Writing

Piece 65 – In Pursuit of a More Perfect Union, An Argument for Further Federal Involvement By. Raimondo Graziano

In Pursuit of a More Perfect Union,

                                       An Argument for Further Federal Involvement

By. Raimondo Graziano

The United States is run woefully ineffectively. This is clear to many policy makers from both sides of the political aisle. The current crisis we find ourselves in has only made this all the more clear. The national response has been an utter disaster, and we have left it up to the states, of which there are fifty different ones with differing sets of codes, laws, regulations and governing styles, to deal with a crisis that in reality called for a unified national response.

It is pitiful and frankly pathetic. From the mixed messaging of the federal government to denialism across swaths of the country from public officials. While the rest of the world seems to be getting a handle of things, we lead the world in pure ineffective governance. It seems like this crisis has worsened and hastened our wholly avoidable decline. While the American people suffer, Congress cannot even reasonably get their act together to pass meaningful stimulus and economic relief – as always leaving matters of grave importance to the very last minute.

One would think that this is an argument for less government involvement. Quite the contrary. We need an overwhelming display of federal oversight. This here is a great lesson for would be statesman of the years to come. If the United States is ever to step into it’s true potential we from time to time must engage the full force of government to tackle threats and circumstances that cannot be managed effectively by essentially fifty different governing bodies.

We have seen glimmers of an executive branch unhinged and exercising the immense powers afforded to it – whether through lack of congressional oversight or the very ceding of power from Congress to the Presidency. We have seen the extraordinary powers of our central bank to bring stability and direction to a faltering economy. We have seen shadows of power used only when the elites of the nation are in peril. We must use these strengths to carry out the will of the people. We must restore decency to Washington and push an agenda to uplift the people, and root out corruption and dereliction of duty wherever it hides. We cannot use the full force, the might of the federal government until we restore decency to Washington. If we are to remain a strong and united country, we must increase the reach of the federal government to answer the increasing frequency or crises.

Writing

Piece 66 – School Choice? An Answer to Our Failing Public Schools By. Raimondo Graziano

School Choice?

An Answer to Our Failing Public Schools

By. Raimondo Graziano

      Like many programs that are run by the government, schooling in this country is woefully a low priority for policy makers from the local to the federal government. Politicians are good at the talk of it all – supporting students, supporting teachers, etc. Though when it comes to enacting meaningful reforms, they fall far too short. It is obvious there is a serious problem with educating in the country – we lag far behind the Western world in educational standards, and our students meeting them. For many decades now the quality of American education has been declining steadily. Our students have been given a raw deal – something has got to give. It is obvious that there are systemic inequities in our nations schooling system; from the way funds are appropriated, to how we evaluate students, and to what is taught not from state to state but from district to district. It is going to take a great deal of political will to tackle the issues surrounding education; teacher pay, quality of education, and the great disparities in the direction of our higher educational institutions.

      But there is something we can do today. What’s spurred my thinking on this is the current debacle Congress has stumbled into in regards to relief bills aimed at direct assistance to millions of American families. Bear with me – I do have a point pertaining to education. They, in their usual fashion, waited to the very last minute to address the concerns facing millions of Americans. Now they have a handful of days to hammer out an agreement between two deeply entrenched political parties, who have wildly differing views on how aid ought to be dispensed. The Senate aims to cap a bill at $1,000,000,000,000. While the House’s starting position is $3,000,000,000,000. A cavern of differences exists. The problems the bills aim to address are far reaching and can effect many facets of American life. But there are portions that overlap – namely the need to extend unemployment benefits and provide direct stimulus payments. Disagreements may exist on amounts, but both sides recognize that action needs to be taken now on this issue. They should address that now. It is the same for education. We can sit and debate about issues we have deep, deep disagreements over but the bottom line is the American people need actionable results now. In that, and I say this as a moderate and a progressive, school choice may be our answer for our children across the country.

      In the interim while Congress works to tackle the greater issues at the heart of our education system, why can we not use the resources afforded to us to give greater power and agency to families across the country, and even here in New York City. Why is it that Democrats are so opposed to school choice? How is the freedom to choose ones school any different from the cities voucher program as it pertains to housing? We give people a voucher which covers the cost, or part of the cost for rent- that way folks can avoid the shelters. The shelters and public schools are run shoddily – why not give more choice to families. Education of our youth is the most important. Parents ought to be able to give their children the best – and whether that is a public school or a private school the state ought to facilitate the greatest most beneficial agreement and policies in the immediate for the sake of our children, while our politicians work out fixing the broader strokes. Action now, broad reforms later. People, and families need action now.

Old Howard Union

70 – The Working Families Party; An Alternative to the Same-Old?

Today I wanted to take a little time to speak about an organization doing some important and impactful work across the country. The Working Families Party mission is as follows:

“The Working Families Party is a progressive grassroots political party building a multiracial movement of working people to transform America.”

For more information, please go to:

https://workingfamilies.org/about-us/

And also, if you could, please donate and support their work – they need the support of the public at large.

