Shame on you Los Angeles

The international movement admiring “strongmen” leaders which sanctions rhetorical, and sometimes even physical violence, has seen its latest expression in Los Angeles’ battle for public schools.

There are a lot of angry white women out there, and they vote.

Despite a series of rallies in Los Angeles which brought out 750,000 women(+others) to Resist Trumpism, demagoguery and racism, subsequent expressions of outrage have been attenuating at 50,000 for the Science March, 30,000 for the May Day Immigrants’ March, 5,000 for the Tax March and a couple thousand for Earth Day.

And here, now, all this sound and fury seems to have signified nothing. Tuesday was Los Angeles’ chance to actually enact all that resisting so many have been agitating about and what happened? No one turned out to vote.

Yet again, and in even fewer numbers than last time, when push came to shove and despite all that protesting and whinging and keening, Angelenos didn’t belly up to the voting kiosk and ink-a-vote:

Tuesday’s municipal election where actual real-life Resistance was on the line culminated in the devastating, and impactful triumph of appearance over substance, might over right in Tuesday’s school board election.

From a school district that is approximately 75% Hispanic and 80% eligible for free-or-reduced-price-meals, comes an election of national significance, decided by a preponderance of very narrow, special interests including relatively affluent silicon-beach-millenials, attorneys, entertainment executives, and real estate investors from the coastal plain to the palisades of LA’s westside. For it to happen in the face of the last six month’s electoral imbroglio is at once mystifying and maddening. After all we’ve been through, here we are all over again witnessing the triumph of alternative facts, propaganda, Big Lies and even bigger money.

This has been a year of hard political knocks and rattles. I am as confused by neighbors claiming inability to identify “real news” as by the prevalence of its alternative, and our apparent unwillingness to treat any of this as crisis. With equanimity comes this observation from a political organizer: “Technological fixes, isolated design innovations, resiliency plans and all the other things we like to promote can end up reinforcing the inertia, which is not unique to Trump, that is letting the wealthy of the world build their Noah’s Arks against the rising tides and leaving others alone in “sacrifice zones.””

So while waiting for the educational fallout what’s to be done but absorb the inimitable words of – who else – a beloved high school teacher: “Brush your teeth and do your homework”.