Friday, June 25, 2010

Dear Democrats,

In 2006 and 2008 my students and I were excited for you. George Bush turned out to be a failure in all things, including education. As a result, teachers and young adults backed you, the Democrats, assisting in your ascendancy in the House and Presidency.

However, its not like you earned it. During Bush's tenure you voted for tax cuts to the wealthy, No Child Left Behind, the Patriot Act, and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. We were fed up though, and you promised change. In 2006, you captured the House. You laid low. Obama captured the hope of my students, and myself. Ever since, we have been breathlessly awaiting change. That is why you were elected, and that is what you have not done.

In education, you have championed Race to the Top. A thinly veiled attack on teacher unions and tenure. You wrapped your program around "reform" and "accountability." It is terribly ironic that you are unable to demonstrate either of those yourself. You have been unaccountable to those that put you in office, and you have reformed nothing. Race to the Top turns states into prostitutes, whoring themselves out for a one time lump sum. How does that bring long-term reform and change?

In health care, you gave insurance corporations over 30 million new customers. The cost controls you put in were mediocre at best, giving big Pharma and HMOs the ability to plunder the peoples bank accounts, and restrict consumer spending. How can I support our consumer economy when 19% of my income goes towards unused insurance. Most of my students are on free and reduced lunch, how can low income families afford a health care mandate? Who's interests have you been looking out for, the corporations, or our people? Now that our corporate citizens are free to spend at will (Citizens United v FCC) I expect more of the same: no accountability, no reform.

Your stimulus was a joke to everybody but road construction workers. Big banks and too big to fail live on. Glass-Steagall is still gone, banks continue to make record profits, derivatives reform is dead, and CEOs continue to have golden parachutes. Meanwhile in the Congress, the unemployed are losing their assistance because the Democrats are too weak to make a stand and demand Republicans fillibuster on TV. I thought that making a Republican defend pushing the poor off welfare in a time like this would be politically advantageous (see Jim Bunning). Are you really that dumb? All of your "reforms" remind me of the 1890 Sherman Antitrust Act. Small reforms designed to get the people to believe the status quo has changed, when in reality nothing has. Big corporations backed the Sherman Antitrust Act, and they back current proposals. It concerns us, shouldn't that concern you?

BP continues to pollute, and greenhouse gas emissions are uncontrolled. The lesser of two evils defines you well. A broken clock is still right twice a day, but that doesn't mean you're getting my vote anymore. You could have reformed, created a dominant Democratic Party for decades, and brought our country back from the brink of irrelevance. Your base of low income and middle class voters, minorities, and teachers are fed up with your inaction. I see through your smoke and mirrors. You demand accountability from others but cannot reform yourself. Its not me, its you. Goodbye. See you in November.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Power Off

Teaching takes over your life. You work long, think about it at home, and work over break. It is a never ending burden or blessing, depending on your mood. I had a fantastic year, and I hope next is even better. Every break from school is different, and it takes you different amounts of time to fully embrace that vacation. If I forget about teaching, I'm on vacation. Sometimes that never happens during winter or spring breaks. For this summer, it took 3 weeks. Now I have 5 off.