Friday, January 11, 2008

Modern Ship Building

"I cannot imagine any condition which would cause a ship to founder. Modern ship building has gone beyond that." - Captain Smith, Commander of the Titanic

Bad housing/economic news here, here and here.

Our house is currently on the market. If you can call it a market. More like a garage sale. We couldn't have picked a worse time since before we were in high school to try to move. Funny little world, innit?

So earlier this week, our realtor sent me the latest data on comparable home sales in our neighborhood.

Since July, there have been twelve houses sold. Of the those, nine were foreclosures and one was a foreclosure house flip that sold for $20K under market value.

I have nothing more to say about this, except that it blows donkey.

on second thought

I do have something more to say. The reason we want to move is so we can get our kids into a good school district.

Which begs the question, why does where you live determine whether or not you get to go to a good school? The accident of a child's birth should not, in any kind of just world, condemn that child to ignorance and poverty.

What kind of fucked up world do we live in where if you live on this street, you can attend a decent school, but if you live one street over, that's just too bad, so sad, cry me a river. Tell your parents to get off their asses and get a real job and maybe they can afford to move to a better neighborhood.

We happen to be able to afford to move to a better neighborhood. Because of the shitty housing market, we're stuck here, which means our kids are stuck going to subpar schools. And these schools aren't even that bad - we just want better for our kids. If we lived a few miles to the northwest, they'd be stuck in elementary prison.

America is the wealthiest nation in the world. So why don't all American kids have good schools to go to? Why, in God's holy name, does their ZIP Code or for that matter which side of the street they live on determine the quality of their school?

Life isn't fair. I'm a realist. And I know this complaint isn't new or even particularly original. But Good God, people, this is as fundamental as it gets. If we lived in a world in which the government went out and speared to death all the children in a particular ZIP Code, we'd never ever let that action stand. So why is it ok to allow these kids to die slowly over the course of fifty or sixty years of poverty and ignorance brought about by the accident of where they were born? Wouldn't it just be simpler, and less expensive, to kill all the first born of the poor? We would achieve the same results. What matter the day they enter the grave, they're doomed the day they're born.

Good schools for every child is not a fundamental right, but it should be. It has to be, if this country is to survive. How much longer can we last as a nation if only a small percentage of our population is able to get a decent education? We seem to be blind to the icebergs in our path. We think we're too strong a nation to founder, but we're foundering now.

And when we do go down, rest assured, the people who brought us here will be the first off the boat.

"What do you think I am? Do you believe that I'm the sort that would have left that ship as long as there were any women and children on board? That's the thing that hurts, and it hurts all the more because it is so false and baseless. I have searched my mind with deepest care, I have thought long over each single incident that I could recall of that wreck. I'm sure that nothing wrong was done; that I did nothing that I should not have done. My conscience is clear and I have not been a lenient judge of my own acts." -J. Bruce Ismay, Director of the White Star Line, and survivor of the Titanic

1 comment:

Morgwyn said...

Well, are you in town in Memphis, or near the outside of Memphis? It's like buying a house in Pine Bluff (or West Memphis). I ain't gonna do it. I have no desire to live there.

I DO have a desire to go there and get shitfaced on Beale and see shows at the Pyramid, the Orpheum, and the New Daisy. And if I ever have the money, to stay in the Peabody. I almost always camp at Tom Sawyer's park, across the bridge... Memphis does have it's good points, but it also has those guys in the dark alley that will steal all yer stuff. In Pine Bluff they carjack you. :D