A Real-Life American Experience

Ape

Here’s a real-life story from today’s America, the so-called “best country in the world.” A country that created fancy and fascination especially in India. Everybody in today’s India wants to get a piece of the dollar dream. Indian parents teach their children how to realize their dream to get to the dreamland.

But people like me who live and work here, and have been doing so for many years — with eyes open, have a different experience about the ground reality in USA. This is one such experience.

So, a young couple returning from India — two days ago, on Tuesday. Their plane landed at JFK airport here in New York. They had booked their tickets long ago to fly from NY to Jackson, Mississippi via New Orleans. They live and work in Jackson. But because there is extreme and unusual cold in those areas, they shut down the airports. Their scheduled flight was canceled.

Okay, fine, it happens. Airport and airline authorities told them … one, two, three-hour delays … before the next flight back home. Okay, fine, it happens.

Then, they said there would be no available flights until Saturday, and authorities and corporations would take no responsibility for their three extra days of stay or food or transportation in NYC, where they don’t know anybody. They were not the only ones: there were a few other people who got this news, including old men and women. Authorities said they had no legal obligations for their three unplanned days in New York City, because inclement weather-related airport shutdowns precluded them from paying any compensations!

So, after spending sixteen or eighteen hours at the airport, sleepless, exhausted and jet lagged, they eventually got in touch with me: the young woman’s father — an old friend — called me from Kolkata. I brought them over to my humble place in Brooklyn. At that point, the couple had already in transit all the way from India, for over fifty hours.

I reserve the urge to express my personal opinions on this story. You decide what’s going on here in USA. This won’t be news in New York Times or CNN. They have other more important things to talk about. This is small.

We, small people, don’t feature. Not in this “best country in the world.”

Sincerely,

Partha Banerjee

Brooklyn, New York.

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Occupy

2014: I [Still] Have A Dream.

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In 2014, “I [still] have a dream.” (Yes, I know this is 2013. I’m talking about the year after…or the year after the year after…)

I have a dream that United States of America — its government and people — would reject the global politics of war. In the sixties, it was Vietnam. In the seventies, it was Bangladesh and Chile. In the eighties, it was Iran. In the nineties, it was Iraq. In 2003 and years after, it was Iraq and Afghanistan. Now, we’re ready to wage another war, this time on Syria.

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I have a dream that the ordinary, hardworking men and women of America — black, white, brown, olive or yellow — would come together and live together in harmony, and know one another. New immigrants from China, Korea, India, Mexico, Guatemala and Haiti would be embraced by old immigrants from Italy, Germany, Russia, Israel and Ireland.

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I have a dream that American government and media would teach our children history of the makers of our country: the millions of men and women who worked through centuries to build the farms and factories, roads and river dams, buildings and bridges, parks and libraries, schools and hospitals. History books would talk about not just the rich and famous and elite, but about the ninety-nine percent: the real heartbeat of America.

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I have a dream that America would preach and practice exactly the same thing across the world, and not follow one set of standards for here and another everywhere else. American foreign policy would respect rights and freedom of people and places — equally — even for countries that do not like us or follow our lifestyles.

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I have a dream that the rich-poor disparity in America would be brought back to the minimal we saw in the Golden Age of American Capitalism between 1940 and 1980 when the middle class was happy, peoples’ productivity and wages went up hand in hand, the American Dream of upward social mobility was a reality, and when organized labor movement was the strongest.

I have a dream that American mass media would withdraw from manufacturing consent in favor of the one percent ruling-class people in power, and deliver news based on honesty, balance and objectivity — for the mass.

I have a dream that we can show the promise of the Promised Land to our children — in our lifetime.

Amen.

An humble follower of Dr. King’s teaching,

Partha

Brooklyn, New York

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