Tag Archives: President Obama

CLASS REUNIONS,By Louise Annarino,August 8,2012

9 Aug

CLASS REUNIONS,By Louise Annarino, August 8, 2012

 

I am not attending my 45th. high school class reunion. It is more than I am able to tolerate. I had been considering not attending for some time as several classmates indicated they would set me straight  about politics and show me the real Obama (no use of the title “president” ever appears before his name when they speak of the man they love to hate). When I first sent out feelers to my email list about my blog, these same persons notified me to never send them ANY political emails. I have not. However, they continue to send them to me, repeatedly. For more than four years I have replied with Fact Check,Politifact and Snopes as truth checks to show the distortions in the ads,videos and emails they send me. I cite original sources and provide full cuts of doctored and manipulated speeches and documents so they may learn something of the truth and see how they are being manipulated by hate-mongers. I ask them to please notify all to whom they mailed the original statements a correction and update.

 

Despite the hours of work it takes to carefully dissect and correct the propaganda, within weeks these classmates send me a different version of the identical distortions as if they never read a word I wrote. They probably did not. They are not interested in truth, only in attacking President Obama. At the 40th reunion I was blindsided by such hateful attacks. However, I presented the correct information and attempted to enjoy the company of other classmates. As a last resort, several of us had to leave the main event and go to a small room to avoid the political discussions and nonsense declarations. It is  fine line to walk to answer people politely when one has little respect for their lack of informed opinion and their willingness to find any way possible to excuse and justify their racism,sexism,homophobia; and bigotry toward African-Americans, Muslims,Latinos and immigrants. It is intolerable. It calls for response,not silence.

 

As I was considering the lost chance to see classmates from out-of-state I have been longing to see one of the reunion organizers called and mentioned everyone hoped no one would talk politics this time. The message was clear. Those disinterested in politics did not want the reunion ruined by those of us who do care.I will never remain silent when bigotry rears its head. I am genetically unable to remain silent when a bigoted opinion is accepted as factual analysis. Politics has become all about bigotry since an African-American was elected president. Hate groups monitored by the Southern Poverty Law Center have increased 1000% since he was elected. I can refrain from discussing most politics, but not this racial bigotry masquerading as politics.Clearly, I would be the thorn in everyone’s side again this time since others seem to prefer my silence in order to have a fun time. I made a decision right then not to  attend.

 

The rightfulness of my decision was confirmed a few hours ago. For the fourth time in as many weeks a classmate who assures me repeatedly how much she hates politics and is uninterested in it and to whom I never send anything political at her request, sent me a bigoted and factually incorrect email. This one was a doctored video of many speeches by president Obama in which various sentences were cobbled together to indicate he admits he is a Muslim. This video is not evidence of anything but the creator’s pathetic attempt to badly edit other tapes. Intelligent and well-informed voters know President Obama is not a muslim, although members of his extended family are. He and Michelle are Christian. But the more important point is that it would not matter one iota if he were Muslim,Mormon,Christian or Jew. Since when is a candidate’s religion a consideration? Roman Catholic President Kennedy’s election settled that matter long ago. It is ironic that this woman who declares we need to take back our country from those who would destroy our constitutional freedoms would deny a presidential candidate his constitutional freedom.

 

It is particularly disturbing to me that she sent out this hate-mongering against muslims video not a week after a white supremacist gathered his guns for a mass killing  of Sikhs, stupidly mistaking them for Muslims. Sikhs and Muslims have been the victims of soft attacks across the country since 9/11. To see the video attacks spread by my classmate turned my stomach. Instead of educating her about the misinformation and bigotry as I have done so many times before, this time I simply told her to never contact me again. I have had all I can stand of her bigotry; and of anyone else’s bigotry. This ethnic,religious and racial bigotry is eating away the soul of America and Americans.

 

If I thought I could reach her, or any of the others who send me such materials, by providing a reasoned and well-researched response I would continue to try. However, she appears to be immune to rational thought and is blinded by her hate and fear. I have tried to lovingly assuage the fears of those who send me this crazy stuff.  Some people actually thank me for pointing out what they had missed. But this woman and others like her are more comfortable with being bigoted than with being truthful and fair to others they hate. Not in my presence. Let my silent classmates deal with the bigots this time around. I won’t be there.

