From a BBC Newsnight interview
published on June 8, 2012
Then I turn left off the highway, drive under a small bridge, the same bridge we travel under every work morning, either a u-turn to drop her off at the train on my way to run household errands, or, on the days I teach classes, to park the car and take a separate train to campus.
Every morning we see families of homeless people huddled together on scavenged mattresses, wrapped in dirty blankets, still sleeping while car after car of commuters take this shortcut—left turn under the bridge, then make another left onto a side street to just drop someone off, pick someone up, or turn right into the gated lot for a flat fee $15 parking spot.
There’s another bridge around the block from the station that shelters an elderly couple. We see them on the way home every day. Usually they’re spooning on their own dirty mattress, wrapped up in blankets, clutching each other, seemingly sleeping.
But yesterday, during the evening commute, the man was alone, face in his palms, sitting on a plastic five gallon paint bucket. We tried to pull over to give him some money.
“We should really start bringing them trays of food, or something, anything….” I tried to say, but the street was crammed with commuters impatiently heading home. Rushing. Horns blared. People cut us off, cursing—the flow of traffic forcing us to move along.
“This is horrible,” Luz said.
But this morning’s scene was the worst yet. We made our usual left under the shortcut bridge and ran into traffic, a line of cars waiting to enter the parking lot, a larger sign advertising an inflated parking fee—bold red font—posted at the entrance: $20.
“Must be some kind of formal breakfast or brunch, must be a banquet hall nearby,” I said to Luz, as one smartly dressed couple after another—beautiful designer suits, richly elegant dresses—marched in a rush, primped and polished and oblivious, walking right past the homeless families who live under the shortcut bridge.
“It’s like an inequality parade,” I said, scoffing at the sight. “What a mess. Welcome to the United States.”
“This is horrible,” Luz said, “just horrible.”
Samir Sonti, explained the evolution of the corporate sectors view of public education, why eduction shouldn’t be about human capital, the origins of student debt, the enduring lessons of the GI Bill, why free education would boost the economy as a whole, why unions have been essential to all progressive struggles since the dawn of industrial capitalism and the vital importance of teachers unions.
“We could make college free for everyone for about 4% of the federal budget, which is about 1/4 of what we already spend on defense.” -Samir Sonti
This clip from the Majority Report, live M-F at 12 noon EST and via daily podcast. Listen to the full interview at http://Majority.FM
Subscribe on YouTube: http://youtube.com/user/SamSeder
And read “Going Back to Class: Why We Need to Make University Free, and How We Can Do It” by Samir Sonti HERE.
There are a few of us now. Besides me and Luz, there are new friends and colleagues floating around “behind the scenes” here @ #njpoet. We’ve been emailing, chatting, texting, plotting…
Thank you to everyone who helps me do what I do. You are all family to me.
And to everyone who retweets, reposts, likes, shares, and consistently reads along,
you make my surreal life concretely awesome.
TY. TY. TY.
Bring on 2013!
Wait! Is that a comet in the sky?!
Just kidding… 2012 joke…