The Dreams of Grant Park

It was the night of November 4, 2008 and each of the half-million human beings in Grant Park in Chicago represented thousands more around the world. The dreams rushed up in a violent torrent. The tears flowed like a mighty river.

It had been so long since dreaming made sense.

There had been the Reagan Revolution and the enshrinement of greed, rapaciousness, and materialism as the state religion. There had been the beginnings in 1991 of the long war to gain control of the planet’s oil supplies. There had been the period of the most “Republican” Democrat ever to occupy the White House, a man so vapid and devoid of character that he sought nothing of his office beyond his own sexual gratification. There had been the eight years of the most utter hopelessness and despair as the United States of America moved as close to fascism and the end of constitutional government as it has ever been.

Today, the dreams of Grant Park were tested in the real world.

Today, a U.S. soldier in Iraq used his weapon to kill five of his comrades and wound three more. The fratricide occurred at a Camp Victory clinic that treats military personnel for stress. President Obama released a statement that “his heart goes out to all the families” but it is clear now that he has no intention of withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq and ending that war.

Today, Barack Obama’s national security advisor Gen. James Jones, rejected Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s demand the U.S. halt all aerial attacks in that country. Gen. Jones said, “we can’t fight with one hand tied behind our back.” With both hands free a U.S. airstrike in Afghanistan’s Farah province killed as many as 130 civilians. Afghan doctors report treating at least 14 victims of severe burns. White phosphorus munitions produce severe burns so human rights organizations will investigate.

President Obama met with his Afghan and Pakistani counterparts on the day of the Farah raid and commented that his “heart went out to the victims” but it is clear now that he has no intention of ending the Democratic Party’s “good war” in Afghanistan and the deadly drone attacks on Pakistan. It’s just a matter of better management. Gen. McKiernan is fired and now Lt. Gen. McChrystal will bring the art of deception he used so effectively after the death of Pat Tillman to the war.

Today, the Advanced Medical Technology Association; the medical device manufacturers, the hospital owners, the HMO’s, the insurance industry, and the drug makers offered the President a $2 trillion IOU to leave them in control of health care in the U.S.. President Obama acknowledged that the American people “desperately need health care reform in 2009” but he took the vampire’s kiss. There will be no genuine single payer national health care system under this president.

Today, it was reported that “President Barack Obama wants to see 5,000 failing schools close and reopen with new principals and teachers over the next five years.” Failing schools is the race neutral way of saying public inner-city schools. Replacing the principals and teachers identifies them as the reason the schools are failing.

Today, there was no comment from the White House on yesterday’s Mother’s Day protest in Chicago, the hometown of both the President and his Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. The mother’s have lost their school age children to gun violence. “We can’t eat. We can’t sleep. We’re angry. We’re sad. We don’t understand our purpose for life. Our children were our purpose for life,” protesting mother Pam Bosley said. Insight into the reason these mother’s have taken their private grief to the public is provided by the Chicago Sun-Times.

A total of 508 Chicago school kids were shot from September 2007 through December 2008, according to data compiled by the school system and released to the Chicago Sun-Times.

That’s almost 32 children shot each month.

Most of these kids, thankfully, did not die.

But the damage is tremendous nonetheless.

There is the physical damage, which is awful enough. But the psychological damage can last much longer — both for the victim and their classmates. Many kids in the most violent neighborhoods of Chicago are paralyzed by fear, and it’s hard to blame them.

They are thinking rationally.

In 130 schools, at least one student has been shot since September 2007.

In 15 schools, at least 10 students have been shot.

In 12 other schools, at least 5 students have been shot.

School officials compiled this data to look for patterns that might help them get a handle on the problem. It was collected under former schools CEO Arne Duncan. New schools CEO Ron Huberman is reviewing and verifying the data.

None of these children was shot in school, it’s important to note.

President Obama had voucher and charter school boosters to the White House the other day for advice on educational policy. The nation was treated to the incredible spectacle former Speaker Newt Gingrich posing as an enemy of racism and a proponent of civil rights for his concern over the “achievement gap”. There was no mention of the infant mortality gap, or the life expectancy gap, or the household assets gap, or the employment gap, or the incarceration gap, or the quality of healthcare gap, or any of the other gaps that might shatter the illusion that Newt Gingrich gives a damn about people of color.