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REMEMBER ROMNEYHOOD,By Louise Annarino,August 7,2012

8 Aug

REMEMBER ROMNEYHOOD, By Louise Annarino,August 7,2012

 

Ronald Reagan took office as 40th. president of the United States in January 1981. By the close of his term in 1989 he had slashed domestic spending, reduced aid to cities by 60%, slashed public service jobs and job training, reduced funds for pubic transit benefiting cities while retaining highway funds benefiting suburbs,halved the budget for public housing and Section 8 and sought to eliminate housing assistance to the poor causing a steep increase in homelessness,widened the gap between rich and poor,(wages for average worker declined and home ownership rate fell),deregulated the Savings and Loan industry (leading to corruption,mismanagement and collapse of S&L’s requiring $100 billion government bailout) and attempted to dismantle legal services for the poor. (see more at http://www.nhi.org/online/issues/135/reagan.html )Reagan told us as Romney,Kasich,Mandel and Ryan now tell us that big tax cuts would pay for themselves by generating higher tax revenues through greater economic growth. President George W. Bush tried Reagan’s strategy and failed, just as Reagan did. Why would we expect Romney to achieve a different result using the same strategy?

 

I was a supervising attorney of the Senior Citizen Unit for The Legal Aid Society of Columbus during this time. I handled a caseload of 200 open cases, 350 altogether; and supervised another attorney with an equally large caseload, two paralegals, and a secretary. Our goal was to assist clients over 55 whose income fell well below the poverty line set in the 1950’s. Our cases involved consumer fraud, public benefits,medicare and medicaid,food stamps,hospital and medical bills, wills and powers of attorney/guardianships, housing, banking, land-lord tenant issues, mental health and a multitude of other legal issues. One cut made by President Reagan resulted in the deaths of three of my clients, and extreme suffering for hundreds of others.

 

President Reagan talked code to bigots,racists and economically advantaged white Americans in an attempt to stigmatize the poor, gut anti-poverty programs,and justify his tax cuts. “During his stump speeches while dutifully promising to roll back welfare, Reagan often told the story of a so-called “welfare queen” in Chicago who drove a Cadillac and had ripped off $150,000 from the government using 80 aliases, 30 addresses, a dozen social security cards and four fictional dead husbands. Journalists searched for this “welfare cheat” in the hopes of interviewing her and discovered that she didn’t exist.”(see more at http://www.businessweek.com/stories/2004-06-20/the-real-economic-legacy-of-ronald-reagan ). Reagan would have loved the interenet and used it along with political ads just as Mitt Romney does today – promising to roll back or privatize government benefits, requiring drug tests of welfare recipients, describing members of NAACP  as people who want free stuff from the government, falsely accusing President Obama of simply mailing out welfare checks to people unwilling to work. Working with Republican and Democratic governors HHS recently issued a memorandum allowing states to apply for waivers for TANF work requirement so long as the more flexible state project “demonstrates attainment of superior employment outcomes in lieu of participation rate requirements.” This is typical Obama pragmatism. If the state can demonstrate a different plan moves more people from welfare to work, HHS will be flexible and grant a waiver. Romney’s assertion is a complete distortion meant to appeal to voters who believe in welfare queens, or as Romney might state “big bucks” unwilling to work, a clear racial-code slur.(see more at http://firstread.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/08/07/13165243-dubious-claim-behind-romney-welfare-attack?lite).

 

I dread where Romney’s distortions to justify tax cuts might lead us; and, how many Americans will suffer and even die as a result of old,failed policies. President Reagan ordered the Social Security Administration to remove all current disability recipients from active rolls, and require each one to reapply for benefits. He was certain that too many were fraudulently claiming to be disabled. He saw a welfare queen behind every bush. The actual fraud rate for welfare benefits at the time was 1/4 of 1%. Yet, American voters were told the rate was so high, every recipient was a suspect. So suspect that every SSD and SSI recipient was terminated. Those terminated lost a monthly income and medicare or medicaid coverage, and food stamps. They had no where to live, nothing to eat, could not see a doctor or go to the hospital, ran out of life-saving medications. Disability recipients are the most fragile among us.

