Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Rumination upon Education

As the daughter of a teacher, I KNOW what my mother put into her four decades as both a fifth grade teacher and a high school teacher/college counselor.  She brought her job home every single day and most weekends.  That job dominated her life; she loved it and influenced countless lives positively.  She elevated the prospects of thousands of kids in the San Joaquin Valley and 29 Palms, California. A great many among them were children of seasonal migrant workers, mostly from Mexico, kids who lived with entire families in rooms the size of a small bedroom. 

At her funeral in 1994, I met a wonderful gentleman, at that point head of the local junior college, who told me that she was the reason that he, the American born son of Mexican migrant workers, was able to turn his passionate desire to succeed, help others, and prosper into reality.  I heard this said about my mother over and over again as she fulfilled her passionate desire to enlighten receptive minds.  That is what a Teacher does.

She was always passionate about her job.  One person CAN make a difference, and the public service workers of our country -- the teachers, the nurses, the firefighters & police -- each ONE of those people dedicate their lives to making a difference.  I believe they should be able to RETAIN the RIGHT to bargain with the Big Boss Men, who already, it seems, believe they should be as kings unto their workers.  Gah!
United (Union!) we stand, divided, we are cracked like dried twigs, which is pretty much what they want, isn’t it?

The sneak attack by the GOP in Wisconsin that killed collective bargaining in Wisconsin smacks of tyranny to me.  For example, when these slick creeps demean teachers, they are attacking societal fundamentals.  Do we, as a nation, value education?  Do we value educating the blue collar/middle class family as much as we value educating their peers at a higher social level?  If not, why not?

We’ve always had issues with class in this country.  We’ve had slavery, indentured servitude, the plight of women, children, the sick and the elderly who can’t fend for themselves.  And there has always been the model of the Banker (Big Business usually = GOP) with the cold heart in this country – plenty of those around today.  (“If you don’t give me the deed to your ranch I’m gonna tie you to the railroad tracks”)

Tell me, O weasel-eyed Governors with eyes of flint - I would like to know how destroying our precious national safety nets will do anything but impoverish those too weak to pull themselves up, thereby weakening our national fabric.  These “nets” are in place; they serve the people.  Honestly, really – what will take their place?  Smile, say "charity" and I will laugh in your face.

What happens when there’s no protection for the firemen, the teachers, the police, the drivers -- the We that are the People?  For Governor Walker to act like an over-confident bully, smashing the long-held values and Rights of a state known for securing those Rights, thereby paving the way for the rest of us, was viscerally shocking to me.

Governor Walker appears to be a mini-dictator, and there are several others of his ilk governing other states.  Their aim is to strip the Democratic Party of their one power base, the Unions, and to prevent President Obama from being elected or from achieving policy objectives.  It is also Karl Rove’s Machiavellian goal to achieve total GOP dominance within all systems of government.  If that happens, kiss the idea of America goodbye.

The state of Wisconsin is not supposed to be a dictatorship, run by a Governor with an unseemly urge to please billionaire businessmen such as the Koch Bros. His mini-dictatorship is somehow protected by states-rights while the rest of us watch in horror, wondering what next parliamentary bit of deviance will be used inappropriately.

In my state, California, a Democrat Governor was recalled a few years ago for NOTHING compared to what Governor Walker is doing, and I mean NOTHING.  I have nothing against Governor Schwarzenegger - I came to be quite fond of him -- he's MY kind of GOP-GOV.  I like moderate Republicans -- we do have a lot in common. I want to cultivate that love of the moderate which is unfamiliar to the flaming Progressive!

It's time to unite from within the center, reaching out -- reaching out to one another with a sense of inclusion towards ALL except the bat shit crazy.  I refuse to take this challenge to our working people without reacting in a protective fashion -- as they have protected us.  I refuse to watch a challenge to education in this country without working to educate people about why it matters!

People must know why a wide, stimulated, open & well-trained mind is worth more than gold.  The fewer great minds we have, the lower is our status as a country, period.  I would feel more comfortable with the direction of our country if we pointed our kids in the direction of math/science/saving the earth than by bombing the crap out of it.

When we stop respecting education, we are stale, through.  Do you hear me, America? WE – the almighty paragons of remarkable excellence, are on the verge of being  finished, second rate.  Our worth, capacity, flexibility and vigor as a nation are diminished; our educational scores are mediocre, our intellectual appetite dulled.   The mediocre are easily led like sheep, which makes me wonder if it’s too late already.  Again, how have we arrived at this point?

We have failed to educate our people. When people are not trained to think, they cannot discriminate.  Lack of discrimination leads to collective failures in judgment, resulting in cultural lurches like allowing GW Bush to invade Iraq (President Clinton was impeached for infinitely  less), forgetting the Bush years so easily, forgetting who the real Party of the People has always been, which led to the stupid, impatient results of the last election, etc.

Remember the old adage about getting the Government one deserves?  It seems that most of Congress has been bought off and now these Governors too. What do the Koch Brothers have to do with all of this and HOW do they stand to gain?  AND DON’T THEY HAVE ENOUGH WEALTH, NOW REALLY?? The idea that they have anything to do with policy that impoverishes the rest of America sickens me.

If you haven't noticed anything peculiar yet, to arms, to arms -- the Corporations are coming