Like every situation, there are many positives and negatives that can be observed. I had wanted to write this earlier but also wanted to wait, since I did not think it was the proper time to drop something cynical on this blog, when so many people needed feel-good stories to get by. So I have fixed that by combining the “jeers” with some “cheers”, so that the article is not overwhelmingly negative. If you have read the previous “Weathering the Storm” articles, than you will know my experiences with relief work have been very rewarding and positive, but there are a few things going on in our area that have slipped through the cracks, as you will see below.
Just when bipartisanship seemed dead in America, President Barack Obama and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie have shown that it is indeed possible to stand in the middle of the aisle to get things done. Being an independent fed up with both parties, I must say I am impressed with the actions of both leaders. Christie may have been too cautious for Hurricane Irene last year, but this year, you will see that he was spot on. I have not been keeping track of all the updates, but every time I heard him speak on the radio when the power was out, it instilled confidence in me that everything would soon be alright, and progress was being made. His bullyish, no-nonsense attitude may be unappealing to some people, but that is exactly what we need in politics, especially in a time of crisis. He is a take-charge man who tells it like it is, and I applaud him for never dancing around the situation. If I ever did reverse my decision to never vote for a major party candidate for president, should Christie run in 2o16, he very well may be the only Republican I would ever consider voting for. He has called all shots, and the the law and order in this state has been maintained as well as it can be given the circumstances. From trying to stop price gouging to signing the order to start rationing gas tomorrow, there is a sense of calm in an area that has seen much disturbance.
Two weeks ago, one of my political idols, the no-nonsense, anti-partisan, former governor of Minnesota, Jesse Ventura, went on The Joy Behar Show to talk about his new book, 63 Documents the Government Doesn’t Want You to Read, and also the day’s current events. I have long been a fan of his ideologies, even though I despise pro-wrestling and never saw Predator in its entirety. Whenever I hear him speak, I find myself sitting there nodding in agreement with most of what he says. I am a pretty hardcore independent, much like he is, and I am starting to wonder if that is where it came from.
I was never overly enthusiastic with any political party growing up. My father votes for who he thinks is best, party aside, while my mother is so disgusted with politicians in general that she says she will not vote in 2012, regardless of who is up for nomination. That being said, I was never inspired by any family member to lean a certain way. Sometimes I like a Republican candidate, sometimes I like a Democrat. But recently, with the way this country is heading, I too am becoming disgusted with everyone.
Seeing Obama and his contingent running the country in the White House is like watching a blind squirrel trying to find a nut in my backyard. Meanwhile, at the same time, the vehement attacks by Republicans on his every single move are doing nothing to ameliorate this dire situation. When will people put their party aside and help one another for the good of the country? Obama and John Boehner could not agree on the time of day if they both synchronized their watches in unison, and that is what the real problem is with this country.
People blasted George W. Bush day in and day out, and while I do not particularly care for his social views and getting us embroiled in a war overseas that we have no chance of winning, he did not deserve all the criticism he received, though he does deserve more than Obama. We must all remember that Obama inherited this disaster from someone else. We did not wake up one morning out of the blue and find ourselves with high unemployment, an economy in the crapper, and people fearing for the jobs they currently hold. This was building for years, and now Obama is the scapegoat. Not to defend Obama, who has proposed this ludicrous health-care plan that he attempts to ram down our throat every chance he gets, but there are plenty of people out there who act like there were no such thing as taxes before he took office (see: T.E.A Party). I hate to bring race into the equation, but something tells me that if his name was Barry O’Neil, this would not have been added to the situation.
The T.E.A Party, or whatever they decide to call their posse of gun-toting, hate mongering lunatics, goes around the country organizing rallies decrying Obama as the next worst thing since Satan, trying to spread fear and get you to want to join their little movement. Listening in on one of their meetings/speeches sounds like a Nazi rally from the 1930′s (and mirrors the John McCain presidential convention in 2008). These people think they are patriots yet engage in smear tactics to get people to go their way, because they don’t have any substance to what they are saying. People have been crying for lower taxes since they were first created, all to no avail. These nut-jobs are not going to make anything better. This includes trying to prove that Obama is not a U.S citizen, something that even Donald Trump is parading around the country. I actually liked Trump for a moment, when he said he was thinking about running for president in 2012, but after this, I will not, just out of principle. Do we have to stoop so low to try to say someone is not even an American citizen? And if he isn’t, what exactly can we do about it? It is a bush-league move (no pun intended) that just reeks of people having too much time on their hands with nothing better to do. Then again, Sarah Palin is their poster-child, so I would expect nothing less.
Then again, part of me wants Palin to run against Obama in 2012. Could you imagine those two going head to head in a debate? The result would be the first live-television murder since Ruby killed Oswald in 1963.