 

My staff immediately filed new applications, and appeals of termination, for each client in our open and closed files. We posted flyers at community centers, senior centers and elsewhere offering our services. Many fell through the cracks. We also filed appeals for termination of low-income housing, evictions, food stamps and medicare or medicaid. We negotiated with landlords, doctors, pharmacies and hospitals begging patience until our cases could be heard. Most of our clients tried to hang on so long as they could. Others were too proud and disappeared into the streets. Others became so depressed they committed suicide. Three of my clients died simply because they lacked medication,food,medical care, and housing. I recall one phone call from a case manager at The Franklin County Welfare Department happily informing that finally (after 5 months) he was restoring my client’s food stamps. He thought I would be grateful and happy but I was crying. He asked why, “ Mr. X died yesterday from complications from diabetes and malnutrition. You are too late.”  Every single appeal I filed was granted. Reagan was dead wrong;too wrong, and too many dead as a result.

 

At the same time, Reagan announced he was eliminating Legal Services Corp. which funded legal aid societies like mine nationwide. He was frustrated that government was paying lawyers to appeal denial of  government benefits. My annual salary at the time was $12,600. Average salaries for lawyers in the private sector was $65,000. Congress reauthorized Legal Services but Reagan vetoed the funding bill. Staff agreed to work without pay, give up management positions and not replace those who gave up and left the agency until funding could be restored. I found a live-in position at a rooming house with no pay but free rent, installed soda machines in basement to pay for my bus transportation to work, and took an evening and week-end job as a toy store clerk to pay school loans and buy food while handling an ever-increasing caseload and grieving for my clients who were being so unjustly maligned and hatefully treated so that taxes could be cut and military spending increased by President Reagan. Now, Mitt Romney, Ohio Governor John Kasich, and Senate candidate Josh Mandel wants a repeat performance. They pit voters against President Obama and Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown,using the same disingenuous statistics and history.

 

Remember the Alamo! Remember Pearl Harbor! Remember 9/11! I ask you to remember Reaganomics, Trickle Down Economics, Bush Tax Cuts, and now Romneyhood. We cannot allow politicians to prey on false fears when we have something real to fear. We must never forget that code messages stoking race-baiting, homophobia, and misogyny with lies and distortions will lead to death and disaster. I wish I could have saved those clients.

GARDENING A SWING STATE

9 May

GARDENING A SWING STATE

Louise Annarino

May 9, 2012

 

It’s cooler today after the heavy rains that soaked my new garden beds. The 88 degree days have subsided; humidity lies like a blanket of clouds over the newly-planted tomatoes. It seems a bit risky for tomato planting, despite the burgeoning evidence that Spring arrived very early this year. It is often hard for the mind to shut out the negativity of hail, wind, snow and ice storms of past Mays. Yet, Ohioans are changing their mind-set, little by little, forced to do so or be left behind in getting their crops to market. Ohioans won’t let changing weather patterns stop their forward progress. Ohio has become a swing-state despite its conservative history; maybe, because of it.

 

In the past,late freezes often occurred in Ohio. Ohioans tend to be conservative gardeners. No root crops planted before the oak tree puts out leaves the size of a mouse’s ear. No flowers or green crops put out before the last official freeze date, which gets earlier every year.Ohioans play it safe doing what they know works, taking few risks, and turning out crops to feed the nation year after year: corn,wheat,soy beans,canola,tomatoes,peppers,pumpkins, and more.

 

Most family farms have been corporatized. We now farm chickens and eggs in tiny cages, in huge barns. Driving mile after mile, we now we see farm field after farm field turning canola flower yellow.  Diversity within a single farm is nearly obsolete. These corporate practices require greater applications of more and more  chemicals, which run off fields into our streams, our small lakes, and our Great Lake resulting in huge algae blooms which  sicken swimmers and kill fish. Chemical companies provide more chemicals to treat the algae blooms. Conservative Ohioans know it is better to prevent a problem rather than treat it after; “A stitch in time, saves nine.” But, chemical companies have lobbyists who pay better than organic farmers, gardeners, and environmentalists.

 

At the same time, backyard farming has taken hold in our cities. Smaller organic farms and dairies are emerging. Farmers’ markets are flourishing. Local restaurants serve locally grown crops, and meat from locally raised, free-range chickens or grass-fed animals. The old is new again in Ohio. Corporations are not people, so have no life-principles, nor historical memory to guide their actions. But Ohio’s people do. And they are swinging back to policies and practices they learned from their farming and immigrant grandparents. Smaller is not always less; and, is often better because a smaller enterprise’s growth can be more closely regulated and controlled for greater productivity and more positive outcomes. Ohioans are not against regulations which protect commerce, banking and investing any more than they oppose regulations to protect the soil, air and water. They are not against gas and oil wells; they are against destroying our water supply by unregulated drilling practices. One can see well heads on farms all across the state, many of which supply energy for the local farmer whose field it sits upon.They are not against wealth accumulation; they are against unregulated and unscrupulous seekers of wealth, who destroy our middle class for their personal gain.

