Monday, September 14, 2009

The beast of apathy

So I've been writing for Daily Kos lately, and today marked my third article. In fact, if you've been reading this blog lately, you've been reading my Daily Kos articles. At least the political ones here--the MySpace rant didn't make the cut. I want it to become a regular thing, because Curtis thinks that if I can garner a following there, maybe someday someone might want to pay me to write for them. It's a pipe dream, but one that I can cling to. Plus, I love ranting about politics, so it's a win-win. And today, my article made it beyond my 7 and 9 comment response-rate of the last two... to 146 and counting! In fact, it made it onto the Recommended Diaries listing on the Daily Kos homepage! I was so happy that I had to take a screenshot to remember it by!

See it down there on the right? You're gonna have to click on it, because I know that little thumbnail is pretty small. But isn't that awesome?? Well, except for the whole subject matter of what I was writing. That's about as shitty and depressing as it gets. So without further ado, the most horrible thing you will read all day (available also at dailykos.com, if you want to get into the comment discussions and such):

Here in Pennsylvania, it seems that we have finally seen the wretched beast of our twisted priorities rear up and show its hideous face. And scrawled across its forehead, carved in ragged, bloody letters are these words:

"We deeply regret to inform you that without the necessary budgetary legislation by the State Legislature in Harrisburg, the City of Philadelphia will not have the funds to operate our neighborhood branch libraries, regional libraries, or the Parkway Central Library after October 2, 2009."

Patrons of the Free Library of Philadelphia, your city has cried wolf for the last time. The Pennsylvania state government has been threatening to cut back library funding to the point of closing for a decade or more, slowly inching the budget back further and further each year on each of the state's libraries, and now, just less than a month from today, the deed will be done. You didn't think it was possible; how could you? For them to shut down libraries? It was just a scare tactic, a scapegoat for "budget concerns" that they liked to kick around to make sure you knew they were talkin' business. And yet, now all that stands between the closing of the FLP in a month (and inevitably, tens if not hundreds more libraries around the state in the many months to come) is the State Legislature and their willingness to pass a funding legislation. They've got two weeks.

Good luck getting money piped down through the works in the current political climate. It's fucking monsoon season right now. With all the fear of our money going to such horrible socialist ideas as keeping each other healthy and safe and alive, do libraries really stand a chance? If we can't even come to a common ground on the worth of the lives of other human beings, what the fuck do we need books for? Reading is for liberals and pussies! Not to mention after-school programs, daycare and senior centers, computer courses and GED and ESL classes! ESL!! If you can't SPEAK American, then you can't READ it either, so what are you doin' in our libraries anyway? Am I right??

Reading down through the list of canceled programs that the closing of the FLP really brings to light how much libraries do for a community, and seeing the city of Philadelphia be forced to close down its twenty-four branches makes my heart break and my blood boil. My brother works as a cameraman for the Pennsylvania Cable Network, and has covered these budget hearings in Harrisburg and said they are the most depressing things he has ever seen. There is no debating at them; the two sides stand up, give their piece, don't listen to a word the other side is proposing, and sits back down. The budget is already months overdue and may well continue to sit until the end of this year. But by then, it won't matter what happens. The Free Library of Philadelphia will have closed and be remembered as nothing more than a footnote to the debate, a sad but necessary casualty to the cost of cutting back and scaling down.

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