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“Where Have You Gone, Joe DiMaggio?”
Pedro Baez

As we celebrate the 4th of July, many of us are taking stock of the nation that we live in and scratch our head at the changes.

Many of the changes have been good. Civil Rights laws have been passed, so long as you can afford it, you can stay at the Waldorf Astoria, Century Plaza, you name it, it’s yours.

However there are other changes that haven’t been good. Manufacturing jobs have literally vanished in the US. After school employment for teens has virtually disappeared, as have summer jobs. After school activities in the arts (music, drawing, etc.) has gone the way of wood shop, home ed, and other programs due to budget cuts.

Is this the America that our forefathers fought for?

The Land of budget cuts, and incarceration for our youth particularly black, brown, and poor white?

I’m certain that this isn’t what George Washington foresaw when he fought the British for freedom. Nor did he see what has been a continuing problem for America, racial strife, massive unemployment, skid rows springing up in many downtown areas of the great urban landscape across America.

What to do about this?

First and foremost, neighborhoods must revert back to what they once were. That being a place of community where everybody knew everybody. Where adults looked out for kids and if they did something wrong, they informed the parents of those kids, and the parents thanked the adults and disciplined their kid so as not to repeat the offense.

Churches must take the place of the school and offer programs that will teach the kids music, art, self-defense, citizenship, and reading comprehension.

Yes reading.

If you can’t read and remember what you read, you are doomed to failure.

Many of the new jobs that will spring up call for just that, comprehension.

Oh yes, the title of this piece.

For those who don’t know, Joe DiMaggio was a great ball player. In 1941, he went on a 56 game hitting streak. Had he not been stopped in Cleveland, he would have gone on to 73 game hitting streak. However that is just part of the story. Joe DiMaggio symbolized what hard work, and determination could accomplish. In the song by Simon and Garfunkel, “Mrs. Robinson” there is a tribute by the duo to “Joltin’ Joe”

“Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio
A nation turns its lonely eyes to you (Woo, woo, woo)
What's that you say, Mrs. Robinson
Joltin' Joe has left and gone away”
(Hey, hey, hey...hey, hey, hey)

In essence, what Simon and Garfunkel said was Joe DiMaggio symbolized all that was great with America, and where has it all gone.

I’m in search of that America myself.


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Earl Ofari Hutchinson, national commentator and radio host, slices through the political spin to provide insight on today's news.

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