From the diary:
"How many of you have been told you were stupid, lazy, no-good, a failure who'd never amount to nothin'?" Glodoski asked the students. Easily four-fifths of the students raised their hands.
"What the thinker thinks, the prover proves," I thought to myself.
Some of these kids will be lucky enough to escape this tiny town. Some will be resilient enough to endure it mostly intact . . . but they may still pass the same pattern down to their own kids, if only in a watered-down form. Most, sadly, will repeat the cycle unless something is done to save them. And no one is doing enough to save them. The underfunded school district, where teachers with master's degrees make only $35,000 a year, can't save them. Their families aren't equipped to save them. And unlike in the inner city, where at least a drop-in center or a street outreach program can make contact with thousands of children and maybe make a difference for a few dozen, here there is no such thing, because there's no critical mass of population to make such a thing possible.
No wonder Republicans are in a panic about the state of the American family. Get outside a large or medium-size metropolitan area, and the state of the American family is apocalyptic, a confusing mess in which stability is a fantasy, violence and verbal abuse are pervasive, and everyone resents someone for something. No wonder the residents of "red" counties flee to "family values" churches for security -- out here, it seems like church is the only force that can counter the disintegration, and even church can only do so much.
With jobs drying up, without money for the schools, without the population density for recreation and enrichment activities, what is there to relieve the bleakness of life? There's TV. There are video games. There's gossip. And there are drugs and alcohol.
This is America today.
This is what the flight of jobs has done to us.
This is what underinvestment in schools does to us.
This is what violence, despair and lack of empathy do to us.
This is what the loss of our dignity does to us.
This is the peril we're in.
What are our leaders going to do about it?
What are we going to do about it?
Study after study in prisons and schools have demonstrated that addictions, bad behavior, failure to learn, lack of productivity and poor social values are related to poor nutrition. So the first thing to do is - fix the food.