Posts Tagged 'elections'

Sometimes, Life Gets in the Way

I want to talk about the election, about the Obama victory, about whether we’ll be better off four years from now, but as of last Tuesday, I have been on the Express Rail of Employment!  It only took 10 months of searching, but I AM gainfully employed, and I think I’m going to like it.  I am in the second week of a four-week training program, and the compendium of knowledge I am expected to have readily available in the Cranial File is extensive.  Even though I sometimes am ready to drop the moment I walk in the door after work (one day I seriously considered just putting the seat back in my car and crashing until the next morning), I am enjoying my new job and making new friends.

As soon as I have readjusted life to accommodate blogging once again, I will post more faithfully, I promise.  In the meantime, just hang tight!

Purrs and headbonks, y’all!

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A Middle-School Lesson for Obama and the Democrats

This is an entry I’ve been meaning to post for quite some time, and feel a strong need to get done while there’s still time before the election, especially with Barack Obama wanting to “spread [America’s] wealth.”  If that statement hasn’t made your alarm bells start clanging, read on:  the following is for you!

Although I was teaching English/Language Arts in the small, rural, impoverished district where I was employed before I moved to the state capitol, at some point during the year, there would arise an occasion to give this small lecture about how Communism/Socialism only works on paper.  I never got to complete the lesson, because someone would indignantly shout out the “moral of the story” before I could finish.  That’s ok–that’s how I wanted it.  I wanted them to realize the lesson on their own and they did.  Every time.

To make my illustration, I would begin by writing on the board that famous one-sentence summary of Marx and Engels’ Communist Manifesto:

From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.

I would then lead a brief discussion of the meaning of that sentence, to ensure that everyone understood what it meant.  I’d then ask the students “Sounds good, doesn’t it?”  The students would agree.  I would leave that quote on the board throughout this mini-lesson.

At this point, I would choose two students to come to the front of the classroom and stand beneath the quote.  I was always careful to choose two students who loved being the center of attention and who could take a good-hearted ribbing.  For the sake of this illustration, I’ll call them “Chris” and “Tyler.”

“Chris,” I’d tell the students, “is a model student.”  Chris is always on time to class, prepared with pencil, paper, and textbook.  Chris takes notes in class, and asks questions in order to ensure understanding of what is being taught.  Chris’ work is always turned in on time, neat and legible.  If there is something Chris still doesn’t understand when class is done, Chris will come in before school to meet with me.  When it’s time for the big test, Chris has kept up with the chapter reading, so on the night before, all Chris has to do is review the things that need reviewing.  Chris gets a good night’s sleep and eats a good breakfast the next morning.  Chris uses the test-taking skills taught in class and takes his/her time.  When I grade the test, Chris’ hard work has paid off, for (s)he has earned a “100” on the test.  I then write a large “100” above “Chris'” head.

Then there’s “Tyler.”  Poor, poor, Tyler.  Tyler is always the last one in class and the first one out.  Tyler’s attendance record has more “no shows” than Harry Houdini at Halloween seances.  When Tyler DOES show up to class, don’t expect to see pencil or paper.  Tyler couldn’t locate the textbook if his/her life depended on it.  Tyler’s idea of taking notes?  Writing a snarky comment on a piece of paper and passing it to a classmate.   The only question Tyler has ever asked in class is “How much longer, Miss?”  The night before the test, Tyler stayed up all night IM’ing someone from MySpace.  Tyler overslept on test day, skipped breakfast, and missed the bus.  Tyler stumbles loudly into class halfway through the period, and announces loudly enough to disrupt everyone:  “We had a test today?”  Of couse Tyler “Christmas tree”‘s the test, marking random answers here and there.  Still, Tyler beat the law of averages and scores a 40 on the test.  I write a large 40 above “Tyler”‘s head.

At this point, I stop to remind the class that 70 is the minimum passing grade, and write a large 70 between “Chris” and “Tyler.” I then remind them of the quotation written on the board above both of them:

From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.

Next, I tell the students that since, according to the principles of Communism/Socialism, “Chris” has 30 points more than (s)he needs, I am going to take those points and give them to “Tyler,” who needs 30 points to pass.

I turn around and, with a different color marker, begin to cross out the “100” above “Chris”‘ head, and draw an arrow toward “Tyler”‘s “40” which I also cross out, replacing each score with a “70.”

Funny thing is, though, I never get to finish.  As I illustrate Communist/Socialist theory on the board, some student–usually one of the more vocal ones, rather than one of the highest-scoring ones–invariably shouts out “But Miss, that’s not fair!”

