Choices and priorities skewed?
March 17, 2013
Something simply does not seem right. Do you feel the tension and angst that is permeating our lives?
For example, families and groups of school children plan for months on trips to our nation's capital, Washington, D.C. On everyone's list of "what to see" is the White House. It is unconscionable and seems so mean-spirited to suspend tours of America's house, the most prestigious address in the world, just as spring breaks and summer vacations are about to begin. Following that announcement came the one that delays the opening of Yosemite National Park. Why do this to the taxpaying public that funds this government gone bonkers? There's more to come because President Obama said, "I want the people to feel the pain." Why?
Sequestration, President Obama's idea, is being manipulated to hurt and malign the plans of thousands upon thousands of people. What seriously adds insult to injury is the flamboyance of watching both the president and the first lady taking golf and ski vacations, respectively, on Air Force One. Why not sequester the use of this aircraft or limit its use to emergencies only? We are one people. The president and Congress are thumbing their noses with their actions or lack of them. Both branches of our government regard "We, the People" as peons, underlings that are constantly victims of pilfering by our government. Congress should not be in recess so often; pay should be suspended for those failing to do the duty they swore to do under oath, a solemn promise.
We listened for a whole week of "doomsday prophesies" of what would happen if "Sequestration" was not stopped. It was not stopped. The most poignant comment I heard was the reminder that just a short time before Sequestration, working Americans had a 2 percent cut to their incomes. We all acquiesced and the sky did not fall. Nothing changed dramatically (except suspension of White House tours) when Sequestration went into effect. To me that is indicative of a credibility problem.
Since then a number of generous Americans suggested a "bail out" to the suspended White House tours by offering to pay for them through the White House. How unprecedented is that? If the use of Air Force One was limited, the tours still would be in operation.
The annoying thing that upsets me is the punishment of children for very petty offenses. I was at a restaurant the other day enjoying dinner when the man in the group across the room said, "What is wrong with these schools?" I overheard his words. He talked about the news of expelling kindergarteners and first-graders for the clothes they wear or the things they bring to "Show and Tell." He went on about a young boy being expelled for bringing an air gun to school. Part of the motivation from his parents is likely a protest to the challenges to the Second Amendment. This man went on saying, "Why don't they get as zealous about teaching kids to read and respect each other?" I thought the same thing listening to his story. On a daily basis I hear about power plays in schools that destroy the motivation to go to school or participate in activities sponsored by the school or other organizations. Pettiness strains relations between students, parents, and teachers. Often as a tutor I advised parents and teachers to listen to the ideas their children/students suggest. I do not condone the vandalism at Carson Middle School, but the reason for the act the perpetrator told police, is similar to complaints I hear from students often. Most feel they are being cheated out of an education.
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The federal government should be the gold standard of operation. Cities and states theoretically should want to model their domains in a similar fashion. Yet, our checks and balance system is at best, fuzzy. The Constitution and Rule of Law are ignored; the result is a failing, dependent society that sees no end to the madness. Most of our governments are in enormous debt, but keep spending and think nothing of increasing taxes.
It is time to demand serious accountability, transparency, credibility and commitment to solving our serious spending problems. Every day we learn of some other exorbitant overspending or fraudulent use of tax dollars. We must stop the pervasive, "Oh, well, we messed up again" attitude. Do you agree?
Ann Bednarski of Carson City is a career educator and journalist.