Monday, February 21, 2011

Monday Rant, Where The New Crop Of Republicans Get It All Wrong in Wisconsin, Washington, And Colorado

Paul Krugman
EJ Dionne Jr
Nicholas Kristoff
"For what’s happening in Wisconsin isn’t about the state budget, despite Mr. Walker’s pretense that he’s just trying to be fiscally responsible. It is, instead, about power." - Paul Krugman
"Thanks to the Tea Party, we are now told that all our problems will be solved by cutting government programs... Washington is acting as if the only real problem the United States confronts is the budget deficit; the only test of leadership is whether the president is willing to make big cuts in programs that protect the elderly; and the largest threat to our prosperity comes from public employees." - EJ Dionne Jr

I took a couple of days off from posting to rest up and read some fiction, while in the real world, the crisis never end. I'm wondering if blogs will soon die out like the dinosaurs, many of them are drying up, and the ones that are still out there seem to be edited by rude people. I've been taken off of a couple of blogrolls without their editors being polite enough to tell me why. I've also had people ask to be put on my blogroll because they "like" mine and have linked to mine from their blog, and would I be kind enough to reciprocate? Then, two days later they erase my link, making me feel foolish. I guess I gotta schmooze a bit more with other folks who write blogs, but by the time I finish with mine every day, it's time for a nap...

When the Republicans won the majority of the House, the new Speaker, Mr John Boehner, said that their focus was going to be on jobs, jobs, jobs. So far, absolutely nothing that they have done will create even a single job in America, unless those incoming freshmen stop sleeping in their congressional offices, which would allow an extra person be hired to clean out their rooms... Traditionally, Republicans have come with the same old baggage that seems to prevent them from thinking and being creative, actually looking for solutions to our problems. Unfortunately, it's the same old song, with a mean-streak of vengeance that's causing so much ruckus right now, from Wisconsin to Ohio, to Florida. The baggage is: tax cuts will solve everything, the government must be physically shrunk, and we must tear down Rowe vs Wade to make abortions illegal. Again, not one of these goals will address our unemployment problem. Less money coming in means cutting budgets and laying people off. Public jobs will be lost, but when you work for the government, evidently you are not considered to be human... I can see where this chain of abuse goes, keep our female aides away from being surrounded by crowds of rowdy young Republicans on the house floor...

The battle in Wisconsin, and mirrored in Washington and New Jersey and Florida, has to do with busting the unions of public employees, lessen their influence and ability to collectively bargain. Here in Colorado, they want to attack the teacher's union, probably blame them for the horrible drop-out rate and crappy education your kid gets. Which is killing the messenger and refusing to take responsibility. Education has been a football tossed around since the first public school opened its door, people have carped and criticized the system ever since. We're either throwing money at the schools or cutting the educational budget, creating a base of paranoia and worry that becomes the foundational attitude of the administrators. Plus, the system is built on the Prussian military school model, which doesn't leave much room for innovation.

Looking back, I can count on three fingers of one hand all of the really good teachers I've had, the rest were adequate or less than memorable; I've forgotten who they were. They were able to take the incredibly boring subject matter as presented in our textbooks, and make the subject come alive, inspired our imaginations, and we walked out of their classroom a better person than when we first went in. Who's fault is it if there are one or two gems among the pebbles, and what effort do our school administrations do to procure more of the sparkly baubles when they don't even know what to look for?

It's really no fault of the teacher if the material is presented in a way that's guaranteed to put you to sleep. There's no creativity in standardized textbooks, especially if they were created by a committee in Texas. There is a mind-deadening quality to having a subject for an hour each day, and going from English to science to math to lunch, to history to an elective course five days per week, over and over again. The smart ones and the dullest ones drop out. I've seen alternatives like home schooling both work out really well, and not work at all when the mother reads a paragraph from the Bible to her kids and considers that a lesson in English, reading, writing, and history... Ultimately, how do you get the individual to shoulder the workload and become responsible?

It's obvious that our public schools need a major overhaul, but instead of tackling the obvious we are attacking the teacher's unions who just want a fair wage for teaching this mind-numbing crap... It's not a Republican issue or a Democratic issue, it's a lazy politician's issue, who would rather mimic stale talking points than try to work together to restructure our educational systems, tweak them so they are relevant to our changing times.

It's the same thing with our government. Maybe it doesn't need downsizing at all, maybe the system needs tweaking so that it becomes more responsive to our needs and how they change depending on the economic situation. Maybe the answer isn't to take a sledgehammer to whatever paltry rights the employees were able to get over time, but to ask nicely and work with their unions to help solve the economic mess we have created. After all, who knows better than how to improve their jobs than the workers themselves; certainly not their supervisors or administrators or worse off, some newly elected politician with a wild hair up his/her butt...

Maybe we need someone to start taking responsibility, not the illusion of it. Again, it looks like this new class of Republicans doesn't have the vision or the strength to get it done. Oh yeah, where are the jobs?

It's ironic, that so much of the world is waking up to the wonderful possibilities of having freedom and democracy, and we are drifting off to resemble more and more the Russian model of governing... everything I have fought for, going quickly down the drain. Oh well, I can keep myself medicated and oblivious during my last few years, get some quack to cycle in some new meds, prescribe me some paxil with a medical marijuana chaser... and on Friday nights, viagra!

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