All the while, I was under the stupid impression that whoever is chosen to replace Barack Obama as Senator from Illinois would be someone who was qualified based on experience and ability. But according to Laura Washington of the Chicago Sun-Times, experience doesn't matter.
Ability doesn't matter.
None of it matters. To Ms. Washington, the only thing that matters is that the person is black.
Look, I believe a grave injustice was done to black America. I believe that slavery was a horrible experience and that even in the many years following black liberation the country was deeply guilty of atrocities aimed at the black community.
But I also remember the words of Martin Luther King when he said "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."
Columnists like Laura Washington (and of course, not just columnists either) set race relations back decades with their victim-based comments. We, as a nation, will never accomplish the goals King envisioned as long as we still call for these kinds of considerations. This is not to say that an African-American should not be considered. Not at all. But one's race should not be, nor ever be, the qualification for a political position.
According t0 a report in the Chicago Tribune, of every 100 freshmen entering a Chicago public high school, only about six will earn a bachelor's degree by the time they're in their mid-20s.
That means, if you attend a Chicago public school, chances re excellent that you will not graduate from college. Considering the need for education in order to succeed in the global economies of today, this is staggeringly horrible statistic.
How on earth will this generation of students becoming anything more than bottom feeders in the economy? We are are creating a society of uneducated simpletons who will be unable to grow our society for the next generation.
So what does our President-elect do about this problem?
He appoints the main architect as Education Secretary, of course.
The man who 7 years ago was tasked with fixing the failing schools in Chicago has been given the job as Secretary of Education. Arne Duncan should not only not be given this job, he shouldn't even be in this line of work!
The system is so bad here in Chicago that Obama himself sent his daughters to private school. Now I realize that each person - Senators and President-elects as well - have the responsibility to send their children to the schools that are best for them and their families. But it strikes me that if the Chicago public schools re not good enough for Obama, why should we think the guy who runs them should be charged with the entire counties education system.
It isn't that Duncan just started and hasn't had time to make a difference. The guy has been at it for 7 years already. Yet there has been nary an improvement in the test scores or graduation rates in his charged schools.
Is there no one in America who deserves this position more than Arne Duncan? I understand Obama's need to hire someone he knows, but he also "knows" Rod Blagojevitch and I don't think he should hire him either. C'mon, what about the guy in New York - Joel Klein? Or Michelle Rhee in Washington, D.C.? Both of these people have proven accomplishments in reforming eduction and doing it well.
Once again, I question Obama's judgement. But as a Chicagoan, I know where the bread is buttered. Just business as usual, I guess.