Here is another thing; I understand that both liberals and democrats have their own share of nuts on both sides, but how come it seems that the conservative ones just come across as more wacky? It is the same people who claim that being a conservative is about limiting government, that when you actually get them talking, find that their motives are completely the opposite. Sounds like a great idea on paper, because who does not want smaller government? Yet, when we get to social issues, they seem to forget what that statement means. I would guess that 90% of conservatives are against gay marriage, with even more than that against abortion. There is also a large percentage against the legalization of marijuana. So, the people who want small government want to have the right to tell consenting adults who they can/cannot fall in love with, tell women what they can/cannot do with their own bodies, and tell people that they cannot smoke something that’s effects are less dangerous than those of alcohol. I just do not get it—hypocrisy in action?
Let’s take another look at social issues, because if you read my blog on a regular basis, you know I very rarely tackle politics, and if I do, it is more than likely about gay marriage. Before I get into an actual candidate for 2012, let me just say that when it comes down to gay marriage, I am once again, disgusted with both parties. The Democrats are usually seen as gay rights supporters, because they love to talk the talk. Yet when it comes time to actually get down to the nitty-gritty, where are they? It’s like they only stick up for gays in public to get votes, then throw that away as soon as they are behind closed doors. At least the Republicans are kind enough to spread their hatred and bigoted beliefs on a national level so that we may all see how backwards they are. Remember what Rick Santorum, who is a 2012 Presidential hopeful, said in 2003?
“If the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual gay sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything…”
He also went on to say that consenting adults do not have a constitutional right to privacy in regards to sexual acts. Okay, so now it’s not just a gay issue, but an everyone issue. He wants the government to be able to come into your bedroom and tell you how to live. Hooray for smaller government!
This almost makes me want to laugh to keep from crying, to think someone this misinformed actually made it to public office. Conservatives seem obsessed with a hatred towards homosexuals, and try to dehumanize them every chance they get. With the economic state this country is in, you would think that Boehner and the GOP would be trying to fix it, yet they are busy hiring lawyers (to be paid with taxpayer money, of course) to defend the “Defense of Marriage Act”, like there isn’t anything more important on the agenda. It all plays on people fearing what they do not understand, and the last time this was taken to heart on a large enough scale, the holocaust happened—perhaps we should all inform ourselves to not buy into propaganda, coming from any party, lest we want to hear the old cliché, “History repeats itself.”
When 2012 rolls around, I do not see myself voting for anyone on a partisan ticket. The only major possibility out there that I would consider would be Ron Paul, but only if he runs as an independent. He would further get my backing if Ventura ran as his Vice President, something he alluded to considering if Paul ran as an independent. Between Ventura’s anti-party politics and Paul’s knowledge of the constitution, I think they would make a formidable team. Should they not run, then I will either write in Mickey Mouse or John Wayne, in what will be the first election I will have been old enough to participate in. (Hey, if Chris Christie ran as an independent, he might get my support too.)
This begs the question, “Why is there no ‘None of the Above’ option on ballots?”. This is something Ventura brought up two weeks ago, and I don’t know if he was joking or not, but it seemed like the most sensible idea I have heard in a long time. How many times have you went into a polling place, torn between which candidate you hate the least, rather than who you like the most? Could you imagine running for office and losing out to a ‘None of the Above’?
I just look at the list of 2012 hopefuls and cringe that this is the best we can do as the supposed “greatest country in the world”. I will surely not be voting for the returning Obama, who I think will win out over whatever loon the GOP throws out there (the lesser of two evils?). If Sarah Palin does find a way to run, then it will probably spell the end of the GOP, knowing if she is the best they can put out there then they must really be hurting.
Then again, what does GOP stand for? “Grand OLD Party”. Do we really want a party whose values are based on archaic laws and ideologies running a country that has been sliding into the dumpster for years? For the people who are supposed to be the patriotic ones (remember, liberals are evil and anti-American; don’t take my word for it, just ask a conservative) they make me more embarrassed to be an American than anyone else. A country should be judged partially by the caliber of the candidates that run for office, and if that were to hold true for America, the caliber would be less powerful than a water gun. America being the leaders of the free world and a beacon of light for humanity is nothing but hundred year old bullshit rhetoric, but we can change it. If just one person at a time decided to really put their country first instead of their party, then we might actually accomplish something.
I want you to think about that next time you head to the polls, prepared to vote for a candidate that you do not entirely agree with. Ask yourself if you are really helping. We should not have to settle for someone, just because we do not like who else is out there, but actually have a choice of good, honest people that we can vote for proudly. That probably will not happen anytime soon, but I can assure you, that should there be a ‘None of the Above’ option placed on polls, not only would people not be hesitant to vote that way, but they would do it with a smile on their face.
If you have time, please check out Jesse Ventura’s new official website. I just love the title: We Ain’t Got Time to Bleed!
There comes a time when every single student, at every single college in America, when, regardless of their major, sits in a class and asks themselves, “Why am I taking this? What does this have to do with my future?” You are sitting there right now, nodding your head, and I know firsthand, because I have three such classes this semester that I sit in wondrous amazement at just what the hell I’m doing there.
