I was a high school student during the Civil Rights Movement, reared by a mother who never passed an opportunity to espouse ethnic prejudices, and yes, Catholics were included in "ethnicities" in the 1960s! Although Muddle America feared that the Pope was going to rule America, John Fitzgerald Kennedy was elected. He also got us involved in the Viet Nam War, and then he was killed. I, like my cohort, matured somewhat with his death, and the subsequent assassinations of younger brother Bobby Kennedy, and of Dr. Martin Luther King, not to mention the murders of our classmates who were drafted and sent to fight in that Viet Nam War as fodder for business as mentioned in my previous blagh. Those good old days should have, could have been a huge wake up call.
Our little school system was in a less than wealthy district, so we had the benefit of only getting teachers from those newly-credentialed, twenty-somethings some of which just happened to be men who served in the Korean War. These teachers were not shy about passing on their observations regarding War, McCarthyism, prejudice and resource preservation.
They hammered in our heads that the only real threat to our future was apathy: "Apathetic people will sit in their swill and not move a muscle....until they have an excellent reason to do so,"
They thought "All is not black and white, it's all shades of gray." They quoted Hitler:
"All propaganda has to be popular and has to accommodate itself to the comprehension of the least intelligent of those whom it seeks to reach."
Another life-lesson was framed "When people are starving it does not matter whether the hand that feeds their children comes from one political source or another."
And one teacher in particular shocked us by predicting that one day water and air would become nothing but commodities: sold to the highest bidder! How could this be we asked. And he turned our question around and asked us to consider the indigenous peoples who occupied the Americas. These peoples believed one could no more own air and water than one could own land!
After high school I attended Napa Junior College and had the great opportunity to speak with Dr. Maya Angelor after her lecture on Civil Rights. She asked me how many colored people I knew. I told her I knew none, but heard that a fellow named Woody had lived a long time near St. Helena and they said he was Negro. She chuckled, shook her head, looked deep into my eyes as only she can, and said,
"Young Miss, do you know that within the Civil Rights Movement, Napa County is referred to as The Selma, Alabama of the West?"
I was shocked, horrified and shamed. Less than a year later I was forced to stop my education and went to work in a title insurance company in Napa. I learned that there indeed was a coalition, a force within the local real estate companies, to keep our little valley "white".
I marvel today at the teachings of our young teachers and Dr. Maya Angelou. And I'm grateful that they gave me some insight on that big outside world beyond our tiny valley and left many of us with eyes opened and prepared for a bigger and broader world and some skills in coping with it.
This morning I watched a television program (not a commercial network) predicting that the US will soon be creating "derivitives" for fresh water. As if mortgage derivitives weren't enough!
The discussion was about the world running out of capital and the need to create new capital...in order to keep ... capitalism alive.
For a good desscription of derivitives I recommend the article explaining them on Billsandiego.blogspot.com.