The Increasing Permanence of Class Divides

New Orleans   A rare spate of freezing temperatures with ice and snow particles frozen for days seems strange in New Orleans. It’s temporary of course. By this weekend the old “normal” will return with highs in the 70 degree Fahrenheit range, so the dog can stay out and the citrus in the ACORN Farm can begin to recover, or so we hope.

With few papers delivered, I found myself working down the stack of magazines and stumbled on a passage in an unexpected place that spoke of the freeze that is becoming more and more permanent. The piece was a highly sympathetic profile of a young Moroccan novelist living in France and drawing prizes and attention for her recent work. The New Yorker writer identified with the novelist and the concern of her new book based on their sharing the burdens and blessings of motherhood,  while in one case writing and in another case reading a fictionalized treatment of a real incident where a nanny killed two of the children in her care in New York City several years ago.

In the book, the reporter, Lauren Collins, believes that the author, Leila Slimani, has concluded something profound and unsettling, as she writes here and quotes Slimani,

“In Slimani’s appraisal, the emotional marketplace has rendered basic human entitlements a luxury. ‘It’s the question of, Can we buy everything with money? Can we, in earning a good living, procure for ourselves comfort and freedom,’ she said. ‘But does that also mean that those who don’t have the means will never be able to attain that comfort and that freedom?’ Whenever we met, we were both able to be there because of a parasitic chain of caretaking that inevitably, discreetly, leaves someone alone at the bottom end.”

What do we make of this observation, I wonder? First, it’s good that some in the upper classes who have the “comfort and freedom” bought with “money” and “a good living” have noticed reality, but otherwise is there any shining light or insight here or just a tinge of guilt for both children and the worker, but otherwise, same ol, same ol.

The reality of this now permanent class – and caring – divide is everywhere, and, if anything, more pernicious outside of the home, where at least it cannot be ignored. Meanwhile in the real world, home care workers continues to be one of the fastest growing occupations in the US, as it has been for decades. It also is one of the lowest paid with benefits illusive or nonexistent. Care workers in nursing homes, private homes, and even community homes for the differently-abled are unseen, and handled even worse perhaps as politicians at both state and federal levels refuse to budget realistically for their wages. Comfort and freedom, how preposterous! Most would settle for living wages and health insurance, and can’t get that. At the end of last year, Local 100 went to impasse over a cut in hourly wages for home care workers for the mentally disabled in one of our nonprofit facilities, because of freezes in state reimbursement of Medicaid dollars.

It almost seems precious, rather than poignant, for outstanding representatives of the upper class to suddenly realize that untold millions are raising, keeping alive, educating, and caring for hundreds of millions and wondering what impact it will have on the family and society, when this level of inequality and structured servitude is increasingly fixed in concrete, seemingly forever, by government and corporate policy almost everywhere.


Holes are in Houses, and a Lie is a Lie

Trump protests in West Palm Beach (Photo: Andrew Harnik, AP)

New Orleans  If it weren’t so pathetic, it would be tragic. If it weren’t so harmful and destructive, it would absurdly be funny. This is now what passes for Presidential leadership and the Republican Senatorial enablers, including, shamefully, several from the South, among them notably Tom Cotton from Arkansas to its great embarrassment.

A great ACORN leader in the early days the organization’s history in Arkansas was Bill Whipple, a carpet cleaner, originally from Nebraska. Bill ended up as an elected member of the Pulaski County Quorum Court in the later 1970s. He was infamous for several often repeated one-liners. The one that I would like to share in the wake of the continued reports of ridiculous hair-splitting rather than truth telling, apologizing, and fence mending. Bill used to ask me if I knew the definition of a “rationale?” The answer was supposed to be, “No,” regardless of the number of times he had told me the same story, so that he would then say, “Wade, a rationale is a lie in the skin of a reason.” Yes, exactly, but as Brother Whipple clearly would admonish, still a lie.

So, the spinning and so-called damage control from the White House over President Trump’s racist and ethnic slurs in the immigration meeting has run from “strong language,” supposedly used by one and all, and, frankly, who cares, since there had better be strong language when it comes to finding a solution for 800,000 Dreamers and more than 10 million immigrants, to the aiding and abetting “rationales” from the suddenly memory-restored Senators Cotton and Perdue from Georgia. Originally, Cotton and Perdue were the two monkeys who heard no evil and did not evil. A day later they adopted a new strategy in coordination with the White spinmasters or as we should call them more appropriately ****diggers. Now, they attacked Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, a Democrat, and South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham’s versions of the quotes. With their restored memory they were now clear that they heard everything, and it was not as Durbin told or why Graham had risen to challenge the President.

Now a day later, the plot doesn’t thicken so much as it gets waist-deep. Cotton and Perdue’s story is hanging by the thinnest layer of toilet paper. Reportedly their rationalization is based on the fact that they heard Trump say African and other countries were “shithouse” countries, rather than “shithole” countries. This now defines a distinction without a difference.

Still 100% racist, no question about that. There will be no African country or leaders from Haiti for example, who will now say, “Oh, hey, no problem, sure we’re definitely not shithole countries, but we’re OK, being called shithouse countries.” Anyone other than perhaps Trump and the White House staff and their enablers, Senators Cotton and Perdue, must be the only people this side of Pennsylvania Avenue and the Trump Tower who don’t know that in an outhouse, the hole is in the house. In fact that’s the whole purpose of the house.

Not only are they all bald-faced liars, but they are so totally out of touch with Americans that they have obviously never been in such a house or they would have all shut their mouths and pleaded for mercy and forgiveness. President Trump is lucky to have Senators Cotton and Perdue handy to wipe up his mess, and, no, I won’t get anymore specific than that, but they all need to come clean before they humiliate themselves, the country, and their states anymore than they already have.


Please enjoy Sherman Ewing’s Prodigal Son#22: Tombstone.

Thanks to KABF.