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Wow today I saw Antonio and I didn’t know who he was. I had often wondered about him. He left such an impression as a junior high student. He was cooler than cool, fathered a child while in Jr. High and probably consider himself as super stud.
I never really could reach Antonio. He was just too cool, too occupied with his teen celebrity status. He did show up, every once in a while to class, to learn about character issues. I never really felt that I had his attention. He must have dropped out of school. He dropped out of sight but never out of mind.
One day in his prime, I saw Antonio. He was high as a kite, hanging out around Post Road. He didn’t even know who I was, the one trying to be his mentor time and time again. When I got his attention, it was funny to him. Enjoy your high, Antonio, I thought. This is the thanks I get for trying to help.
Months progressed and a new school year developed. One day, the kids told me that Antonio got shot late one night on the streets. He is paralyzed, they said. You can’t take gossip too seriously but the kids never really lie concerning things of this nature. Again Antonio was out of sight but not out of mind.
Yesterday, I was downtown at the City County Building, the county seat of Indianapolis. To see all of my brothers in various stages of desperation is quite a sight. Perhaps this is where the terminology “hot mess” is derived. It’s one thing to be on probation and parole with business inside the government seat…It’s quite another thing to go before the judge or the criminal justice system with your pants on backwards or half down your butt.
And then I leave and head to my car. I see this fellow in a wheelchair. I thought that he was going to beg for money. I steered clear. But then I got a glimpse. There was something noticeable. It bothered me. As the distance that was once short grew longer, the Lord gave me a revelation. That was Antonio. His legs looked like toothpicks. Of course, that had to have been him. The kids said he had been paralyzed. He looked much darker in complexion and beyond helpless. All of a sudden, life just didn’t seem fair. He never had a chance.
How is it that the Senator of Indiana could have a wife receiving one million dollars simply for sitting on the board of Wellpoint while individuals like Antonio suffer at such a terrible rate? I don’t know where to begin to bridge this gulf. We worry about the education of our children but if they work their whole life away for an organization like Wellpoint, a million dollars may never be granted. Something has got to give. To redistribute the wealth, one gets called a socialist. Yet is turns out that the wealthy just lied and cheated their way to wealth while getting corporate bailout as a reward for bankrupting their companies.