 

Ohioans have a history of shared community; of seeing the larger community as a living being entitled, as well as obligated, to the care of each member. Family farmers care for their own, and for their neighbors. Barn-raisings involve an entire community, sometimes for several days. No disaster is faced alone in an Ohio town. We see fewer farm towns today, but we see their remnants in our caring communities: races for “cures”, change jars on store check-out counters for struggling families, “battles of the bands” for town disasters etc. Ohioans care for one another, as best they can.

 

This is why the messages against “big government” are so insidious and so wrong-headed. The only way to make Ohioans, who are so community focused, believe them is to baldly lie that government is our enemy;and that government is taking away our money, our civil rights, our religion,our very means of survival, and our abillity to  care for one another. The truth is that for every $1.00 dollar Ohio sends as tax to the federal government it receives back $1.05 in return. Ohioans are actually getting more of their money than they give. 1

 

The federal government is the entity which protects our civil rights. Have we forgotten the Civil War? Jim Crow Laws? Anti-Miscegenation laws? Segregated schools? The Civil Rights Act of 1963?  Title VII and Title IX?  Repeal of “Don’t Ask,Don’t Tell”?  The federal government alone was able to assure civil rights protection so that slaves could be freed, African-Americans and women could vote,  African Americans could freely travel-eat in restaurants-get hospital care-drink from a drinking fountain, persons of different races could marry, children of different races could learn side-by-side, girls could play sports and be treated as equals to boys,age discrimination would not be tolerated,and everyone could serve and protect our towns, cities and nation openly and with respect. The government we are told to fear is the greatest protector of our civil right. Does this sound like your federal government is taking away your civil rights?

 

It is the federal government which grants religions tax exempt status so that church-raised dollars support only their religious tenets,not the larger community. And, it is federal dollars raised from American citizens of every religion, as well as from agnostics and atheists, which are given to religions for their “faith-based initiatives” which do serve the larger community. It is the federal government which protects those tax dollars received from all Americans from being used to promote the specific religion accepting the federal funds. This is what the Ist Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, ratified in 1791, intends by the following language: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”2  Anyone can pray in school at any time. Just don’t do it out loud. The schools are for students of any, or no religious belief; public schools are not religious schools. This does not mean public schools take away one’s religion, nor do they promote religion. This is in keeping with our Constitution. Does this sound like your federal government is threatening your religion’s existence?

 

It is the federal government which regulates the water,soil and air against corporate pollution which destroys are fishing industry, our agricultural product desirability, our own health. It is the federal government through the Affordable Care Act, ObamaCare, which regulates medical providers delivery of services against fraud and lowers the cost of services, which insists 80% of insurance premiums are used for medical care rather than corporate profit lowering the cost of heath care, demands no one is to be denied medical insurance due to pre-existing conditions. etc. Providing an environment and social structure to keep citizens healthy, lowers health care cost and promotes growth. Does this sound like your federal government is threatening your right to exist?

 

Ohioans are conservative farmers, gardeners, and citizens; but, they are fair and wise. Those who remember their history, who see through the BIG LIE about BIG GOVERNMENT, understand that S.B. 5’s intended purpose is to destroy unions, eliminate government workers, and undermine Democratic party support by such middle class workers;and they also see this attack actually undermines the Ohio tax base and  Ohio productivity, leads to increased foreclosures and bankruptcies, increases joblessness, and threatens Ohio’s economic recovery. It was the stimulus of federal government dollars which kept police, EMT’s, fire personnel, teachers and other essential public workers on the job despite the actions of Governor Kasich and the Republican-led Ohio legislature to reduce big government. Without “big government”,under President Obama’s federal leadership, the economic consequences for Ohio of Kasich’s small government would have been even more devastating.

 

In the weeks and months to come, as we fight off the pests attacking our fields  and gardens, we will also fight off the pests who sponsor attack ads against “Big Government”, President Obama, and Democratic candidates. These pests have also attempted to destroy conservative Republican candidates such as Lugar, and those like  Snowe and others who declined to run rather than face Tea Party Republican attacks. We can’t ignore such attacks in our gardens, nor in this election. We grassroots gardeners must prepare and amend our soil to strengthen our plants and our minds to withstand such assaults.

