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Laboring through Labor Day. A look at how life has changed from schools to politics in Chicagoland and America.
By Ray Hanania
The Labor Day weekend usually marks a special point in our lives when children go back to school, the weather shifts from swelter to soothing, and we’re reminded politics really has no season and is here with us every day.
It’s supposed to be the start of something new, but honestly, it’s become a familiar blur.
Things may not change in politics but they have changed in how we act. These days, the kids start going back to school in the middle of August and it continues past Labor Day, depending on where you live.
I don’t know why but I figure it has to do with money. Sadly, that’s what most educators really care about. It ain’t the kids (my illiterate protest).
For some, Summer has been great. But in many parts of the country, the weather has been punishing. Devastating floods in Baton Rouge, Louisiana were horrible. The East Coast, Texas and Florida were slammed too.
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The worst part is how tragedy is now a political football game played on Social Media.
A few weeks back I wrote about how former President George W. Bush was hammered for not caring about the people of New Orleans during the Katrina devastation in 2005.
Never mind that he was off the golf course the next day and doing his best to direct the slow moving wheels of government to respond – FEMA badly needed and eventually got a make-over.
Yet the same politics that criticizes President Bush shields President Barack Obama, who played golf for a week during the tragedy in Louisiana without lifting a finger; his defenders are legion arguing, “Not as many people died in Baton Rouge as they did in New Orleans.”
Maybe not. But national politics has a stench of rot and you can’t just blame it on Donald Trump, a businessman who’s only stupid mistake was to believe you can make national government responsive to the people. Hillary Clinton is the gift that keeps on taking!
People don’t want responsive government. I’m reminded by that every day on my Facebook Page, where vicious debates quickly spiral into name calling and hate among “Friends.”
Facebook isn’t a place for “Friends.” It’s a battleground for frustration. Technology has allowed every Tom, Lance Bass and Sally to scream about something stupid.
Being stupid is easier than ever these days. Just click on your costly “smart phone,” which really isn’t smart at all.
Commonsense is trampled to death by rage.
Are kids getting a good education? No more in the suburbs than Chicago. Mayor Rahm Emanuel is doing his best to help, but the problem is the radically charged political ambition of educators who can’t run our schools but think they can do a better job of running government.
It’s not just Chicago. Everyday, I see more and more people at intersections in the Southwest suburbs pleading for handouts. One man in tattered clothes held a sign that read, “I’m too ugly to be a prostitute. Please help.”
Even the educated are on the streets trying to survive.
The economy sucks. Schools are hopeless. Politics is at the sewer bottom, taken there by people driven more by a hate of someone than by a belief in someone else.
What’s happened to our society? Has global warming slowed our brains? Is the sun burning out?
All I know is I have one safe haven, and that’s TV. Not Comcast or Xfinity, symbols of how good ideas turn into burdens.
I’m talking about Netflix, the best deal on the planet. I’m still paying $7.99 a month (though it will go up a buck or two soon) but I get to watch everything without an extra charge.
I just saw the Netflix exclusive series “Narcos,” the story about the drug dealer Robin Hood Pablo Escobar, the best series I’ve seen in years.
Ahhhhh! The TV remote. My only true “Friend” these days. It doesn’t talk back.
(Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and political columnist. Email him at email@example.com.)
This post has already been read 282 times!
Hanania loves to write about American Arabs in politics, and focuses on Arab life in America.
Currently, he writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com. He writes on American politics for the Des Plaines Valley News, Southwest News-Herald, The Regional News newspaper and the Reporter Newspapers. He also writes for the online websites TheArabDailyNews.com and NewsAmericaNetwork.com (Illinois News Network at IllinoisNewsNetwork.com).
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Hanania began in journalism as an activist publishing Chicago’s first English-language American Arab Newspaper “The Middle Eastern Voice” from 1975 through 1977. In 1976, he was hired by the Chicago community newspaper The Southtown Economist (Daily Southtown) and in 1985 was hired by the Chicago Sun-Times and covered Chicago City Hall for both. In 1993, he launched the “The Villager” Newspapers which covered 12 Southwest Chicagoland suburban regions. In 2004, he published “The National Arab American Times” monthly newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East ethnic food stores in 48 American States.
Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
Hanania’s writings have been published in newspapers around the world. Formerly syndicated by Creators Syndicate, Hanania also has written news, features and Opinion Columns for Al Jazeera English, the Jerusalem Post, YNetNews.com, Arab News, Saudi Gazette, Newsday in New York, the Orlando Sentinel, the Houston Chronicle, The Daily Star, the News of the World, the Daily Yomimuri in Tokyo, Chicago Magazine, the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, and Aramco Magazine. His political columns are published in the Southwest News-Herald and Des Plaines Valley News, Regional News and Palos Reporter newspapers in Chicagoland. Hanania is the President/CEO of Urban Strategies Group media and public affairs consulting which has clients in Illinois, Florida, Michigan and Washington D.C.
Hanania is Palestinian Christian from prominent Bethlehem and Jerusalem families. His wife and son are Jewish and he performs standup comedy lampooning Arab-Jewish relations, advocating for peace based on non-violence, mutual recognition and Two-States.
His Facebook Page is Facebook.com/rghanania
Email him at: RGHanania@gmail.com
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