[This is actually PART TWO of my promised three-part article on Bernie Sanders vs. Hillary Clinton. You can read PART ONE here.]
Strange title, ain’t it?
Sure. But let me explain, quickly. I know you are busy.
NO, this picture is not from Brooklyn, and these are not New York residents. This is a recent photo from Macedonia, where poor and destitute immigrants turned violent, and started breaking train windows, in extreme frustration.
Our present story is not about them.
This is about Bernie, Hillary, and a young black man banging his fist hard on a Brooklyn subway car window. I was present there. It is real life. Nothing made up. Swear to God.
A Brooklyn train got stuck on the underground track, as they often do, and was held up for nearly two hours on its way between Court Square in Queens and Church Avenue in Brooklyn. It is the one of the slowest and dirtiest commuter trains New York City has. It is the G train. I wrote about it before.
After going through this here-we-go-again and here-we-stop-again routine for nearly an hour, a group of high school kids — all African-American — became restless, and one young man sitting next to the window started to bang hard on the window. He used some profanity too, doing it. Like, F*** man…F*** ’em…or something like that. I didn’t record it. But he was very angry, and so were his three or four buddies.
They were angry, and some of them were laughing too. In frustration, I guess. What could they do? The train was stuck between two stations, and nobody could get out.
I was watching them. I was also frustrated and angry that I was stuck in the train, and that this has almost become a monthly ritual for us the Queens-to-Brooklyn subway commuters. Every now and then, a train would get stuck because of some malfunction somewhere, and it would take us an inordinate amount of time to get to work, or home.
On top of it, I wanted to pee. My bladders were about to explode. And a small girl sitting next to me on her mom’s lap suddenly began to cry loudly. God, I said, please…
I was hungry and thirsty too. I was coming back home after a long day’s work, and I had no food or water with me. My stomach was growling. I have a little pre-ulcer too, my doctor says. It’s not good for me to stay without food or water for a long time.
So, a series of questions came to my mind, and if I had a way, I would ask the African-American kids those questions. But because I could not do it, and even if I did, they probably would not be willing or ready to answer them. So, I thought, I’d rather post the questions on my blog, hoping somebody else could take a stab at them.
I thought, before the NY primaries on April 19, maybe Hillary or Bernie could do it.
So, here is a few questions, and their follow-up questions. I’m also posing some possible answers, just to make the reasoning thread realistic.
Scenario: A group of young African-American men on the G train between Queens and Brooklyn got angry and frustrated that the train was held up for a very long time, and started banging on the subway car window.
Q. 1. — Why was the train stuck for such a long time?
A. — They announced that there was some electrical malfunction at Bergen Street.
Q. 2. — Is it an uncommon or rare experience?
A. — No, quite contrary. It’s become a common experience these years. Happens every now and then.
Q. 3. — Do these incidents happen on subway lines in Manhattan, especially trains that go through business and affluent areas?
A. — Yes, they do, but I guess, less frequently.
Q. 4. — Why do they happen more frequently with trains that run through Queens or Brooklyn or the Bronx?
A. — Because the people who are in charge care less about people who live or work in these areas.
Q. 5. — Why did it take so long to fix the problem? Two hours? That’s way too long!
A. — Duh, see above. Had it happened on a train near Wall Street, they would perhaps try to fix it quicker. They know the importance of that area.
Q. 6. — Do you believe in general, though, regardless of the area in New York, public transportation is not in a great shape?
A. — Are you kiddin’ me? Do you live here, or you’re from Mars? The entire subway system is falling apart. Buses, trains, or the Staten Island free steamer…bridges…roads…flyovers…parks…potholes…public schools…they are in bad shape. No money, no money there.
Q. 7. — Why do you think there is no money for these important areas that serve millions of ordinary, working men and women?
A. — Because they’re moving more money out of the public sector, and draining the public infrastructure. There is no lack of money for private schools or private hospitals, or private corporations and banks that got billions of dollars from our government. But there is no money for stuff that’s critical for the ordinary folks.
And, on top of all, they are not paying their taxes, either.
Q. 8. — Who are “They?”
A. — They means the people at the top (the one percent) — the rich and famous politicians, corporations, their establishments, think tanks, and their media such as the New York Times, CNN, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Forbes…you name it.
There is enormous, obscene, historic inequality in America. The richest of the rich are making and accumulating more wealth than ever before in American history. And they are not paying their fair share of taxes. GE, Apple, Boeing, Exxon, Gap, Pfizer…you name it.
Q. 9. — What are they doing?
A. — You know what, you’re asking a lot dumb questions, man. Okay, this is the last time I answer your dumb questions. I’ve been patient.
Q. 10. — Sorry, but please say something. Promise I won’t bother you anymore.
A. — Appreciate it. I have stuff to do. What they’re doing is that they’re making this country more deregulated, more privatized, free of any government control. In fact, they are making sure there is NO government. They have their think tanks, their media, and their politicians who tell us we don’t need the government at all. America is all about private enterprise, and they call it “freedom.” It all started since Reagan in the eighties. Have you ever heard of “Reaganomics,” or “Trickle-down Economics?”
Q. 11. — Who do you think is the biggest supporter of this system — Bernie, or Hillary?
[The intelligent, articulate person who was patiently answering my questions had left. I guess I tested his patience too much.]
I guess, it’s up to us to find out who is the biggest supporter of this system that has ruled our lives here in America, and here in Brooklyn, NY — since Reagan.
Is it Hillary Clinton, or is it Bernie Sanders? Who takes what kind of position — on the above series of issues?
Inequality, taxes or no taxes, trickle-down economics, destruction of the government, destruction of the public infrastructure…
Let’s find out who has done what — for us the ordinary people. The 99 percent.
Post Script. — About the Macedonia immigrants’ photo above, what is happening with these poor immigrants across the globe? Why are these people leaving their countries, and fleeing to another country? What’s happening with them here in America? What position did Bill Clinton, Hillary, or Bernie take on the terrible immigrant scenario?
Let’s find out. It’s kind of important before the New York primaries on April 19.
Brooklyn, New York