Last week I had the privilege of joining with some other Wisconsin citizens to remind our governor that yes, we are still here, and yes, we still care passionately about the agenda he is foisting upon the people of our state.
The sign I carried basically said - we're onto you, Governor. You can try to hide the fact that much of the legislation you and your cronies are pushing through has nothing to do with the good of the people, and everything to do with profit. You can try, but we will expose your deception.
A gentleman pulled up in a very nice car. I have no idea who he was, but as he exited his vehicle, he shouted something incomprehensible, though obviously unflattering, toward us.
In fine Wisconsin fashion, the protesters responded with, "Shame! Shame! Shame!". I rather like that. We in the Midwest are a pretty upstanding group, morally speaking. We still believe that when people hurt other people, they should feel some shame. We were raised that way, and I heartily approve. Our consciences are still alive and well.
The gentleman then shouted toward us: "You're all a bunch of TEACHERS!"
Fast forward to Sunday morning. I was channel surfing through the news channels, and there was Fox News. Normally I don't linger there much, but the woman being interviewed was relating her story regarding a teacher who had given her child the "correct" test answers. The mom was quite upset about that, and I agree, she should be. I certainly would be.
The teachers who did these things are wrong. The system that has made them feel so desperate that they would even consider doing such a thing to keep their jobs is even more wrong. Fox did not address that - and I wasn't too surprised. I suspect that most Fox News viewers, accustomed as they are to having their ignorance and anger fueled by a daily dose of "Fair and Balanced", would quickly change the channel should they suddenly be tasked with having to utilize critical thinking skills.
Okay, that's biased, and I admit it, but it's my blog ;-). Try to see beyond it. Better yet, Google "Fox News Bias" and do your own research.
Now, what really got my attention this Sunday morning?
The host(ess) of the show said something absolutely outrageous.
She said, upon concluding the interview, something very close to this:
"Whenever I see a TEACHER nowadays, I give 'em a LOOK".
For two days, I tried to get a response from Fox News and its fans via e-mail, phone calls, Facebook, Twitter, etc. regarding what program this was, and what the host's name was, and whether I could find an online video clip of this statement. I've gotten no responses other than from one man who said he'd blogged about the Atlanta teacher cheating scandal. I wish I could let you hear that statement for yourselves, but I can't.
I heard it. I saw it.
When did "Teacher" become a four-letter word? How did we get from the days of Laura Ingalls Wilder, when Teacher was one of the most respected positions one could aspire to, to THIS - teacher as villain, teacher as scapegoat?
A few months ago, I would never have believed that I could join the ranks of those I saw as "Conspiracy Theorists". What happened in politics just didn't, I thought, really impact my day-to-day life all that much. Whomever got elected, it would be "Meet the New Boss - Same as the Old Boss" - and I'd still have groceries to buy, appointments to keep, friends and family to love, a life to live.
I'm still a skeptic. I check and double-check, and when corrected, I strive to immediately let folks know I've erred. I want nothing but the truth.
I was wrong in my thinking that our day-to-day lives, our system of beliefs, our collective futures, our very truth is not being constantly impacted and formed by the decisions of those whom we elect to represent our interests. That's what we hope, anyway!
I've learned too much to believe that we can just sit back and let things happen.
I was wrong to think that in our nation, it would simply not be possible for any person or group of people to systematically enact any agenda and carry it out under our very noses. It goes against everything that we have stood for, as a nation, as a people. We have too many checks and balances, too many protections in place to keep such a thing from happening.
Life was easier, a few months back, in many ways. It's harder now, because of what I've learned. I feel responsible in a way I never could have imagined. Part of that is just me - I have always believed that whatever I experience in life has a purpose - to teach me something that I am then responsible for using to help others in any way that I can.
What I am given is not mine to keep... it is to be shared. Whether it is something material - I have a sandwich, you are hungry, so of course we'll split it - or something I know how to do that you'd like to learn - or a heartbreak that has taught me something that I think may be of use to you - it's not mine to keep.