Invest in the Movement

 

 

Writing

Piece 63 – Invest In Our Communities Across The Country; Why We Need A Major Investment in Americans By. Raimondo Graziano

Invest In Our Communities Across The Country

Why We Need A Major Investment in Americans

By. Raimondo Graziano

     It is no major understatement to say that the American family needs a foundational restructuring. The American family is struggling and is under immense strain from numerous differing directions. We need a major investment in the American family, and in our communities across the country. I am not simply talking about an economic investment, this approach needs to be many pronged. There are numerous fronts in this great war to reclaim and reforge a truly unique American identity, and a uniquely American community. There are many strains on the American family, financially, morally, and as a unit itself. If the country is to survive we need to begin to place a greater emphasis on the American family and of community if we are to build strong bonds that help to propel us forward, we need to create a sense of community that transcends ethnic, and nationalistic feelings of patriotism. We must work to create a sense of patriotism rooted in an ideal and an idea. There are many fronts in this war – it begins with our communities, and it begins with our families.

      Too often we heap a great deal of responsibility on the American family to take on so much, with so little resources at hand. Now during these times of crisis, and the continuing ensuing economic uncertainty, American communities and families are under enormous pressure. This week Congress meets to try and work out a deal for additional economic relief to American families and states across the country. This week extended unemployment benefits expires for every American family that is receiving them. If taken away, this will throw American families into a harsh economic reality. These benefits are but a temporary reprieve and another shoddy attempt by Congress to provide relief. It is nothing but a side project for Congress.

    If they were interested in propping up American communities and the American family, then they would not have taken a recess for nearly a month, only to meet a week before millions of family are thrown into complete uncertainty. While Congress bickers and takes in their salaries, unabated, Americans are deeply struggling. People cant find work, cannot give their children an education and cannot put food on the table, pay bills, and so much more. Americans deserve so much more. So much more from their country, and so much more from their elected officials. We must begin to invest in our communities, we can no longer settle with half-measures. We must work for the empowerment of the American family – economically, internally, and in all other spheres of influence.

Writing

Piece 62 – Monuments of Our History, What to Do? By. Raimondo Graziano

Monuments of Our History, What to Do?

By. Raimondo Graziano

      In the wake of recent unrest that has swept the nation a question has arisen as to the importance, relevance and the very existence of our national monuments, and of the question of monuments to the confederacy. In the aftermath of the death of George Floyd a whirlwind of anger, pent up after months of isolation and distance from others, with only our thoughts and introspection to temper our troubled minds, a tempest of anger and vitriol has washed over the nation and has become a turning point, becoming so much more than the man. In just over a month, a nation has become gripped in unrest across the country – from protests to demonstrations, to riots and looting – the country is experiencing an unraveling. We have seen the deployment of federal troops to cities across the country, we have seen the national guard descend upon Washington, and we have seen a backlash to the police forces that riddle the country. In short we have seen a moment of reckoning in motion. A nation questioning itself, questioning who we are as a country, and perhaps violently reacting to the truth of some of the harsh realities of existing in this country today. A virulent backlash to a history which we are beginning to reckon with, a history that is not entirely as picturesque as our collective upbringing would have us believe.

    We have to walk a fine line between admonishing our history for its wrongs, and praising it and singing of its glory with abandon. If we are going to work to reconcile the wrongs of our past, we cannot actively work to foment its erasure. We must firstly understand our history, and recognize the inherent flawed nature of the world and the men who helped to forge it. There is a major difference however in the erection of a statue of Washington and the erection of a statue of Davis. One is an American, the father of the nation, who yes, was a slave owner. We all today can be in agreement that the institution of slavery is an abhorrent wrong.

     However, the ideals that Washington represented transcend the truth of the man, Washington is our history. To begin to construct a nation of liberty for all, takes generations. And the fullest liberation of a people takes time. Washington in his ideals reflected this, though the reality of his day, fought against it. Washington said “As Mankind becomes more liberal, they will be more apt to allow that all those who conduct themselves as worthy members of the community are equally entitled to the protections of civil government. I hope ever to see America among the foremost nations of justice and liberality.” On the other hand, the other is a portrait of racism and a picture of an American cancer, that of the treasonous Confederacy. A collection of states which severed its ties to the union in order to preserve the institution of slavery. At that moment they forfeited their rights as Americans. They choose enslavement and misery, over the promise of a higher ideal. The ideals of Davis highlight the moral bankruptcy of the man, Davis is the antithesis of what this country idealistically represents. The truth of Davis is he did not strive for a higher ideal, he settled for the abhorrence of slavery and justified it. To quote Davis “My own convictions as to negro slavery are strong. You cannot transform the negro into anything one-tenth as useful or as good as what slavery enables them to be.”

     There is credence in tearing down the monuments erected in commemoration of the Confederacy. They are monuments to rebellion, to treason and to the institution of slavery. The confederacy is indeed apart of American history – as a combatant, a separatist breakaway nation deserving of no grand adulation. It is a lesson to be learned from, in right and wrong. The moral and immoral. Our mistake has been allowing the glorification of the Confederacy for nearly a one hundred years. In short – Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt. These are men of this country. Where they flawed? Yes, as you and I are. But where they empathically for the progress towards our highest ideals, the highest ideals of this country? Absolutely. The same cannot be said of the Confederacy. Down with Davis, and every flag and every monument to the greatest cancer that to this day plagues the progress of our country forward.