Saturday, February 12, 2011

Throw-away kids

In response to T&G article today on soaring youth homelessness and a bunch of stupid comments about blaming the kids and punishing them or washing our hands of them or what do you want to do shoot them all? I wrote and posted this:

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This is a nightmare situation if you only look up close. Parents can't raise their kids right, they get taken away and put in foster care, foster parents can't handle them because they're angry and resentful and don't trust anyone so they get moved from home to home until they're 18 and then they're essentially put out in the street with an 8th grade education and no ability to hold the jobs that are out there, which don't pay enough to support an apartment and transportation anyway, even if they can get and hold one, and about the only things they can do that will earn enough are illegal things, which pay enough *because* they are illegal except they wind them up in prison where they get brutalized and usually raped but get a good education in doing illegal things better and then they're out on the street again with a CORI and still no skills - but they can still look for love, love they have to find, even they don't believe they can ever have it and can't accept it when they get it but they have to find love and they have to find the family they never had and do right all the things their parents and foster parents did wrong even though they have no idea or ability how .. but at least they can make babies and make a world where they can get and give love - until the baby starts screaming because they can't feed it or can't pay attention to what its trying to tell them or can't watch it all the time while they're trying to hustle up some bread so they get angry and abusive and maybe even start hitting and torturing the poor thing because it's driving them totally crazy - and so the State steps in and takes it away and puts it in foster care.

So folks, what are we going to do about that?

The starting place is jobs. Good jobs at decent pay doing things that don't require much skill, like making things in a factory or growing vegetables.

Can't be done? All the jobs are high tech or they're in China or Mexico? Well we'd better think again. We need those jobs here. Now. Millions of them.

We're consuming all this stuff that's made in other countries, paying for it in dollars that are only accepted as being worth anything because the US has 700 foreign military bases and 2/3 of the world's nuclear bombs and an infrastructure of control mechanisms ranging from the Special Forces death squads to the "Endowment for Democracy" inserted deep into the fabric of almost every country on earth, and what has it gotten us? A hollowed out country which doesn't make its own stuff, and a people with not enough to do. You can fix the schools and fix the foster care system and fix the courts and fix the jails and it won't fix the problem if there's no jobs there that the young people are prepared to do - and if we got them all college degrees then there wouldn't be enough of those jobs. There aren't now.

So how do we do this in an age of computer-controlled automated production? How do you undo all the tremendous (stupendous? stupefying?) progress that's been made in productivity, the benefit of which has all gone to someone other than the people who are making or growing things? Well it all looks impossible, until you consider what we are going to have to do when the dollar collapses and the Empire collapses and we're left with a country that's starving and massively unemployed and unable to buy any of the things that we no longer know how to make or grow.

We'll have to start over. And we'll need all of those superfluous, obsolescent leftover throw-away kids working together with us to do that.

Are these right wing stereotype?. Right wing stereotypes don't come out of thin air. LSomething happens and we make up a story about it. Well it's not right wing to say what's there, it's only right wing to blame the kids for it or blame the parents for it or blame anybody for it. It's progressive to say what's so and then say what we - and those kids - can do about it together.

At least, that's how it looks to me right now.
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