An Open Letter to James Meeks

Hey, James.

I'm referring to you as neither "senator" nor "reverend" today, because you're not living up to either title. You're not even living up to your last name. Instead, you are high on your own fumes with the most ill-conceived boycott ever.

Let's get a few things straight. All schools need more funding. All teachers are underpaid. These are issues not unique to your district, not by a long-shot. Funding is uneven, yes. So is the median household income; if your district puts less in, it will get less out. It's that simple.

Still, in your ever-so-finite wisdom, you have encouraged skipping school as a means to improve the education system. Let me clarify. You have publicly encouraged and arranged for thousands* of Chicago children to miss the first four days of school this year. You actually think that these kids are going to just camp out in the lobbies of corporate offices, and "hold" class there? Those kids won't get past building security -- which, incidentally is the best job they could ever hope to get if they follow your lead.

You spent a lot of money on bus rentals. That money could have been donated to schools that need funding more than they need a ride to a publicity stunt. Your behavior not only insults the teachers and students you purport to be helping, but you also make a mockery of the professional environment for which all those kids truly do need a better education. It's clear you have not considered the consequences of your actions. You have exploited your self-righteous religious affiliations for a publicity stunt predicated on ignorance, yet you offer no intelligent solutions or shred of common sense. I imagine you're the type to recommend praying that one wins the lottery rather than finding an honest day's work.

Are you such an ineffective senator that you need to make pawns of students, teachers, parents and Chicagoans' places of business? Even the kids you've implicated in this crack-pot scheme can see through it:
One New Trier student described the boycott as "a big publicity stunt."

"They are trying to make it racial," said New Trier senior, Andrew Scherer, 17. "It's a better media story." [Source]

Racial and religious make for sensationalism, but not a better story. The only supporters of today's boycott are churches -- churches that should be donating to schools instead of wasting money on go-nowhere publicity stunts. I seriously doubt you exhausted that option, James. I think instead that you relish the potential for this stunt to be racially charged, even though it's really just about your school district getting exactly what it pays for. Here's what you were quoted saying two days ago:

“I want the whole nation to look at Illinois. I want the whole nation to ask, ‘Why is Illinois racist?’ I want them to ask, ‘Why is Illinois treating low-income students like that?’”
James, come on. Why are you racist? I find it obscenely insulting that you equate racism with low-income students. I come from a low-income family. Welfare, food stamps, free school lunch programs, church-donated groceries and Christmas presents... I've been there. One lasting life lesson I learned is that money doesn't know what color my skin is, and it never will. Another lasting lesson: the world doesn't owe you anything. I genuinely feel sorry for the kids who don't know any better, being led down this path by a divisive panderer like yourself. You've already admitted openly that you will lie about the number of students you see today.

What a great example you set! The spectacle of your actions is more important to you than the substance of your actions. But you can't even get that right...

* One bus arrived with four people on it. Four. Is this the kind of inefficiency and waste you want to teach kids? Hope so, 'cause you just did.

Keep the preaching of ignorance confined to your precious mega-church, James. The rest of Chicago will do better without this self-righteous, racially-charged divisiveness in the classroom, in the state senate and in the media.

Now, please, just shut up and get back to class.


Duh Only said...

Way to call him out!

Duh Only said...

From Second City Cop "Guess what won't be part of the show? These kids being used by Meeks and falling a week behind in homework, classwork and generally being kids. How much more tax money is this going to cost us in remedial classwork for them to catch up?"

bigsoda said...

Spot on.

kroushlconflict said...

I tried posting about this. All I can say is that it's hard to type when you are trying to choke back the vomit & rage.

Great post, love the links, the quotes, much better & composed than I could have been.

We worked our asses off to get a new school, grants & programs to help provide a great education for the kids. Those who choose to can get a quality education in CPS.

Protest the violence, the apathetic parents, the lack of discipline or ethics being taught in the home. Use the money to educate people on how to parent. That would make all the difference.

Delusional Cubs Fan said...

Meeks back in the news with a new plan for some publicity: Jump on the Cubs playoff bandwagon and protest

PYLB said...

Meeks: "We want the nation to know we have a good baseball team, but we have a problem here with our schools."

Wow. What a complete idiot. The biggest problem in this whole story is Meeks and his raging ignorance.

Can't wait to see how all those kids in their matching orange T-shirts fare in the drunken cess-pool that is Wrigleyville on a game day. That's just the kind of wholesome environment you want to drop "thousands" of kids.

The one upside is, Meeks might take a line-drive to the head and finally get some sense knocked into him.