Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Government by Poll

So, let’s say you’re teaching a class of first graders and you’re approaching lunch time. You aren’t sure what to give the kids to eat, and you need to make a decision.

You could make them lunch—at least that way you’d know they were getting something healthy. Ah, but they HATE spinach.

Ok, you’ll spend some time and think up a really creative meal that will not only be healthy but they’ll LOVE it! Hmmm, well yeah, but that would be a LOT of work.

Wait! I know! Let’s just poll the kids and see what THEY want! What a great idea! Then they’ll be fed, and it will be whatever the group decided, so they’ll be happy…perfect!!!! We’ll POLL them!

Huh? Not a good idea? Why not? Because the kids will all want cookies and ice cream? Well, sure. They’re kids. But hey, you got ‘em fed and they’re happy, right.

Nope. Not right. This isn’t what you were hired for. You were hired to lead, educate, and leave the kids better than you found them; not govern the classroom by poll. Even if it doesn’t make the kids happy. A GREAT leader would probably find a way to do that more palatably, but that isn’t always possible. Sometimes tough love is the best love.

Boy, good thing you aren’t running to be ELECTED to the role of teacher, huh? After all, what KID would vote for a teacher that is going to feed them healthy food and expect a disciplined classroom? What kid is going to WANT to have homework every night and be forced to work hard to improve both their grades and their intellect?

Welcome to U.S. politics…2008. Where the first graders are electing their teacher.

Government by poll.

More tax cuts! Government health care AND insurance AND banking! No Army, no Air Force, no Marines! We don’t wanna have to do NOTHIN!!!! Wheeeeeeeee!!!!

Tougher education standards? Not for us buster…we just want education to be free. No standards or anything. Just everyone feelin’ great about their meaningless PhD that didn’t cost a nickel of money or an ounce of work.

Sure the economy needs to be bailed out, and yeah, we know there’s a deficit…but so what. I want mine! Gimme gimme gimme! There aren’t rules here…heck, WE make the rules! No rules, just more money! And candy and cake and principal-free mortgages with low interest rates too. Nothin’ costs anything…everything’s FREEEEEE!

And then you wake up someday and you’re 19 and you haven’t learned a thing.

And you don’t know how to read or write or even hold an interesting conversation, let alone an interesting thought.

And you can’t compete for jobs.

Or worse yet, your country is on the verge of collapse, and you STILL don’t get that you need to do your homework.

What’s for lunch?


Mr. Mac said...

......Could not help but think that some of these "children" have grown up to become purchasing agents for relocation services. It's not good enough to have a nice deal....they want it for nothing. But I fully understand....that's how they were raised.....with their hand out palm side up. Lots of takers out there.

Ron Newlin said...

I feel your frustration, Hoov. But how do we get a Leader (who will present some tough choices and then see that they are made) past the first primary? In each of the last two Presidential debates, both candidates failed to answer questions about which of their priorities would have to be put on the back burner because of the current economic crunch.

The implication is, there’s nothing wrong that Obama’s brand of fine-tuning or McCain’s version of fine-tuning won’t fix. Just trust me to adjust the right tax rate by a point or two and we’ll be back to a 13000 point Dow, and all the consumer spending you want (with all those pre-approved credit cards that’ll start showing up in your mailbox again).
No one is willing to acknowledge that there’s something systemically wrong with the buy-now, pay-later (much much later) culture that both parties have been pursuing, and the entire electorate has been rewarding, for the past 30 years.

Neither of these candidates will do anything to reverse the trend toward our national debt exceeding the entire Gross Domestic Product – maybe by the end of his first/only term – for the first time since World War II. That, of course, was an extraordinary event that justified sparing no expense. It was also the last time the population was called on to sacrifice, and sacrifice they did.

Has human nature and the American character changed so much in two generations that we as a people could not be called on to sacrifice again?

I find myself wondering these days whether I’ll be lucky if the worst thing that happens to my family, financially, is that my retirement gets pushed back five years. Five more years of (hopefully, meaningful and rewarding) work before I begin the 10- to 20-year taxpayer-subsidized paid vacation at the end of my life. As sacrifices go, that sure beats a bullet in the face storming the beach at Tarawa.

But could we lock that in, please, and earmark my future “extra” tax revenue toward fixing the system, instead of just spending that, too?

Alexandra Hoover said...

Well, all that being said... I guess that would be my cue to exit the blog scene for the time at present and hit the books for that History of Rock test. ;-P