And speaking of gaps, today the leaders of historically Black colleges vowed to fight the elimination of a program they called a financial lifeline in a time of economic distress. President Obama’s budget left an $85 million gap in a fund that Black institutions received in the last two years of the Bush Administration.

Today, the dreams of Grant Park are no more than that.

Paul A. Moore is a teacher at Miami Carol City Senior High School. He can be contacted at: Read other articles by Paul, or visit Paul's website.

8 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Boyd Collins said on May 16th, 2009 at 1:04pm #

    How could the dreams of Grant Park be fulfilled without an intellectually vigorous and organized left? Why are so many people seemingly surprised that Obama has turned out to be the servant of ruling corporate and military interests? After a certain point, being surprised at such apparent “reversals” indicates that current political power structures are being deliberately ignored. Obama would never have been allowed to be elected if he had not pledged himself to wholeheartedly serve the interests of Wall Street and the national security apparatus. And he has enthusiastically fulfilled his end of the bargain. Their marketing strategy was to divert the rising energies of the political left toward electing Obama, who would make whatever promises were necessary to attract these energies, then build on the accomplishments of the Bush administration once his victory was confirmed.

    Might it not be time to consider an alternative? To build on the current political formations which represent real alternatives to the current variations of corporate domination? My own choice is my membership in the International Socialist Organization, which fights for a world free of exploitation. I realize that taking sides in this way will cause some to dismiss everything said as being merely ideological, but I’m willing to take that risk in order to take a concrete step toward justice. I can longer confine my activism to denunciations, but have got to start joining and supporting networks of change. Stop “hoping” for anything from the corporate elite in the U.S. who are served by the political class. Move toward real alternatives.

  2. bozh said on May 16th, 2009 at 3:48pm #

    americans can’t for at least decades change the most important aspect of US governance: that of power.
    power, and thus opportunity to rule over about 90+% of amers, belongs to thsoe who possess it.
    roughly 5% of amer pop utterly controls cia, fbi, city police, spies of all kind, msm, and, of course armed, services.

    those people who strongly or to any degree control power have ruled us with iron grip since at least 10 K yrs.
    so, 10k yrs of brutal rule by ancient lords, kings, dukes, princes cannot be changed unless low[er] classes have own lords, kings, marshals, generals.

    since low classes have no power of any kind, low class people must educate their children at home about this fact.
    else, perpetual suzerainty awaits them.
    to kids, gods are parents and their word is from god. Tell children not to fret about french, history, flag, higher math, authors, etc., just learn to read and write and think for self. That much can be done. The rest? Well, we’ll see?!
    even then, with 90% of well educated kids becoming adults, ruling class may give its power only after at least some bloodshed.
    10K yrs of utter mental slavery proves it. tnx

  3. Don Hawkins said on May 17th, 2009 at 5:10am #

    Men are born ignorant, not stupid. They are made stupid by education. Russell

    I watched National Geographic last night a two hour program on the book movie Angels & Demons very very interesting. I think the Earth is 4 billion plus years old. Oh boy house arrest.

  4. Don Hawkins said on May 17th, 2009 at 5:30am #

    The announcement indicates that sponsors have enough Democratic votes to push a bill past its first legislative hurdle, the House Energy and Commerce Committee, as early as next week. But the patchwork of concessions necessary to win over champions of industrial and regional interests weakened the initiative, leaving it far short of the global warming gas reductions that scientists insist are necessary to stave off catastrophic climate change. Time cnn

    Champions of industrial and regional interests weakened the initiative and let me add the initiative in the first place was a joke on my kid’s and there kid’s. My son is 28 years old. We human’s have been lucky for thousands of years always’ a second chance not this time. I have to admit the next two years what the Earth has to show us and how these so called leaders handle it will be amazing to see. We slowdown and use the knowledge or it happens anyway without the knowledge and so far that is the plan. Read DV so called leaders.

  5. Don Hawkins said on May 17th, 2009 at 5:52am #

    Surge in oil, gas and coal industry lobbying against Democratic leadership on “cap and trade” legislation.

