A walk down ‘Stupid Street’
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 firstname.lastname@example.org