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It was just a question of timing.
I was closely following the "campaign" in Kosovo when I came across this headline in the Kansas City Star.
JUDGE REBUKES SCHOOL BOARD
QUIT POLITICKING HE TELLS MEMBERS
The judge in question is Federal District Court Judge, Dean Whipple. The District he rebuked is Kansas City, Missouri, now in its 22nd year of submission to federal authority. When the District's Board will finally be allowed to "politick"--the very thing such deliberative bodies are elected to do--is anyone's guess. Judge Russell Clark who managed the District before Whipple promised to maintain his unique suzerainty over the District until its test scores climbed above the 50% mark. This will never happen. Even if it could, by Clark's odd logic exactly half the Districts in America would forever deserve Federal occupation.
Since the days of Reconstruction, no political jurisdiction in America has labored under such total Federal dominance as has ours. The weird thing is I do not exaggerate. For not only does Judge Whipple control the School District, he also controls the Kansas City Housing Authority, the Jackson County Jail, and Jackson County Foster Care. Indeed, no American has exercised such absolute administrative sway over a civilian population since General McArthur in post-war Japan. Again, I do not exaggerate.
Alas, I had grown used to this unholy state of affairs. I had learned to live with the fact that a judge could--and did--double my taxes without consulting me or my elected representatives. I had come to accept the fact that I could appeal to no one about our collective lack of autonomy--not my Quisling congresswoman, not my mayor, not even my local daily newspaper. They had all but welcomed this ongoing oppression and the $112 million shrine in downtown Kansas City that commemorated it. To whom could I possibly turn for relief?
Of course. Yes. It dawned on me when I saw that headline. NATO.
According to wire reports, the Kosovar crisis dates back to 1989 when Belgrade "stripped Kosovo of its autonomy and imposed its education curriculum." I don't know much about this curriculum, but my guess is that it was somewhat less burdensome and surely less preposterous than Kansas City's magnet plan.
Secretary of State Madeline Albright recognized "the importance of (the Kosovars') having their own education laws." Thus, at Rambouillet rural America has its own humble version of Zeno’s Paradox. It goes something like this: If a farmer can easily lift a calf the day it’s born and the next day and the day after that, and if he keeps lifting it every day, how is it that on one day, he can’t lift the calf/cow at all?
Russell Gentry Clark never did try this experiment back when he was raising prize-winning baby beef as a farm boy near a place called Myrtle hard by the Arkansas border. Maybe he should have. He might have been a wee bit more skeptical when in the 53rd year of an unexceptional life, the Federal District Court of Western Missouri chose the newly minted Judge to nurture a legal beef that would one day grow into the most corpulent and controversial school desegregation project in the history of America and whose heft, at day’s end, no one would be able to bear.
How this sober, God-fearing gentleman came to invest his professional identity in this case, “the case”--one that critics like Missouri Senator John Ashcroft call a “a testament to tyranny” and even supporters like Federal Judge Scott Wright now describe as a “fiasco”--is one of the great, sad, unlikely stories of our time.
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