 

President Obama has wisely stated that this election could make the difference for the survival or failure of our middle class, of those farmers and gardeners who toil their own crops and tend their own fields, and support their own communities within their middle class means and with their middle class value that we care for one another. We believe in the goodness of community, the power of pulling together and helping others who need our help. We don’t blame the farmer for a lost crop during times of drought or flood. President Obama and the current Democratic candidates don’t blame the middle class for corporate greed and de-regulation by past administrations and elected officials which led to economic disaster. President Obama, who has sought repeatedly to find a hand to hold across political aisle, does know whom to blame: small-minded people  who promote reducing government  oversight in order to amass great wealth through de-regulation, the  people who created the lie of “big government is your enemy.”

 

It is not big government we must fear, but the wrong government. Vote for President Obama. Give him a  congress which will protect the famers and gardeners, the middle class, the true conservatives of small towns and big cities who swing with the sun and rain to protect their crops. The rest of us! Gardening in a swing state ? Ohioans know how to  do that!

 

1.http://visualeconomics.creditloan.com/united-states-federal-tax-dollars/ , V E, Visual Economics

2.http://www.usconstitution.net/const.html#Am1

WALK THE LINE

5 May

WALK THE LINE

Louise Annarino

May 4, 1970

 

Walking the line is not the same as toeing the line, nor following the party line. Walking the line is a solitary function, calling for balance, effective pacing, trusting self, and imagining success. President Obama, as every political leader before him has had to  walk the line every day: balancing the diverse interests of Americans to maintain unity of purpose to move the country forward, making friends abroad while protecting our civilians at home and our military abroad, promoting civil rights while keeping the peace in our communities. I think about what it means to walk the line today, as I recall the civil discord on college campuses during the Spring of 1970;when lines were crossed and lives were lost.

 

On May 4, 1970, I was sitting on the Oval at Ohio State University (OSU) with a few thousand protesters.We had to sit in groups of 4 to avoid arrest (an order under martial law that only groups fewer than 5 could gather anywhere on campus)when a young man began running from group to group. He started at the library end of the campus Oval. As he ran we could see people collapsing, pulling their hair, clinging to one another; but, we were still too far away to hear anything. We had to sit and wait. When finally we heard his message we understood. A group scream was emerging in bits and pieces from every soul on that Oval. I am still screaming for those killed at Kent State University (KSU)(for full account see http://www.kentstate1970.org/ )on May 4; and, for those killed on May 15 at Jackson State University. (for full account see

http://www.may41970.com/Jackson%20State/jackson_state_may_1970.htm ).

 

The events of Spring 1970 started years earlier. Students who had been protesting a variety of interests suddenly recognized their interconnected, common interests and a common enemy, when The United States escalated the Viet-Nam War and invaded Cambodia. Fore several years students had been engaging in protests, sit-down and  hunger strikes,and marches to draw attention to racism, sexism, repression, student rights,campus safety, ecology concerns,and The War. It is hard to imagine any institution of higher education left untouched by the voices of dissenters seeking change.

 

For example, at Ohio State rapes and other crimes against women and minorities had been hidden behind a veil. In 1968 through 1969, students had repeated hunger strikes to demand the university install safety phones and lighting across campus, to openly disclose the dates-times-locations of crimes against women and minority students. Groups of students organized fair housing investigations to root out discrimination against African-American students seeking off-campus housing, submitting a list of those landlords discriminating to the university which approved all off-campus housing, and which itself owned over 1/3rd of the off-campus units. Other groups of students responded to Rachel Carson’s SILENT SPRING by pressing for environmental protections such as energy efficiency, recycling programs, food safety and responsible use of chemicals on campus. The draft, the lottery, the elimination of student exemption and the escalation of the war increased campus tension.

 

In February 1970, the presidents of OSU Afro-Am and of the student body of OSU asked for a meeting with the President of Ohio State to discuss a list of 21 requests prepared by African-American students. The president refused to meet with these student leaders or accept the list for his perusal, and the board of trustees likewise refused to do so. The list or requests became a list of demands, and a student strike was called. African-American and white students, male and female students,ecology proponents, anti-war students, and LGBT students found their common problem: a patriarchal institution which enforced “in loco parentis”and believed students should be seen and not heard; a government who sent 18 year olds to die and fight a people with whom they had no argument but would not allow them to drink beer or vote; and institutions which would deny the most basic civil rights, personal safety, and equal treatment to fellow students who by now viewed themselves as a community apart from the larger society.

