Welcome to my asylum for ideas and thoughts on movies, politics, culture, and all things Bruce Springsteen.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

How The Other Half of California Lives

Thank you, Louis Freedberg of the SF Chron., for your article of September 20th. This editorial writer reminded me and should serve as a reminder to all of us that life is pretty damn good. Freedberg wrote a wonderful expository essay on the Central Valley and the abject poverty most people live in. He described the small Highway 99 towns that I am so familiar with having spent the first decade of my adult life living in Fresno. In 1996, when I moved there, I hated that city. Zero culture, zero intellectual vision or curiosity. Mostly working class, uneducated, minorities who clogged the drain of society. However, I began teaching in the public schools and learning the stories of the people who came to this country for the supposed opportunities the U.S. of A. had to offer. My country, which God had supposedly blessed as the land of hope and dreams. It was this same time that I stopped listening to Rush Limbaugh voting for Dole, and began tuning in to a station that I first labeled as "liberal communists", which was 88.1, "KPFA or KFCF out of Fresno." In listening to this station and learning about the progressive movement in politics, teaching in the public school system and re-orienting much of my Christian theology, I came to find just how fortunate I really am and just how much this country has to share with evertone who is here. See the discrepency in income, the social, political, cultural, and economic differences and understand the pain and suffering that many experience, and you, too, will flirt with the ideology of socialism. Then, read your Bible, or Whitman, or Thoreau,or Steinbeck, listen to Sringsteen's The Ghost of Tom Joad and you may see why I made a 180 degree turn-around in my world view. This article by Freedberg helped remind this former Valley resident that we as a society have a long way to go. Only when a person receives a fair wage for a fair day's pay are we getting closer. Only when people's dignity supercedes the value of a dollar are we getting better. Only when we see that everyone around us, including those who live in third-world conditions as they labor to put food on our tables and clothes on our backs, are God's children, we are doing what truly should be done. More later. It's time to read to my boy.