A walk down ‘Stupid Street’

The Times Herald (Norristown, PA) - - OPINION -

Last week, I was read­ing a col­umn by a com­men­ta­tor in a ma­jor met­ro­pol­i­tan news­pa­per, who was writ­ing about Gov­er­nor Cor­bett’s de­ci­sion to not show up at Cen­tral High School in Philadel­phia be­cause there would be pro­tes­tors present. He said that the gov­er­nor was, po­lit­i­cally, tak­ing “… a walk down stupid street.” He felt this tac­tic of avoid­ance would back­fire on the gov­er­nor come the elec­tion this fall.

My first re­ac­tion to the phrase “… walk down stupid street” was laugh­ter. Then I thought that it was a lit­tle harsh. I used to have a col­league who was al­ways hu­mor­ously say­ing things like “… not the bright­est bulb on the tree… ”and “… not the sharpest knife in the drawer.” I thought that was funny too, but I didn’t make it a habit of say­ing those phrases. Then, I got to think­ing that I bet I can use this in my col­umn. Lord knows, the po­lit­i­cal, en­ter­tain­ment, busi­ness, and sports worlds pro­vide us plenty of fod­der ev­ery day for a “stupid street” com­men­tary.

Then, as I am pondering all of this, who should come along with a let­ter to the “Wall Street Jour­nal” but bil­lion­aire Tom Perkins, founder of the ven­ture cap­i­tal firm Kleiner, Perkins, Cau­field and By­ers. Writ­ing from San Fran­cisco, Perkins com­pares the cam­paign in the USA against the un­due in­flu­ence of our wealth­i­est “one per­cent” on Amer­i­can life to Nazi Ger­many’s war on the Jews. He specif­i­cally men­tions Kristall­nacht. Well, folks - there he is. Our first res­i­dent of Stupid Street has been lo­cated.

I just fin­ished teach­ing my his­tory class about Al­bert Einstein. Einstein was born in Ger­many and left in 1933, af­ter Adolph Hitler be­came Chan­cel­lor. He came to the USA and be­came a teacher at Prince­ton Univer­sity. I think it is safe to say that Tom Perkins is no Al­bert Einstein, when it comes to log­i­cal think­ing.

One of my fa­vorite books is David Hal­ber­stam’s “Best and the Bright­est.” I don’t think I will be in­clud­ing Tom Perkins’s name on a list of the best and the bright­est any time soon.

Come Fe­bru­ary, my his­tory class will be study­ing about Kristall­nacht, which oc­curred on Novem­ber 9th and 10th, 1938, in Ger­many and parts of Aus­tria. Be­cause of the shards of glass that lit­tered streets af­ter the de­struc­tion of syn­a­gogues, and Jewish owned

COM­MEN­TARY houses and busi­nesses, it be­came known as “Night of the Bro­ken Glass.” I have seen an HBO show “Con­fes­sions of a Hitler Youth” about Alfons Heck, a for­mer mem­ber of a Hitler youth group. He said that many Ger­mans claimed not to know what the Nazis were do­ing to the Jews up un­til Kristall­nacht. He said that af­ter Novem­ber 9th and 10th, 1938, peo­ple could no longer cred­i­bly claim not to know. They knew.

So, Tom Perkins con­tends that com­plain­ing about the im­bal­ance be­tween the wealth of the one per­cent (and the .01 per­cent) and the rest of the peo­ple in the USA is equiv­a­lent to a night on which ninety-one peo­ple died and was ar­guably the be­gin­ning of the Nazis at­tempt at a “Fi­nal So­lu­tion.” The Anti-Defama­tion League has said that such com­par­isons are in­ap­pro­pri­ate.

I re­mem­ber read­ing a book to my daugh­ter when she was lit­tle. It was about a fam­ily called the Stupids. Now, I hope they didn’t live on Stupid Street, be­cause they might get caught liv­ing next to my next res­i­dent of Stupid Street. Yes, folks from the world of en­ter­tain­ment, it’s - Justin Bieber.

What, pray tell, is this dude up to? He’s mak­ing Lind­say Lo­han look like she’s got ev­ery­thing un­der con­trol by com­par­i­son. What’s with throw­ing eggs, drugs in his house, drag rac­ing, DUIs, etc.? And this was all in about two weeks time. Good grief, Justin Bieber! Calm down. Now, I here talk of de­por­ta­tion back to Canada. As they sang in “The Sound of Mu­sic,” – “So long, farewell, auf wei­der­se­hen, good­bye.”

Enough of Stupid Street – I wish we could switch to Smart Street in this coun­try a bit more than we do cur­rently. Maybe, then we wouldn’t rank 34th out of 35 in­dus­trial coun­tries in the per­cent­age of chil­dren who live in poverty ac­cord­ing to the lat­est UNICEF re­port. That’s right – only Ro­ma­nia has a higher per­cent­age of chil­dren liv­ing in poverty than we do. I of­ten hear about Amer­i­can “ex­cep­tion­al­ism.” Wouldn’t it be nice to be ex­cep­tion­ally good at mak­ing sure no chil­dren live in poverty in our coun­try?

Well, I am out of space, which means I won’t have time to write about Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Steve Pearce (R-NM) and his com­ments in which he said that a wife should vol­un­tar­ily sub­mit to her hus­band as a mat­ter of obe­di­ence. Hey, Steve. There’s a house for sale on a cer­tain street. Your next-door neigh­bors would be Tom Perkins and Justin Bieber. Now what is the name of that street?

Con­tact Tom Lees, a long­time area res­i­dent and ed­u­ca­tor, at tlees2@aol.com

TOM LEES

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