What Civilization Does Not Need
The other day I mentioned something about teachers being job creators and firefighters being a sign of civilization; then Mitt Romney gaffingly disagreed. While right wing commentators puff themselves up with synthetic outrage over the notion of class warfare, it is difficult to see conservative intentions to dismantle the social infrastructure as anything but. The American public school system made the triumphs of the 20th Century possible because it nurtures and supports the middle class; it is one of the institutions that makes the American Dream attainable. There will always be private education, just as there has been back to Socrates and before. The wealthy will be able to send their children to exclusive academies and hire the finest tutors, and there is nothing wrong with this; it is one of the privileges of wealth.
The problem is that private education cannot replace public education any more than a private security firm can replace a police force; this is not to say that these things cannot be done but that the results would be quickly disastrous. As it is, cutbacks to social programs are already having tragic results; it could be argued that any number of recent horrific incidents are a result of a lack of resources for people on the edge. Private schools aren’t legally obligated to accept children with disabilities or emotional problems, nor are they equipped to deal with children from extremely dysfunctional families. Again, there is nothing wrong with this, but if the public school system is largely replaced by under-regulated charter schools and private academies there will be terrible consequences, and things are already bad.
The Bush Cabal, with the lockstep agreement of Republicans and very little help from Democrats, were able to erase a budgetary surplus, replace it with a deficit, and enacted fiscal policies that obliterated %40 of middle class American’s wealth while making themselves even wealthier. Republican apologists without shame blame the recession on minority families rather than policies of deregulation and manipulation of the tax code, which is where it squarely rests (No citation needed for stating the obvious). The very real economic burden of these terrible decisions is now falling on the most vulnerable and voiceless members of our society. Which means that further cutting of the funding for public education and emergency services is a monstrous idea.
The money the middle and lower classes lost was not burned in a furnace or buried by pirates; it rests comfortably in the coffers of corporations. These corporations, or ‘people’, as Mr Romney thinks of them, have done very well while the rest of us have not; but then, nobody wants to hear sob stories about poor people, even when they are us. The money for the rebuilding of our infrastructure, the care of our sick and elderly loved ones, and the education of our children is clutched in the inhuman hands of these entities, and yet the media mouthpieces of these creatures tells us that it is the greedy teachers and firefighters who are responsible for the economic wasteland before us. So ask yourself, what does civilization need? Teachers and firefighters, or corporate ‘people’. The answer says everything about who you are.