‘What If’ letter
I am writing in response to the letter from January 22nd, 2012, titled “A Story of ‘What If’ is Reality to Some.”
I would like to applaud the author on the first three paragraphs of the letter, in which he brings to light the “why” that is behind a vicious cycle that has existed in our community for quite some time.
He describes some “what if” scenarios -- a fourteen-year-old Mother, an incarcerated Father, a teen parent who is forced to drop out of school so that she can financially and physically provide for her baby, a teenage father who has never known love or acceptance or responsibility in his own life and, therefore, joins a gang and an almost certain path to an early grave or felony conviction, leaving behind a Fatherless child.
These scenarios are very real in our community and they should be brought to light more often.
Unfortunately, however, the author's letter takes an unexpected wrong turn in the final paragraph -- one that all but destroys what might have been an inspiring, helpful plan of action for those of us looking for ways to make a difference in our community.
Instead of giving the reader a game plan, the author chooses to play the blame game. For, in his words, these broad and deep-rooted issues exist because of a small, select group of people. They are “School Board Members, City Council Members, County Supervisors, Juvenile Judges, and Mayors…” who are willing to “sit back and allow this to happen.”
The letter-writer could have listed ways to help. Instead, he gave us a “hit list” of elected and appointed officials(as if correcting these issues was as easy as walking into a voting booth). By placing the focus of his letter on who to blame, he exemplifies another broad and deep-rooted problem that often plagues communities -- finger-pointing instead of problem-solving.
The writer also claims that “black boys” are currently undergoing “Genocide”. With the vast majority of the cradle-to-prison pipeline being occupied by African-American males, it is hard to argue with this claim.
What is easy to argue with, however, is his notion that this is occurring because of the inactions of a hand-full of local officials who “sit back and allow this to happen.”
We are all God’s children. Therefore, are we not all responsible for one another’s struggles? And, if we are, shouldn’t we be talking about how to help instead of who to blame?
I urge the author to write about the real solutions that are available to combat these very real problems -- solutions that have very little to do with local political power and everything to do with the power of mentoring, volunteering, and simply showing up in our schools.
Regardless of title, race, income, or gender, these are solutions that are available to all of us.
Indeed, as the late, great Fannie Lou Hamer so beautifully stated, "Whether you have a PhD, a DD or No D, we're in this bag together. And whether you're from Morehouse or Nohouse, we're still in this bag together."
Keep speaking to us, Fannie Lou. One day, all of us will hear you.
Michael Van Veckhoven
The myth of taxing
In his State of the Union address, the President once again raised the prospect of increasing taxes on the rich, this time defined as those making a million dollars a year or more. Perhaps it is thought that such a policy will balance the budget. Will it? According to IRS data (www.irs.gov) from 2009, those making a million dollars a year or more had a total income of approximately $735 billion, which represented 9.5% of the total income of Americans. Of that amount, they paid about $177 billion in federal income taxes. That represents over 20% of individual income taxes which were paid. Just from a fairness perspective, when the 9% pay 20% of the taxes, it seems to me they are already doing their fair share.
But let’s suppose we increase their contribution to the 30% figure cited by the President. That would have those millionaires paying about $220billion, which would represent an increase of $43 billion. This year’s federal budget is now projected to run a deficit of a little more than one trillion dollars. A person doesn’t have to be a math major to figure that the President’s proposal would raise less than 5% of what is needed to solve the budget crisis.In fact, if you took ALL their income, there would still be a substantial deficit, so it is really just futile.
It is far easier to make a nice speech, smile, and pretend that everything is wonderful. And republicans haven’t done much better. They control the House, but have done very little in being honest with the American people about spending cuts that must be made.
Perhaps we Americans are not prepared to deal with the truth. If that is so, then we should be aware that the day of reckoning can only be postponed so long. Let us hope that the Greek economy is not our future.
Dear citizens of Meridian and others who care:
The Three Foot Building is a symbol of Meridian for the three of us, representing not only gorgeous, one of a kind Art Nueveau architecture, but also the very center of Meridian's struggling but optimistic downtown. In our opinion it is the tallest and most beautiful of all Meridian's structures, and there are many others that are indeed lovely. We are so pleased about the now thriving opera house, the Temple Theater, the downtown condominium development, and the Amtrack station renovation. What marvelous accomplishments for the city in these hard economic times.
What will it take for the rebirth of Meridian's center structure? There are many of us who care deeply about this building because we care about Meridian and the memories we have of downtown's former life. Although we are not physically there to promote the effort to preserve the Three Foot Building, we want the city leaders and citizens to know that there are many of us who are willing to contribute personally and to ask our former classmates and neighbors who are no longer living in our "home town" to assist.
Please let us know what we can do, and we promise to spread the word.
Jean Nicholson Medley,
Linda Nicholson Bartling
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