I got out of a cab the other night driven by a middle aged man from West Africa. Guy was wearing flip-flops, a weathered t-shirt and a pair of shorts. Didn’t look like a man with too many nickels in his pocket.
But when he found out where I was going (to work with some teachers at a local school district in Texas) the guy turned into a blazing orator.
And darn if he didn’t blast America. And darn if he wasn’t right?
He roasted us for firing all the teachers we’ve been letting go of in the past few years because of budget cuts. He torched us for expecting that we would be able to produce smarter kids with less financial resources dedicated towards our schools. He asked how in the world we even fathomed raising a new generation of qualified citizens considering how so many of our national educational actions clearly placed such a low priority on really doing so. (You like war more than classrooms, is what he said.) He used terms like “a push ’em through the factory mentality” to describe the schools across the country.
And then he turned down the radio so he could really give me an earful.
After he dropped me off and I paid the fare, I wondered, “Am I anti-America for being in such incredible agreement with this guy?”
We are off-course. I believe that. And worse, I think we are stepping on the gas pedal right now to accelerate our journey even more so into a future that is littered with trouble as a result of our educational decisions today.
The cabbie said the solution for this country was easy: vote the bums out. However, I told him in the U.S. very few of us vote. But he knew that. He’s been here 19 years.
“American hubris is eating your country and the fat cats are stuffing their faces at the table of your children’s future.” (I wrote that one down after asking him to repeat it cause I wanted to get it right.)
A cab driver from West Africa. On the outside, I gotta say, he didn’t look like much. On the inside, I wished he’d run for office. Spoke 5 languages, read, read, read all the time and was a genuinely affable fellow. And to him, things are clear as a bell.