The democratic part.


We landed at O’Hare last night just before midnight.

It’s a ten hour flight from Athens to JFK. We then had a four hour lay-over until the final two hours to Chicago.

I’m feeling good this morning, although I will probably crash pretty early this evening.

Athens, Delphi and the island of Paros made our itinerary.

Greece has been going through some tough economic times the last ten years. But for a visitor, it is a wonderful place.

For a political junkie like me, it is a treasure.

As an artist, the streets of Athens are a visual feast.

The streets of Athens are a visual feast.

Some call Athens the cradle of democracy. But the democracy of ancient Greece was, as always, a matter of democracy for whom.

Eight thousand years ago, Athenian democracy was a pretty good deal compared to other places in Europe.

But not so much if you were a woman. Or slave labor captured from somewhere else in Greece who had to carry those heavy stones up to the top of the Acropolis to build the Parthenon.

Democracy is a relative thing in the United States where wealth carries more weight than ever in the political process.

What was impressive about our travel to Greece is that the average person on the street seems to have a sense of Greek society’s role in the long arc of history. In normal political conversation – with a taxi driver for example (no Uber or Lyft in Athens) – the driver will speak in terms of thousands of years, not just four or eight years ago

I return with news that Chicago may still have a teacher strike on October 17th.

Speaking of history, my brother Mike has a good blog piece on Chicago’s longest teacher strike.

Will there be a strike next Thursday? I hope not.

Teachers should be teaching. Students should be in classrooms.

I spent too many years as a teacher unionist not to have deep faith in the collective bargaining process, along with a genetic predisposition to support the teachers and the union.

My blood runs red for ed.

The right to strike, and sometimes the necessity of striking, is part of the collective bargaining process.

Eventually a settlement will be reached around the issues that divide the board and the union on staffing and compensation – if both sides are committed to reaching a settlement.

In my experience, if the communities that depend on public schools feel that there is not the commitment to do what’s right, both sides will be held to account.

That’s the democratic part.

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