Drowned out in media coverage of Queen Elizabeth, one of the greatest political leaders of our era, Mikhail Gorbachev, died at the end of August.
A commemoration by David Remnick in the New Yorker reflects on his life and legacy, under and after Stalin.
He grew up in a village in southern Russia where nearly half the inhabitants died of famine. Both his grandfathers were arrested on bogus charges and suffered beatings and torture but survived their imprisonment.
Studying law and moving up within the Soviet political system, Gorbachev took to heart the critique from scientist dissidents and other liberal-minded citizens regarding the brutal repressiveness and corruption of the Soviet system of government. It left the common people in dire poverty, materially and spiritually. Not long after rising to power in 1985, and noting the government’s cover up of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, his initiatives to change this system for the better came “in stunning succession.”
They included among others: release of dissidents from prison or exile; unprecedented freedoms for the press, writers, artists and scholars under the glasnost policy; multi-party elections; successful negotiations on nuclear-arms reduction and military withdrawal from Afghanistan; and, essentially, permitting the people of many then Soviet-Union states to liberate themselves from Soviet control.
Concern about increasingly severe environmental degradation over much of the world, a “danger to the very stability of the biosphere,” he founded the International Green Cross organization in the early 1990s, aiming to shape planetary environmental consciousness and a change in values away from consumerism.
As the Moscow Times quoted him in 2009, “the threat of devastating war using weapons of mass destruction and the threat of ecological catastrophe due to accelerating global warming” are the greatest danger to humanity.
The world needs more visionary leaders of the stature of Mikhail Gorbachev.
College costs too high
College costs have exploded over the past 40-plus years.
One can search online and read all you want regarding the financial impact of student loan debt. The numbers are staggering.
Student loan “forgiveness” is a hot topic. Words matter and proponents use the term “forgiveness” as it softens the impact of their approach.
Their supporters in the media pick up on this and that is how this issue gets reported. A narrative is created and that is how it’s covered.
“Forgiveness” implies that the debt can simply go away. In reality, someone has to pay and that will be taxpayers.
College leaders and politicians have been complicit in creating a system that was destined to end up here. The current system allows these institutions to continually raise costs and they are going to get their money.
Students are caught in the middle. They want to go to college to better their lives. That is a noble goal.
Leaders are promoting a system that cripples students financially as they begin their working lives. It is a broken system.
If all these students have to incur this massive debt to get a degree, then the cost of college is far too high. Higher education leaders and their political friends must develop a system that puts each institution on the financial hook for managing their own student loan financing. It’s called accountability.
If the system isn’t fundamentally changed, we will be back in a few years with the same problem.
By the way, it isn’t “forgiveness,” it’s a “bailout.” There is a difference. A “bailout” paid for by hardworking taxpayers, many of whom never went to college and those who did go and paid their way.
College leaders and their political friends should be ashamed of themselves for perpetuating such a system.