our ball game over here, I'm not interested in funding their ball game over there. Tomorow: the second issue: Homeland Security and the Bill of Rights.
Part II: 9:12-03: #133. 2nd anniversary of 9-11: Part 2 of 4: Pausing to Ponder on the Possibilities: American or Un-American: Not Giving Up our Bill of Rights And Become What We Fight.
The second issue is that of Homeland Security and our Bill of Rights. This is a real national defense political tightrope we must walk. We now live in a time when their are "sleeper cells" in our midst. This creates threats to us that if not handled correctly will create threats to our Bill of Rights. These are hard, agonizing questions. Supporting each other is he American way/tradition, not searching each other (the un-American way). Hence the agony and the dilemma. A nation (US) and state (Minnesota) that allows the power grid to become so decrepit that rural schools and the outer suburbs had to close for a day earlier this month because of a "brown out" is about local and wider than local governments that have forgotten its people. We must never forget that the heart and soul of this country is We the People.
Just because 9-11 washed away the "we've got it made" post-cold war era of 1989 - 2001, doesn't mean that we can wash away what we stand for in a cold bath of fear. We, as a country, still stand for the best and do so better than any other. We will endure. We will prevail. But only if we do it together, with everyone at the table. This is not the time to exchange sacrifice for compassion, or deferment again for our progress. We can walk and chew gum at the same time. We can defend our homeland and what makes our home something we sing about as "this land is our land," our freedom, our liberty, our Bill of Rights. This is what matters. It is what gives us the integrity of a democratic society and a model to emulate to the world. We must be "always vigilant." But out of good cause, not paranoia. This means we must be vigilant not to let our civil liberties collapse under the understandable desire for action nor let our love for our civil liberties block the authorities from being vigilant with those showing cause to be investigated.
We owe a debt to our people first while at the same time protecting them against those who would take the country away. As Nellie Stone Johnson said, "no jobs, no education, no peace in America." That has to be our concern. Not just peace for the country as a whole but for its parts as well, including peace in the inner citeis. And who could help lead the way in our inner city Black communities? The NAACP. But will they? More importantly, can they? Not the way they are behaving today (see “July 21, 2003 NAACP Takes Eye off Prize” Occasion Paper on this web site). The local branch of the NAACP has also taken its eye off the prize of freedom for all. Indeed, as demonstrated by the local branch of the NAACP on Saturday the 6th of this month, the White power structure has the Black leadership whipped into line in this city (as in the country). They no longer stand for us. When will others join me in having an honest discussion about these issues? I have laid it out in my book, "The Minneapolis Story, Through My Eyes" and in the Solution Papers on this web site (Seven Solution areas ). The leadership, White and Black, can run but they can't hide. The spotlight of justice is upon them. When will they join in that honest discussion? It is one thing to say to the Justice Department, after 9-11, "don't let this happen again." It is another thing to take our civil liberties away without reason to protect them and then have the NAACP take them away in our local elections.
We are now at the point where talk won't cut it. The Justice Department and the NAACP both have to perform their way to credibility. Insincerity talks. Credibility walks. We can tell the difference between these by whether or not everyone is invited to the table. That is my definition. What is yours?
Friday, September 12, 2003, 12:37 a.m.
Part III: 9:12-03: #135. 2nd anniversary of 9-11: Part 3 of 4: Pausing to Ponder on the Possibilities: American or Un-American: Supporting Each Other, Not Segregating Each Other.
Supporting each other in war with many fronts: fighting terrorism, replacing permanent job loss, meeting the need for education and jobs, ending the continued deferred of Black dreams. I still hold out for the positive possibilities for our nation of neighborhoods.
How do we support each other in this era of fighting the war on terrorism and change in economics as manufacturing joins agriculture in permanent and steady loss of jobs, as we work to find the replacement for manufacturing just as manufacturing replaced agriculture? Supporting each other and inviting everyone to the table is the liberating ideal of The American Way although not always the practice, as our miserable failure with slavery, Jim Crow, post 1968 Kerner Commission Report saying Blacks can't make it on their own, etc. so clearly demonstrate. But we must not let go of the ideal. It is part of the prize on which we have set our eyes. We can read more about our American ideal of supporting each other at http://www.iscv.org/Civic_Idealism/Supporting_One_Another/supporting_one_another.html, which has statements supporting this, from Alexis de Tocqueville to the Declaration of Independence and the Preamble to the Constitution, Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, FDR, JFK, and Martin Luther King, Jr.). At first they applied to White males, then White women, then to Black professionals. Now I fight to include inner city Blacks and other minorities. An excellent resource place is the web site www.iscv.org (The Institute for the Study of Civic Value), a community based web site. It helps put the question regarding the war on terrorism into perspective: How will the War on Terrorism shape America’s civic values? Already, this new war has united us in a way that we have not experienced since World War II. Will this solidarity remain? What forms will it take?
On the other hand, will the War Against Terrorism undermine many of the critical civic values that we work to preserve? As an example, will the Bush administration’s new Department of Homeland Security become a 21st Century version of J.Edgar Hoover’s FBI? There are real risks here—but surely it ought to be possible to fight a war against terrorism without becoming terrorists ourselves.
Tomorrow I will offer a pair of "pathways", with web sites, that can be followed to maintain our civic liberties and security, the American Way, and do so for We the People, to help us insure that in our war on terrorism we don't bring terror to innocent citizens. The leadership, White and Black, can run but they can't hide. The spotlight of justice is upon them. When will they join in that honest discussion of our inner cities and our economy and invite everyone to the table, not just the professional therapists, planners, and other assorted program bureucrats serving their retirement accounts while not being held accountable for denying our access to the table? Saturday, September 13, 2003, 6:59 a.m.
Part IV: 10-16-03: #189. 2nd anniversary of 9-11: Pausing to Ponder on the Possibilities: American or Un-American: Part 4 of 4: The "pathways" for maintaining our security as well as our civic values of freedom at home and leadership for peace in the world and, therefore, equal access and equal opportunity for all citizens, and tools, skill, optimism and hope for doing so.
There are a pair of "pathways" to start with to enable We the People to still count. These are two of many. These two are offered as starters for the discussion and as blueprints for action to take. The first pathway is in the "Solution Papers" section of this web site, my 7 Solutions paper, which covers these 7 topics: (1) education, (2) jobs, (3) housing, (4) public safety, (5) safe environment, (6) governing, and (7) moral/ethical stances. These are followed by my rationale and a list of additional resources. The second pathway is posted on the ISCV (Institute for the Study of Civic Values) web site here. It has a series of rich resources, including LINKS to statements and resources for dealing with these topics pertinent to our dialogue in Minneapolis as well: CITIES, HOUSING, CRIME, JOBS, ENVIRONMENT, HEALTH, and POVERTY
These sites help provide excellent starting points for the leadership, White and Black. The spotlight of justice is upon them. Rather than trying to run and hide (they can run but they can't hide), I invite them to join me in an honest discussion of these points.
Ron hosts “Black Focus” on Channel 17, MTN-TV, Sundays, 5-6 pm. Formerly head of the Minneapolis Civil Rights Commission and the Urban League, he continues his “watchdog” role for Minneapolis. Order his book, hear his voice, read his solution papers, and read his between columns “web log” at www.TheMinneapolisStory.com.
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