 

The strike grew larger. Students took over the Oval just as the 99% occupy parks and cities today. Faculty joined in, holding classes on the Oval and working the strike and its issues into their curricula, holding teach-ins as well as sit-ins.A massive march from the Oval to the on-campus home of President Novice Fawcett was planned for the next day when I got a call from a hometown friend who asked to meet me at the state fairgrounds. When we met, I discovered he was billeted at the fairgrounds with other members of the National Guard, who were prepared to attack students who marched on the president’s home. He warned me to stay away from the march so I would not be endangered. Instead I approached the house from the rear to simply be a witness, where I was met by soldiers armed with M-16s who looked as frightened as I felt. It was the first, but not the last time I would have rifles shoved in my gut, ready to shoot on command.

 

The day after the first march, the commanding officer of the Guard asked to speak to students from our podium on the Oval, following Woody Hayes who gave us a pep talk and encouraged us to maintain a peaceful protest as we had so far done. The Guard commander assured us his troops were young men our own age who felt much like we did and meant us no harm, and would remain armed but without bullets in their rifles. He was cheered. The next day, Ohio Governor Jim Rhodes declared martial law, and removed and replaced the Guard commander by a new commander who assured us his men were armed and would not hesitate to shoot us. It seemed unthinkable.

 

We soon had reason to believe him.The movement grew in proportion to the unprovoked beatings, nearly daily pepper and tear gas attacks, and numerous arrests for simply being on the Oval. Even the frat boys joined in when state troopers gassed and shot into fraternity houses along fraternity row, chasing striking students from the Oval into surrounding neighborhoods.

 

Then, Cambodia was invaded and a powder keg was set aflame in the minds of students who had tried every peaceful method to be heard. The students at OSU, Kent and across the country became louder, more verbally combative, and tore up brick walkways for weapons instead of running away from billy club and gas attacks. Gas canisters and bullets flew into dormitories and crowds. Every night campus ministers took our activity fee collections to bail students out of jail, fearing we would be arrested if we went to the jail ourselves.

 

On May 4, 1970 shocked cries were heard across the country, “They killed 4 of us!”. We had become one family;our brothers and sisters had been killed and maimed. We knew their names: Alison Krause, Sandra Scheuer, Jeffrey Glenn Miller,and William K. Schroeder. At OSU, we later learned, more than 30 students had been treated for gunshot wounds, some paralyzed as some students were at Kent State. Newspapers were not printing such stories. We only discovered such stories during “public hearings” on campuses over the summer, when few students were present on campus to hear or to give testimony. The E.R. doctors had carefully created and maintained the shooting record on our behalf.

 

On May 15, 1970, a small group of Jackson State students rioted upon hearing a rumor that the brother of slain civil rights activist Medgar Evers, Fayette, Mississippi Mayor Charles Evers and his wife had been shot and killed. 21 year old pre-law junior Phillip Lafayette Gibbs, and 17 year old James Earl Green were killed. Injured by gunfire, including one student simply sitting in a dormitory lobby, were: Fonzie Coleman, Redd Wilson, Jr.,Leroy Kentner, Vernon Steve Weakley, Gloria Mayhorn,Patricia Ann Sanders, Willie Woodard, Andrea Reese, Stella Spinks, Climmie Johnson, Tuwaine Davis, and Lonzie Thompson. Police and state troopers picked up their spent shell casings before they called the first ambulance to the scene.

 

Campuses, including Ohio State, were shut down, classes suspended, and every student sent home. The momentum which had been building across the country was stopped by attacking,wounding and even killing participants; and shutting down a place for students to gather. The same strategy is seen today in the institutional response to the 99%, Egyptian, and Syrian protesters. When the threat to institutions becomes acute, the response can cross the line.

 

For years afterward, students crossed to the other side of a street whenever they saw a police officer approaching, hid in doorways when a helicopter flew overhead, shivered when they saw a National Guard jeep or truck, tensed when they heard a police siren in the distance, moved away slowly when a dog approached.

 

With the election of President Obama we hoped those days were behind us, but the backlash against an African-American president indicates it has not. The forces which treated students, women, African-Americans and people of color,and LGBT community as less deserving of their citizenship rights are still at-large funding campaigns of hate and division. We are stronger and wiser than they are. We will not let them cross the line. We will hold the line by holding on to one another. Give me your hand!