Not meeting needs
I almost didn't read the article about Little Rock's Jefferson Elementary, simply because I knew it was about its "Blue Ribbon" status.
I advocate for children (and their families and teachers) around central Arkansas. Though my advocacy started out in regards to dyslexia and literacy, I often advocate for children with other disabilities as well. As an advocate, I get contacted by parents of students in these "A" and "Blue Ribbon" schools far more often than any other letter-graded school. I get contacted by parents of students at "good" schools. There is a Little Rock School District school that systematically pushes out kids with dyslexia and other learning challenges, probably because they know those parents can afford something different; there is even a teacher at that school who gives out my contact information, and I don't even know that teacher.
The majority of the kids that I tutor go to, or should go to, one of those "good" schools that like to flaunt their "A" rating and "Blue Ribbon" status. Don't brag to me about your Blue Ribbon status unless you are meeting the needs of all of the students in your building.
On racism in politics
Tom Dillard recently seemed to imply that Donald Trump supports racism and is the reason for two landslide victories in Arkansas. Surely a respected historian like Mr. Dillard would know the degree of racism that has been exhibited by both Donald Trump and Joe Biden. I believe it's logical therefore to assume that Arkansas voters overwhelmingly voted for the most color-blind candidate: Donald J. Trump.
JOHN STEPHENS III
The Ouachita National Recreation Trail is a public asset offering natural beauty and recreation, and I was deeply saddened to read William Sanders' article about timber cutting in Roland, describing the willful destruction of trees near the trail, seemingly to enhance an individual homeowner's view of Pinnacle Mountain.
While picturesque home windowscapes can unquestionably inspire souls, nature is a sacred trust to be treated with reverence and respect. I understand the homeowner is a best-selling Christian author, and I would encourage him to explore the work of the Evangelical Environmental Network and consider practicing Christian environmental stewardship.
This is a wake-up call to us all to strengthen our sacred trust to respect creation and our national trust to preserve natural spaces, including our amazing national trails, parks, and forests. How blessed we are to have places of natural beauty, sacred spaces that inspire and heal. May we all use this tragic episode as an opportunity to expand our creation care, even to the trees. As the Psalmist so eloquently articulated in Psalm 96, "Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy."
Personally, I would love to have a grand view of Pinnacle Mountain from my home; this is the spot where my husband and I married 35 years ago. However, the Ouachita National Recreation Trail is a shared national treasure, and it is ours to ensure that "all the trees of the forest sing for joy." I have only just learned of the Friends of the Ouachita Trail, but this seems a perfect time to support a group committed to maintaining, enhancing, and preserving the Ouachita National Recreation Trail.
Rise of the proletariat
Although I remain unconvinced of Bradley Gitz's argument that Marxists have secretly rebranded traditional class struggle into identity politics, I am intrigued by his analogy, as he claims identity politics move American equality to Marxist equity.
Gitz positions Marxism against capitalist democracy, which allows him to claim an attack on capitalism is an attack on our democracy, on our American values of freedom. Yet traditional Marxism was against capitalism, regardless of the underlying political system.
Gitz bemoans Marxist identity politics as the cause of the loss of democratic freedoms. This is only possible because Gitz does not separate capitalism from democracy. If he did, he might agree with Marxism, which acknowledges the inequality of outcome in capitalism, where those who have access to wealth, power, and property incidentally extinguish the freedoms of those who do not. Gitz fails to mention most American wealth is still owned by white men who require others to maintain their property and status. (Why is it that maids in hotels are often female, and usually women of color?)
Thus our democratic freedoms are not necessarily at stake, as Gitz claims, but rather our resources are, resources generated by us, the proletariat, those most often identified by our (non-male, non-white) laboring bodies. Equity, by definition, is a Marxist term. It is the reallocation of resources from those who have more to those who have less, which enables the lesser to have freedoms, the ones we value in our democracy. Thus unfettered capitalism limits freedoms. Not Marxism. And surely not identity politics.
Gitz does not mention Marx's end game since it does not fit his analogy: The rise of the proletariat will overthrow the bourgeoisie, regardless of political system. Perhaps the equity of resources (by the people for the people) will help us get there sooner.
North Little Rock