At that point, I stop.  I cap my marker and put it on the tray.  I turn to the class and benignly smile.  I say quietly and calmly, “And that’s why Communism doesn’t work.”

Middle school students have a super-heightened sense of what is or isn’t “fair.”  They pick up in five minutes what tweed-clad graying Economics professors haven’t learned in over 100 years:  Socialism doesn’t work.  It goes against all of human nature.  If we work hard to earn something and play by the rules, dammit, it’s ours.  Keep your grubby hands off it.  Conversely, if you want to be lazy, that’s your perogative.  If you choose to do so, however, don’t expect someone else to take up your slack.

Please don’t misunderstand me.  I know the system fails from time to time and people who DO play by the rules occasionally lose.  I’m there now myself.  For the first (and hopefully, the last) time in my life, I’m drawing Unemployment.  What I need is a short-term stop-gap measure until I’m back on my feet.  I don’t need some overprotective government entity doing everything for me and making us all pay out the wazoo for it.

The thing we’ve forgotten all too quickly is that whenever liberals attempt to “stick it to the rich,” it’s us average Joes who really get the shaft.  Back in 1991, Congress imposed a “Luxury Tax” on high-ticket items such as jewelry, cars, and boats with a selling price of over $30,000.  What happened was that rich people STILL got the luxury items they wanted–they just bought “gently-used” items instead of new ones in order to avoid paying the tax.  It was the middle- and lower-class wage-earning workers who MADE these big ticket items who wound up paying–by losing their jobs.  No demand means no employment.  The rich stayed rich (hell, they SAVED money in the long run), and the poor workers lost everything.  This “luxury tax” wound up costing the Federal Government money in lost income and sales taxes and increased unemployment and other assistance payouts.  The next Congress couldn’t repeal the “luxury tax” fast enough.

You’d have thought the Democrats would have learned their lesson.  Sadly, they haven’t, else Obama wouldn’t be preaching “sharing the wealth.”  You’d have thought America would have learned its lesson as well when it comes to a “sore loser” tax.  Judging by the number of people who are swallowing Obama’s proposal hook, line, and sinker, I think it’s safe to say that we as a nation haven’t.

Those of you who haven’t yet taken advantage of early voting, it’s not too late.  Let Obama and the Democrats know that you are not falling for this sucker play.  Show them that you’re smarter than that.  My middle school students were.

Postscript:

Apparently, I wasn’t the only one with this Tale to tell.  Waiting for me in my Inbox when I finished was the following link on the same subject.  It’s well worth the read.  I just hope that by using the name “Gator,” he doesn’t mean that he pledges allegiance to the Florida Philistines.  The Dawgs are going to kick some serious Gator tail in Jax on Saturday, then blacken it and serve it on rice, Cajun-style (in remembrance of our sweet victory over LSU this past Saturday)!

Think Before You Vote.

It’s election day.  To say the economy is in the toilet is the understatement of the century.  People are losing jobs left and right.  When it comes to food, clothing, and shelter, you can choose any two–if you’re lucky.

At the polls, there are a bunch of “little candidates,” but only two really matter.  One aging candidate represents the old guard and traditional values.  He is a respected war hero, especially by those who claim the “moral high ground,” but also has enough of a following by social democrats to avoid being automatically tagged as a “hard-line right-winger.”

The other candidate wants change, period.  He is in his 40’s and a dynamic speaker.  Questions linger about the validity of his citizenship, as well as other nasty rumors about his background and intents once he takes office that just won’t go away.  He mounts a grueling campaign, flying from town to town, making speech after speech about how he wants to restore wealth, respect, and hope to a dispirited and increasingly-pessimistic nation.

You are the average citizen, exercising your right on election day and shaping the future of your nation.  Whom do you choose?

The aging symbol of the past, or the young dynamo?

Which one?

Decided?

Good.  Remember who you picked.

You’ve turned in your ballot.

You can’t go back and change it.

Oh, I forgot to tell you a minor detail.

The year is 1932.  The country is Germany.

If you voted for the aging war hero, you chose Paul von Hindenburg.

If you voted for the young dynamo wanting change, you chose Adolf Hitler.

Early voting started yesterday in Texas.  Election day is November 4.  Think carefully before you cast your ballot.  The future of not only your country, but mine and our children’s country depends on the choice you make.

A Primary Surprise

I really thought that this Presidential primary season would be the most boring since Millard Fillmore was a nominee. Boy was I wrong! There were some surprises on the Republican side, but right now they are moot. Still, college classes in marketing, advertising, and political science will be deconstructing Mike Huckabee’s campaign for years to come trying to figure out how he did so much with so little.

