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Wise In Their own Deceits

 

It is hard to know whether to express grief or anger at the impending collapse of our educational system. Perhaps the myriad of emotions that runs the gamut are each in their own space appropriate. The grief for the teacher and student trapped in a relic whose time has passed and anger for the bureaucracy whose blind ambitions have too long and yet still ignored the warning bells of a sinking behemoth pitched up in its death plunge sputtering, hissing to its depths of oblivion. The time for the salvation of public education is nearly passing the cusp into the realm of futility.

Captained by a stubborn addiction to agenda rather than the purpose of teaching, a top heavy education system teeters dangerously as if drunken by its desire for self preservation. As the passengers flee the sinking ship rowing towards a fresh new horizon of choice and freedom, the aging hulk reaches out for them as if to drag them back into the dark cold vacuum it leaves as it sinks beneath the waves. Disaster loves company.

The inevitable shift in the educational landscape is borne out of necessity here in rural Maine. Despite the protestations of Senator Collins that Betsy DeVos did not understand the needs of rural Maine for public education, it is the Senator who is completely out of touch with the changing winds in rural Maine. Blind and bound by financial ties to powerful unions, she instead gives stark example to the reasons rural Maine is rejecting public education in growing numbers and choosing instead to embark in more seaworthy vessels than sieve Collins seems bound to protect.

Despite the ruinous wreckage surrounding it, like a poverty stricken monarch the public school system is still demanding obeisance. A bill, LD 96, sponsored by Senator Nate Libby, Democrat, would require parents to “consult” with school boards before removing children to a alternative educational system or be found in truancy. In other words, the failing school system that has our once world class education standards plummeting in the eyes of the nations wants to consulted before parents are “allowed” to make choices for their own children. Both Senator Collins in Washington and Senator Libby in Augusta are completely out of touch with the people in Maine they represent.

The broad and, yes, harsh characterizations of the failing public school system are not to ignore the great work of so many good teachers who bravely work to educate our youth in this arcane system. It is to paint the over-arching picture of the necessity and reality of change. Many families, and more are coming, have found greener pastures for the education of their children outside of public schools. This is the new horizon for education in this country and in this state.

LD 96 has yet to be debated before committee. The public can go before committee or send in written testimony. I would urge so many who believe in a brighter future for our children to contact the Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs and make your voice be known. Having to consult a school board for parenting choices on your child’s future is like asking Hollywood actors for marriage advice.

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The Eye Of The Storm

 

There is really is no other way to describe the present state of our Nation than sheer lunacy. From temper tantrums to violent reprisals, thumb-sucking whiny protests against chest pounding gloats, choreographed animus fueled by shadowy charlatans, unhinged rabid political leaders mated with a dishonest instigating media, and it would seem the whole world has gone mad. Reason is traded for rage and dissent confused with destruction.

No one is exempt. Everywhere at all corners someone shouting. Yes, and even the silence is deafening.

There is an eye to this storm but no one is  able to find it. The fuel to the fire lies there seemingly dormant but the energy it exudes is the gas for the flame. Somewhere in the midst of the swirling winds can be heard the faint click of a twitter account.

Denzel Washington in recent interview asked a poignant question. “Do you own the phone or does the phone own you?” The Biblical verse says “By their fruits you shall know them” and by their fruits one can see that the phone owns them. One simple tweet and the mayhem continues. The flames swirl up.

Even the best of our leaders have been caught up in the twitter tantrums. As pundits slavishly pontificate upon the storm and leaders, with activists alike, shout mindlessly into the howling winds, one realizes that no one can get clear read on where this President is going with his administration. Somewhere in the midst of this Trumponian din of bombast and confusion, a President with a twitter account sits in the eye of his storm and sees things just the way he wants them.

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License To Hate

 

We have become such an “in-the-moment” society always searching for that singular rush, craving that fleeting buzz of pleasure. The concepts of forethought, responsibility, and repercussions in relation to our actions are nearly non-existent and are at best viewed as arcane, irrelevant in a licentious world. In a pleasure oriented society, the goal becomes feelings.

Each bump against convention is replaced with a deepening revolt against the norm as the heady flush of rebellion is dulled in turn demanding some new outrage to fulfill the ever burgeoning need to feel. Guilty pleasures are no longer enough so tantrums become the vehicle to supply the sensory demands. Violence is mixed in to create the greater escalation until finally layered with the ultimate payback. When the moment or even moments pass in the quest to feel, the king of the mountain surveys the wreckage upon which he or she stands  only to once again face the expanse of emptiness.