    America’s oil, gas and coal industry has increased its lobbying budget by 50%, with key players spending $44.5m in the first three months of this year in an intense effort to cut off support for Barack Obama’s plan to build a clean energy economy. Guardian uk

    Right there is the 5% hard at work with those millions they like so much. The other 95% is a big number and so far doesn’t know the truth. It’s strange how it works. Maybe 30 seconds on NBC news. The West Antarctic ice sheet is disintegrating and now a word from our sponsor or another 30 seconds the sea ice in the Arctic will be ice free in the summer in as little as 7 years and they always forget to mention the little fact that the weather not the climate changes in the Northern Hemisphere and very bad for human’s life forms in general and plants you know crops. And now a word from our sponsor.

  6. Don Hawkins said on May 17th, 2009 at 7:07am #

    I sent this e-mail to media and will it do any good? And now a word from our sponsor.

    “You must unlearn what you have learned.” “Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will…” Yoda

    I guess you can look at the dark path in a number of way’s. I conducted a survey on my own if that’s alright and I asked people at the barber shop post office my shop if they thought what we see going on with so called leaders and most of the people we see on TV and this fighting instead of working together is going to work out well. Almost to the person the answer was no. The fighting we see does it have anything to do with average people or is this fighting kind of for a few who think they are at the top and what they think is very important. The people who watch this fighting/nonsense are just here for the benefit of a few so as to have fun and games as we slowly go down the drain in slow motion? I watched a program last night on National Geographic about the progress being made in solar and just maybe that would be a real good place to unlearn what you have learned and think anew help people with an imagination and are trying. I know it’s hard to understand that moving ahead in the same way is not going to work out well but it is what it is. I have to admit what we see from most who could make a difference is not to bright compared to what needs to be done. Anyway will the fighting stop and working together happen? One quote and that is global warming will be good for Alaska as they canoe over the telephone poles. Summer then winter then summer will show us more. Funny how time keeps moving into the future well you could point a flash light into the sky and go the other way.


  7. rg the lg said on May 17th, 2009 at 8:36pm #


    Yoda as philosopher?

    OK. I guess, but Yoda is fictional. We need a real, flesh and blood theorist who can cut through the capitalist crap and give those on the not-right something more than the ‘language of change’ … which means the rhetoric of change, not the reality of change.

    Sure, sometimes fiction can be more real than reality … and often is. A classic example would be some of the works of Gore Vidal … but as they remain in the class ‘fiction’ they are discounted as unreal. Still, his Lincoln is undoubtedly closer to the real Lincoln than any of the tripe foisted upon us by the alleged biographers of the man.

    As far as there ever being a REAL American left … I don’t think so. The need to reeducate against the extant biases is a task beyond our ability. However, a class war may have the potential for clearing the air for a bit. But, I am not at all hopeful. The left has sold out too often for there to be anyone who can really make a difference, for all of our ranting to the contrary on this site.

    The masterful rhetoric coming out of the right (idiots like Limblah … spelling intended) that we have been taken over by socialists is crap. But, it does help to solidify the illusion that O’Bushma is not Bushian in his policies, in his behavior, in his actions, in his thoughts and in his rhetoric.

    We have been duped.

    Again …

    RG the LG

  8. Don Hawkins said on May 18th, 2009 at 2:58am #

    We are about to see just how deep the rabbit hole goes.

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress and the Obama administration have two options when it comes to global warming: write a new law to deal with it or use existing ones to do the job.

    Both approaches await scrutiny by lawmakers and regulators Monday.

    The House Energy and Commerce Committee planned to begin work on legislation that, for the first time, would limit the emissions blamed for global warming.

    “It is clear that the choice is no longer between doing something and doing nothing to curb greenhouse gas pollution. It is a choice between regulation and legislation,” said Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., “We believe that the bill we have crafted in the Energy and Commerce Committee … protects consumers and provides businesses with the certainty they need to adapt to our clean energy future.”

    Across the Potomac River in Virginia, the Environmental Protection Agency scheduled a public hearing on a proposal that could lead to regulating six greenhouse gases under existing law.

    The House Energy committee wants to complete work and vote on the climate and energy bill by the end of the week. But Republicans concerned that the 932-page proposal will drive up energy prices and harm the economy are expected to drag out the proceedings by offering hundreds of amendments