Unless you are a general education student, who just wants to get a taste of everything because you are unsure of what major you want to select, chances are, you are stuck taking classes that you neither need, nor want. A waste, wouldn’t you say? You go to a college and piss away hundreds or thousands of dollars to learn how to balance chemical equations in a chemistry class when you are a history major. Or, possibly, stuck learning about the French Revolution when all you want to do with your life is be a nuclear physicist.
Why is this the case, though? Your answer is as good as mine, but in the end, it just comes down to money. What are the most popular majors and courses out there? From personal observation (so don’t take this as an absolute when looking at the entire country) most are liberal arts, meaning the majority of students want absolutely nothing to do with math or science. Are colleges afraid they will be paying math and science teachers for half-empty classes, so they fix it so every class is full? At the same time, if you are on the other side of the spectrum, and you are a science or math major, you want nothing to do with history. We are all alike, you must understand. As I sit there cursing my professor inside my head while he tells me the coefficients of the formula for when Ammonium Chloride mixes with Hydrogen Oxide, you sit there cursing your professor when he lists the countries involved in World War I.
What is important to one is meaningless to the other, and there seems to be more nonsense than relevance. The reason I always keep getting, for why people must take classes outside of their concentration, is because colleges want their students to be “well-rounded”. Now just what does that mean, well-rounded? I take it to mean that colleges want us to have a little bit of knowledge in everything, with a lot of knowledge in one thing (a.k.a a major). That is all fine and dandy if you are going to school for free, which a select few can call themselves lucky enough to do, but for those shelling out thousands, it is nothing but an enormous waste of time and money. Here I am, a history major, having to take math, chemistry, and Italian (or any foreign language). As someone who wants to be a history teacher, I do not think I would ever encounter a situation where I would need any of these subjects. I highly doubt that while teaching a lesson on the causes of the Mexican-American War, a student would ask me what the difference between a physical or chemical change is, or how to say certain words in Italian—it just won’t happen.
If you are a journalism major, why should you have to learn algebra or physics? What if all you want to do in life is write? Will trigonometry help you? What if all you want to do is sit in a lab and try to find the cure for cancer? Will taking a class on medieval art or poetry help your conquest?
In other words, the phrase “well-rounded” is another way of saying, “We want your money”. It is nothing but B.S spewed to get more money out of students that are already hurting financially, or who will be paying college loans until the day they die. Colleges stopped caring about the student a long time ago, if they ever did to begin with.
And that is what annoys me, that they just don’t care or will say anything to get you to take a certain class. When it came time to picking a science, I had to decide between chemistry and biology (they should have asked me, “Would you rather cut off your right leg, or your left?”). Not being scientifically inclined, I asked for advice, and was told in these exact words, “Take Chemistry 116. It’s the science to take if you don’t like science.” Not being a fan, I enthusiastically said, “Sign me up!”. My friend did the same, and since he is not good at math, he asked his counselor about how much math is in this course. Her exact words to him? “Oh, there’s no math in this level course.” Why don’t you take a guess at what we have been doing in that class for two hours and forty-five minutes for each of the first three weeks?
As someone who has experience in teaching and is someone who has already taught high school students a few times, I know I can do this and I know this is what I want to do for a living. I have also learned that when it comes to teaching, you either have it or you don’t. You can have all the knowledge in the world, but if you can’t manage a classroom or have a personality, you will be an awful teacher—there is not a class out there you can take to change that, just like there is not one class out there that can get me to find a use for mathematics. I see myself teaching my CCD students, giving lectures, or even teaching a lesson or two at the high school every few months, and I see how close I am, and yet how far, all at the same time. It is highly frustrating, made even more so when the teacher I was observing with said to me, after I just finished teaching a lesson on the JFK assassination, “You don’t need me. You’re ready for this.” Well, I appreciate the comment, truly, it made me feel really good about myself, until I thought about all the money and time I will be wasting taking classes that are not even going to prepare me for my career.
There are certain classes everyone needs to take, I am not trying to revolutionize college degree programs. Every student should have to take English, because every career involves writing or reading in some way. As for advanced English classes? Like a research-paper course, not everyone needs something like that, except history, journalism, and well lookee here, science majors, for lab reports. But as for math, only math and science majors should have to take it. Science, same way. Computer classes should be reserved for engineering and technology majors, because let’s face it, if you don’t know how to do simple applications on the computer by now, you may not be wanting a career. As for foreign languages? I cannot find one reason to take one other than personal enjoyment or a hobby—I cannot be bothered with trying to learn chemistry formulas, learn math for the liberal arts, and memorize past participles of Italian words I won’t speak ever again once I leave this class (the killer is, two semesters of a language are needed for transfer.)
The basic idea behind all of this is COMMON SENSE. Let people take classes that they NEED, classes that will be important for their future. Don’t make nonsense mandatory, because it only inflames people, like me, when they know they are being indirectly insulted to their faces. Things need to change, and badly. Maybe Governor Christie should take his witch-burning crusade out of the public schools and into the colleges; he may find himself infinitely times more busy, dealing with much more crap than he is now.