In times past, this pattern of self-destruction would be attributed to youthful waywardness and/or a individual’s propensity to learn things the hard way. Sadly now it seems the insatiable quest for feelings has rubbed the natural sensors so raw that we are dulled witless beyond even the natural cycle of lessons learned. Like the punch drunk pugilist, we are simply flailing against shadows and blurred images as the brain’s cognitive abilities shut down and the boxer falls unconscious.

No where was this better exemplified than the outrageous behavior at the campus of U.C. Berkeley. In an insane battle of anarchist versus anarchists, the most violent prevailed as the cowards in leadership of the school quailed in the face toddler-like tantrums. The First Amendment suffered another loss.

Across the broad spectrum of leadership in our Nation, from parenting to government, leadership has failed its society by accepting the childish excuse of “He made me do it!” as reasons for pathetic behavior instead of responding with the time proven principle of “I’m not dealing with him, I’m dealing with you!”, which forces said childish perpetrator to embrace the edicts of personal responsibility. The First Amendment allows for Milo Yiannopoulos’ despicable speech. It affords for students to protest his speech. It does not allow for violence to shut down the aforementioned despicable speech.

I don’t know much about Milo and this new alt-right, which is hijacking the conservative movement. What little I have read is repulsive to me and violates my core beliefs. But free speech is not free unless it is free for everyone and if my beliefs are so fragile that I cannot hear other beliefs contrary to mine, then my beliefs are fragile indeed and not worthy of my trust.

I watch now the vicious swing of the political pendulum and the punch back that is becoming the norm wondering if it will ever stop. Both sides keep pointing and saying “They made me do it!” I agree with Senator Marco Rubio when he warns we are flirting with a complete destruction of the treasure of civil debate. We cannot critique the President from either side, in the last eight years or with this new President, without a barrage of attacks and hate.

Yes, it is true that for eight years the left protected the President with blind loyalty and fealty that was appalling at best. Yet now it seems the strike back for this President is the same fealty that precludes him from any criticism without backlash. The mistakes of the last regime are not a license for the hate and retribution that I see from so-called conservatives as of late. If we truly want to make America Great Again we must remember that decency and civility was once the hallmark of this great Nation and avoid the shortsighted desire for the fleeting pleasure of payback, power, and to be king of the mountain.1

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Weekend at Public School

 

A comedy movie, Weekend at Bernie’s, gained popularity with moviegoers for its combination of dark situational humor and slapstick sequences. The story chronicles the unfortunate series of events of two young men who are invited to wealthy man’s home for the weekend. The two boys arrive only to find Bernie has been the victim of a mob hit. Hilarity ensues as the young duo, fearing they will blamed, spend the whole weekend dragging a corpse around trying to pretend the lifeless is indeed very alive.

American citizens, parents and students, concerned with the education of now and tomorrow, are being to treated to reenactment of this cult classic, yet the ridiculous animated contortions are strangely divested of any humor. The public school system of the United States has been a dead and rotting corpse for some time. Still, the growing outcry of those trapped in the stench of its lifeless hulk seems to fall on tin ears.

If it were not for the fact that the educational freedom of the future generations is at stake, there might possibly be some humor to wrench from today’s news. This news that Senator Collins is one of two Republican Senators who plan to oppose Betsy Devos appointment to Education Secretary, while frustrating at best for conservatives here in Maine, can be filed once again under the “Par for the Course” header of the litany betrayals of Maine conservatives. At the very least, this is the exclamation point on the inability of entrenched politicians to accept that Americans want change and choice not the status quo.

Democrats and their Republicrat allies are willing to go to any lengths to prop the corpse of public education. The almost ludicrous attempts by establishment to defend the lifeless against the vitality of new life would be comical if not for the repercussions. Why not except the truth?

Americans are tired of failed bureaucracy, but more so, they are at wits end to why our leaders continue to protect those failed institutions at the detriment of society at large. Betsy Devos may not be the perfect appointee but thankfully she is not establishment as usual. Senator should rethink what is an obvious protection of special interest and support the Nation as it moves toward the future of Education, which is choice.