“Education. Schools. Children. Vouchers. Which word doesn’t fit?”


My pen pal D(NM), a native New Albanian now residing elsewhere, sent this note the other day. Shortly after reading it, I saw St. Daniels’s self-serving account of vouchers, and it occurred to me that whenever I hear Mitch Daniels say the words “social justice”, I reach for my Irony Sickness Bag.

The governor who famously (facetiously?) referred to a “truce” in the culture wars now spends his days signing legislation dedicated to social engineering on a scale seldom glimpsed since the halcyon days of 20th-century “isms”, then sells the souvenir pens on Ebay to finance his White House run.

Like my friend D’s reaction, it makes me sick. Waiter: One of those irony bags, please. Extra large if you’ve got it.

Well Roger, whatareyougoingtodoaboutthismess?

Sorry ‘bout that; words spoken in anger tend to rush out without sufficient pause between. Oops, I’m beginning to sound like Yoda.

How can those idiots face their constituents, how can they face their G-d, when they pull off a stunt like “School Vouchers”? Of course, they are fully aware of the damage they’re going to do to the Indiana Public School system. What can they be thinking? If thinking is what they pretend to do?

The unthinking cruelty of these clowns; it goes to prove time after time that they are amoral to the ‘nth degree. I’m done with Indiana. I’ll never return; however this decision of mine won’t amount to a hill of beans in the long run. But, it will give my anger a focus.

I have to ask, where in Indiana is the one person who’ll stand up and speak out to remind their fellow Hoosiers that this is wrong? This is nothing but a sop to the ugliest of the radical right’s ambitions, and that is to reverse the civil rights movement in this country. To take us back to that imagined time in this country when white was right and those who weren’t were outta sight.

When I was in the sixth grade, attending the State Street Elementary School , the principal was Lillian Emery (of hated memory). She had declared, early on when the subject of integration of New Albany’s schools was discussed, that the only way a black child would walk into State Street School was over her dead body. We all, or at least a lot of us, held our collective breath and hoped that soon a new student would appear and grant our most fervent wishes.

So, one day, during recess I spotted that one black child, alone, away from the other students, crying, afraid, scared to death. I think he was a second grader, one little kid; and at that point the cruelty of the New Albany power merchants was out there for all to see. Unfortunately Miss Emery remained, fully ensconced on her throne. They even named the school after her, for a while; at least until her ugly story became public knowledge.

I tried to befriend and reassure that kid, but he was so miserable and afraid, he was literally inconsolable. I don’t remember if he was at school the next day, I don’t remember seeing him again. The school year ended and I was on to New Albany Junior High, on Spring Street, where integration was a reality. Not that everything was peaches and cream, but it worked, for the most part.

Now, the moral descendants of Lillian Emery are out to reverse the wheels of progress. Indiana’s most welcome to them. You’ll need to keep a weather eye out; I hear that Carrie Nation is reforming the W.C.T.U. for a second go around.

Be very watchful!