Letter to the Editor

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Illustrations by Yuri Elvin (Forth Artist)

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I hope you receive this fax in time. I’m still sitting in the lobby of the Citizen Hotel, just outside the Capitol building where the Governor is arguing with the Senate about how to remedy this massive fuck-stain of a deficit. I’m frozen in catatonic horror at the rumors spewing across the Capitol lawns. And I’m afraid I won’t be able to produce any coherent sort of material on deadline for this issue as commissioned. If you were to witness first-hand what I have, however, you would understand. You think this state is in the shit bath now? Wait ‘til the good Governor and his henchmen get through sucking the blood veins from California. You ain’t seen nothin’ yet. We’re all turning into zombies, and the next generation will be a slum of bumbling fools and thieves. We’re doomed.

News out of the war room is that first to go will be education. $3.3 billion. Slashed right at the throat, left to bleed like a stuck pig. Massive cuts across the board, from salaries and programs to basic educational “niceties” like libraries that keep the lights on past 6pm, combined with higher student entrance fees in state and community colleges as well as fewer student admittances. In my humble estimation, cuts in higher education should be the last thing to go. But the Governor’s list is upside down. Top is bottom. Straight is sideways. And the bottom now shows a pig-shit gang of phony bureaucrats and former hand-puppets in cushy positions getting paid big money by “staff seats” on bullshit committees, like the seven-figure Waste Management board I told you about earlier…or the overcrowded cluster-fuck discussing budget reform in the room right now. Why are there so many people trying to make a decision here? Why do we need so many goddamn legislators in high-paid positions with lofty per diems and petty cash lockers? Let’s take a look at cutting some of those expenses, huh? Instead, we’re going down headfirst into the concrete ghettos of undereducated, underpaid, underhappy, underbusy Californians—just where these politicians want the next generation, it seems. And this frightens me half to death. Certainly into the liquor cabinet, as I can see no other comfort when thinking about the dreary future of non-educated American citizens taking the reins when future workforce generations emerge.

Can’t any of these short-sighted cronies see the big picture? Am I the only one? I know you can, my friend. You’ll agree with me when I glare into the future and predict more crime, more drug addiction, more illegitimate children, and a host of other problems that will undoubtedly cost the state just as much in maintenance, enforcement, and rehabilitation as these suits think they’re saving now by forfeiting people’s right to better education. Can’t they even grasp that fewer students in community colleges translates into fewer transfer students, meaning less tuition taken in by state universities, AND translating perhaps to fewer high-paid executives and fewer entrepreneurs qualified by banks and investors, which means ultimately less taxable income to the state? Where are the long-term trickle effects? As it appears now, the youth’s education will be little more than video games, iPods, and Twitter blogs.

What happened to California’s “Master Plan,” written in 1960, espousing the notion that all people have a right to Higher Education? Anyone who wants to go to college should be afforded this ability—indeed, the very reason for the Community College system. But now with less funding and higher fees, there will be perhaps millions of wanting students without that ability. Oh well. As long as these bloated Capitol freaks have jobs, and as long as the long-passed-retirement, drearily-teaching professors of tenure can’t be kicked out, and as long as everything looks good in the short-term, let’s make some cuts. Cut Cut Cut! Like the doctor’s bloody scissors after an American Birth, snipping loose the wailing child of Generation Next. Drop the kid into the dumpster. Kill the mother. Wash the shears and get them ready for another go around. Let’s see, what can we cut next? How about our basic right to health care?! I get a feeling these scheming butchers aren’t done yet.

Anyhow, as you can tell by my demeanor, I’m in no general mood to write anything of lucid merit or suitable length. That being said, I hope you can find something to fill in the pages you will inevitably miss by the absence of my 4000 word piece on the deficit debate that you requested. I’m off to De Vere’s down on L Street now for Ambien and strong drink. And then to sleep. Hopefully to wake in three years when a new administration is in the state office and the now graduating high-school alumni have turned into hardened criminals. Perhaps then, I’ll finally have the motivation and grit to move to the mountains like I’ve been talking about all these years. ‘Til then.

Your friend,
Wayland

Post-Script: If you publish this letter, as I know you’re fond of doing just to screw with me, be sure I will hang you, you bastard. I’m not joking. – W.C.
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