Skip to main content

Homegrown Democrat

Yesterday I picked up Garrison Keillor's Homegrown Democrat and haven't stopped listening (audio book). The book is delivered in same practical manner as The Prairie Home Companion and seems to cut through all the jargon and rage that fills the airwaves these days on both sides. Obviously, it doesn't make the President out to be anything wholly positive - Keillor's politics are well known.

He talks a lot about public education, equality and practical matters of daily life. In describing his own schooling, Keillor describes the benefits of having an education that is neither private nor exclusionary. The bank president's kids going to school with the son of the local pig farmer (although maybe not so close in proximity) and realizing that those people are standing next to you in class, just as they will be standing next to you at your job. A college degree that could be obtained by working a low wage job, not tens of thousands of dollars in the form of "loans."

Although a lot of it is remembrances of days gone by, it also harkens* to a lifestyle that I believe many people want to achieve. Happy, safe and full of love. The question isn't how to obtain it, it's do you understand how your actions affect it? Can you really claim to be a Compassionate Conservative if you're willing send $1000 to the Republican party, but scream at a homeless person for daring to ask for a quarter? Or for that matter, work 60-70 hours a week to get that extra $1000 while your child sits in day-care that entire time? Is the government being too intrusive when they say "don't build on a flood plain?" Because we know that you'll be screaming for gov't $$ when the flood washes the house away (and "you couldn't afford flood insurance"). Are the taxes really that high when you're watching a loved one slip away while waiting for the ambulance?

I am in no way saying that government is perfect - it's not. It seems to me though, that a lot of people act in their own best interest for the short term without bothering to thinking about the consequences. People love to complain about the quality of streets in Spokane, but no one wants to pay for new ones. They'd rather give the short-shrift to the police and fire departments and then complain about the level of crime or sue when a loved one dies. They will simultaneously complain about bad traffic and empty public busses (and how only the lowly would do ride anyways) without the idea of one day a week taking that bus to reduce the traffic for others.

As they used to say, the chickens have come home to roost, but no one is hearing the cackle.

Anyways, I highly recommend the book.


*I can't believe I used harken in a sentence


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Research Based

One the biggest problems I face in working with reading intervention students is the curriculum. Or rather that lack thereof… As a part of the whole Response to Intervention (RTI) process, the only resources we are allowed to use are ones that are research based. Ones with lots of research behind them, showing that they worked on x number of students and raised their reading level by y points in z amount of time. Or that they monitor progress for x students, showing improvement based upon y test. I’d say it’s really boring, but if you’re in the business, it’s a little interesting. It is, however, not like reading anecdotal evidence. Anecdotal evidence is very interesting. It’s a story of how program x worked for teacher y and all the students became voracious readers. There’s a plot! Conflict! Possibly even movie rights! Not a lot of numbers, but a lot of touching and heartwarming sentiment.For high schools students (NOT “secondary” – which in RTI land really means 7th graders), there…

College Advice

If you teach seniors, Saturday’s Dear Abby may have caught your eye. Students get the message throughout their high school years that all they have to do is get good grades and the world is their oyster. Then in the final semester of their senior year reality dumps on them like a brick wall in a earthquake zone.  They don’t get accepted to college of their choice; they can’t afford the college of their choice; scholarship applications are denied… the real world is not a helping hand up. It’s a harsh competition for diminishing resources.When confronted with a student whose dreams are… umm… altered… because of money, I try to point out the positive. “A large college may not be the right choice for you, but are you determined to get a college education? If so, I know that you can find like-minded students. I, too, attended a well known party school. It also had a strong Honors program, a multi-national student body and some of the most out there technology on the cusp of being widely kn…