Wednesday, March 29, 2006

A Fresh Look at Old Farts

My husband, ever eager to teach our children life skills, bent over to turn on the vacuum and farted audibly. He turned to our five and four year old children, James and Emma, who paid careful attention to the vacuum demonstration and said, “James farted.”

James looked indignant briefly and quickly countered, “Emma cut one.”

Emma gave her father a long steady look and said, “No, seriously James farted.”

My husband says he’s teaching important life lessons, political skills. I find this farfetched since Emma already exaggerates, embellishes and lies with the poise and spontaneity of a politician. As parents in Oakland we don’t get to play politics much, we’re too busy working two jobs to pay for the mortgage and the private schools.

Our family falls between the demographic cracks we get to check all the boxes for ethnicity and we earn enough live in Oakland, but not enough to buy political favors. My husband and I don’t matter and I don’t mind if we are left out of the discussion about Oakland’s future. Emma and James though they deserve a place at the table.

Here and now makes our children what they will become tomorrow and Mayor Brown and the Oakland City Council have failed Oakland’s children miserably. We had a youth and child sex industry blossom under the careful management of these “crime stoppers.” If you vilify minority youth for political gain, why should you be surprised when they are then exploited for profit? If you promise pork and cut deals to better serve voter rich affluent neighborhoods while schools and other city services disappear in poorer neighborhoods, how can you than be “shocked” when youth create their own entertainment by driving in cars.

I can’t bear to hear more promises of pork, police and bond initiatives. I want to hear an acceptance of failure and a sincere apology from Council President Ignacio De La Fuente to the children and parents of Oakland because his mistakes and mismanagement have cost our children their lives, their dreams and their futures. The Oakland City Council stinks up the council chambers with their sweet deals for developers, gaseous rhetoric, stupidity and arrogance then when bad things happen on their watch, they blame our kids. Come on Ignacio you farted, all we want is a simple, “excuse me.”


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