I’ve been thinking about the absurdities in our approach to education, and in particular, about the war we’ve declared on teachers, but when I began to write about this perverse and specious war, I realized that the war on teachers is symptomatic of something more repugnant and loathsome, and that something has to be done— begs to be done— to change things.
The way I see it, our politicians and the money behind them, like necromancers, have used our ignorance and greed against us. By blinding us to the needs of all save ourselves, they have turned us into unfeeling, voracious blood-suckers, poised to begin feeding on ourselves in a frenzy too terrible for words.
Despite the fact that we are poorer than ever, and the poverty rate keeps jumping, we’re getting ready to rip up the safety nets. The draconian budget cuts being proposed in the House are like weapons pointed at the most vulnerable members of society.
The scapegoats have been chosen and lined up against the wall. They are union members, including, but not limited to teachers; the working poor; the ever-diminishing middle class; democrats, of course; liberals; immigrants; public television and radio; the new, hard-won healthcare system; women’s rights; and education, to name a few. Everyone, it seems, except the very rich, will be sacrificed. We’ll line up to immolate ourselves; we’ll jump like lemmings.
Adversaries scream that all of the scapegoats above are responsible for the condition of the United States today. They blame the poor for their impoverishment, instead of fighting poverty. They blame teachers for the failures of our students, while imposing meaningless curriculums and thoughtless regimes of testing, and pretending that the plague of poverty has nothing to do with the abysmal state of education today. They blame democrats for everything, ignoring the fact that income gains under Democrats have traditionally favored the lowest twenty percent of the population, while under Republicans, the gains always favor the folks in the top five percent.
We have been blinded to the inequalities imposed on us. Think about it: the share of wealth of the millionaires among us has quadrupled since the seventies, while the share of the bottom 99% has decreased. We don’t speak of how we’ve lost jobs because corporations have saved money by sending them overseas. We don’t speak of tax cuts for the wealthy, or what has become welfare for the richest among us.
We’re not Zombies yet, I hope. Let’s poke holes in the great web of illusion they’ve woven, these later-day Rasputins. Let’s say no to avarice and ignorance.