But the GOP race was nothing compared to the excitement on the Democrat side! I (and most of the rest of the country) expected the primary season to be little more than a year-long coronation ceremony for Hillary Clinton. Then, out of left field (pun most definitely intended) came Barack Obama. All of a sudden, this race has become downright fascinating! What astounds me as much as anything else is my own reaction.

I have only voted Democrat twice in my life, both times to support a candidate I had met personally over a Republican who had done something to tick me off as a voter. I almost did it again on Tuesday. I’m not entirely sure if the reason I didn’t was because Texas is a closed primary state and my conscience would not allow me to register as a Democrat (the Democratic party and I differ over several fundamental issues–most notably the abortion issue) or if I didn’t do it just because I was too doggone sick the past two months to go to the courthouse. (Yes, I did get the flu shot, for all the good it did.)

What I can’t quite believe, though, is who would have gotten my vote if I had. I have spent the past 15 years or so despising Hillary Clinton. I thought she was “a pushy broad” on the 1992 campaign trail, and then I found her picture on the cover of Life magazine in the UGA Library Archives (my favorite place to kill an hour between classes while I was in college), and it confirmed my suspicions. She was conducting an anti-Vietnam War protest at Radcliffe right about the time she had been chosen valedictorian, and her face was contorted with hate. At least (unlike her husband), she had the decency to conduct her protest within our borders. You can protest our government all you want, just do it inside the U.S. Airing our dirty laundry in a foreign country is unforgiveable. (Got THAT, Dixie Twits?!?)

When Hillary’s mandatory socialized health care program died a phlegmatic death in Congress, no one was more celebratory than I. When Bill’s flagrant infidelities and supercilious defense (“It depends on what your definition of ‘is’ is….”) made me, for the one and only time in my life, feel ashamed to be an American (another unforgivable offense, but, again, that is a Tale for another day), I was unsympathetic to the aggrieved wife.

Yet, the political junkie in me could not resist watching on CNN the Democrats’ debate when they were in Austin a few weeks ago. I was astounded to listen to Hillary. From the first words out of her mouth, it was clear that she had done her homework. She knew how to hit every hot button square on the mark, and what was a friendly audience to begin with was eating out of her hand before the first question was lobbed. Obama, on the other hand, just didn’t seem comfortable. He stammered inordinately, and his skin tone was a most unnatural color– he just didn’t look like the Barack Obama who had been all over the news for the past couple of months. I couldn’t decide if he was debilitatingly ill or if the makeup person before the debate had really flubbed it (I learned later that it was the former–perhaps the only time Barack Obama and I will ever have something in common).

I was intrigued, but pushed my astonishment aside when life insisted on continuing. Then, this Monday, Sen. Clinton conducted a live interview on KTRH, my news radio station of choice (their 30 minute newscast fits nicely with my 40 minute commute). The first question was about her ideas for fixing the immigration problem. As I listened, I was shocked to realize that she had the most sensible, pragmatic, practical, and workable solution offered by any candidate of any party.

I am oversimplifying here, but I have been verbose enough tonight. The highlights of Senator Clinton’s plan include:

  • First, and foremost, secure the borders. Nothing else we do will matter a hill of beans if our borders remain a sieve.
  • She acknowleged that the popular and knee-jerk solution for the 12 million illegals already here is to round them up and ship them home, but then she logically explained why it won’t work:
    • It would rack up a price tag that NONE of us are willing to pay
    • It would trample the civil rights of EVERY American (I loved the way she put it–“Do YOU want federal agents banging on YOUR door to YOUR home and YOUR place of business, demanding to search for illegals?” I had to admit, my answer was “no.”)
  • What to do then? Sooner or later, each of those 12 million illegals will come to the attention of “the system.”
    • When they do, conduct a criminal background check. If they committed a crime, whether in their country or ours, they go back.
    • If they are clean, they must pay every penny of the back taxes they incurred while living here illegally.
    • They must learn English.
    • When they have done all of these things, if they want to stay here, they must get to the back of the line for a work visa/citizenship.
  • Oh, and the businesses that hire illegals? Prosecute them into oblivion.

I’m not yet saying I’m supporting the junior senator from New York, but it is giving me food for thought which I never anticipated being served. Still, if she gets the Democratic nomination and John McCain ignores the conservatives in the GOP or worse, selects that two-faced hypocrite Mitt Romney as a running mate, I will seriously consider “crossing over to the Dark Side.” Only time will tell.


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