My daughter took the grandson to one of those very large aquariums the other week. Of course. she sent no pictures until I begged. Then a few came rolling in over the email with a note that said, “Dad, sometimes we don’t want to take a picture, just live in the moment.”
Honestly, I just wanted a picture of him. Seeing the things swimming in circles in the tanks just doesn’t do much for me these days. The tree-hugging side of me says we probably need to leave them alone. Do research in the wild where they are supposed to be anyway.
It reminds me of a story the comedian Sinbad used to tell when doing his standup routine about a lion who saw somebody come over the fence into his enclosure. “I’m gonna give him three seconds,” he said, “got a reputation to keep up.” I’m sure the bloated shark that swam up to the window to check out Little Harmon had forgotten about his reputation as the fearless hunter of the oceans, content to eat a form of Meals on Wheels or Nutra-System saw dust.
I was going to write more about the aquarium, but then this Milwaukee situation occurred and put me on another train. It’s a more important one, no doubt, so indulge me
I watched the talking heads, the opinionators (my word) who seem to come out of the woodwork after each one of these incidents occur and this time was no different. If the welfare state hadn’t replaced the father as a breadwinner. That somewhere between 50 percent and 70 percent of the births in ghettos, such as the one in Milwaukee, are out of wedlock. This cycle of poverty and hopelessness was created by programs put in place during the Johnson administration. We need to invest more in the plight of people living in impoverished areas. The schools are bad, the hope is lost, and people are swimming in circles looking for a way out when there is none. Blah, blah, blah. And the local political “leaders” in these communities say the same things.
One has to wonder what they’ve been doing since elected, but that’s another story. The sad fact is, it’s too late for the “graduates” of the ghetto. We created a void beginning whenever, and it has been filled with the violence we see on TV. If we had the finest teachers with world class libraries and museums in these impoverished areas, it wouldn’t make a difference to the generations of those who’ve already “graduated” from Ghetto High School. They have their “education” and know how to survive with what they’ve been taught, no different from you or me.
If you dropped a bag of money in front of every house in every ghetto, it wouldn’t make the place any safer, and in fact, might make it worse. Hillary Clinton talks about a free college education. This is simply not what is needed, and although I’m not a fan of either candidate, they’re both out of touch. What we need are free trade schools, giving the post-Ghetto High School graduates a job skill they can use, basics in the three “R’s” and transportation to and from school and then, transportation to and from the infrastructure repair jobs everyone talks about.
These guys don’t need a college education; they need a way to make a living, a way to get some money they can call their own, self-respect, dignity and all that goes with it. Maybe then they’ll feel more like being around their kids. What they don’t want nor need is to be sitting in a classroom somewhere talking theory or commenting on a Picasso. They’re just like that shark, swimming in circles, waiting on a free meal they would rather hunt.
We’ve lost a lot of good people to stupid government policies and leaders who say what people want to hear instead of what they ought to hear. People who came into this world with as much potential as the rest of us and were sold the bill of goods. If we’re not very careful here and figure this thing out, their next meal is going to be us.
The only answer to the problem, as expensive as it’s going to be, is vocational training for those who should have gotten it years ago when some intellectual buffoon (one who excels in buffoonery) thought everyone should go to college. “Free college,” means just another day in the shark tank for the “Ghetto Validictorian,” whose father was probably in the same fix in which he now finds himself.
Sonny Harmon is a professor emeritus at Georgia Military College.