I realize the State of the Union took place on Tuesday. This is Friday. Forgive me. I spent last night discussing presidential elections in the 1960s with a group that far surpasses my political knowledge; therefore, I spent the first portion of the week studying and reading.
Also, I realize that it's not couth to discuss politics. But I do. For me it's like discussing Eli Manning vs Tom Brady leading up to next weekend, Karl Malone vs Michael Jordan in the 90s (the mailman!), Michael Phelps vs world records. I lurve me some politics!
Furthermore, I realize it's not appropriate to pick one party and hammer the other party, unless you are FOX or MSNBC. But I do.
And finally, I understand you may disagree with my political thought process. And that's okay! In the political arena, I love a good debate. Hence the reason I have enjoyed the plethora of Republican Primary debates while simultaneously watching Gingrich blast every media personality. That is reality TV at its finest. So scooch on over Kim K. The presidential hopefuls are taking over television. Well, my television anyway.
If you know me, you could see how I would possibly lean farther right than left on the political grid. Albeit I am from Arkansas, as Cash would like to say "Clinton's state." So it's always a political saga when I hang out with my grandfather who is an old school Democrat. I would like to note, however, that I do admire the ambition of the Clintons. That does not cast me into the liberal arena, but coming from a state of such poverty and low education levels in the past I have to give kudos to the Mr. and Mrs. for their efforts in transforming their own lives and rising to the level of government in which they have found themselves the past few decades. Not to mention I really admire women who have that much influence nationally and internationally. No, not just Secretary Clinton, but she is respectable on that note.
Since I do have conservative viewpoints and seem rather stereotypical in that, I would like to also point out that I actually have thought behind what I believe. I didn't hear a preacher or good ol' boy say it was okay to vote Republican, therefore I do. I study and analyze politics. While it may seem rather "duh" to say I'm a right leaner, it did come from analysis, circumstances, and critique...which brings me to my rebuttal of President Obama's S of the U.
I took notes on my phone Tuesday night while watching the president, and I felt my pulse almost kill me over on occasion as it was vigorously pounding. I do not exaggerate.
On the other hand I do want to start off by saying I honor the fact that President Obama acknowledged and appreciated the Defense Secretary Leon Panetta as the president made his way to his podium. The Navy SEALs and all of our special forces work in conditions and endure trials that we could never imagine. Never. So I do thank the president for recognizing Secretary Panetta and the team of SEALs responsible for bringing liberty to a fellow American.
It's hard to limit a rebuttal when the State of the Union concerned every topic in America at this moment. I will try. Just bear with me.
President Obama talked of teachers being laid off. False. A huge need for teachers in America actually exists. Being in this field I understand why so many people in my generation forego this occupation; and many who do finish college with this degree stray away within 5 years. The number is right around 50% in fact, because this isn't the education system you and I grew up with, folks. That's a different debate.
He wants to determine who is a good teacher and lay off the ones who aren't. I have an idea for getting good teachers: pay them more and allow their profession to be seen as respectable again. Otherwise you will NOT receive the best and brightest from the universities. Bottom Line. Furthermore, we need competition in education. True. But blaming the teachers seems to be the way so many want to turn. As an educator I feel blamed by the government for everything a kid could possibly do wrong. Forget the 80% of my students who passed their state test last year being advanced or proficient, forget the ones who come back and tell me how much my Social Studies class changed their thinking, forget the countless hours I spend just talking to kids about life. (And I would say most educators are the same way.) What happens is that a few kids don't want to change, they refuse to do their own work, they are allowed to rule their homes and people around them. They bring down the majority, and thus the teacher is responsible. It's quite disheartening to hear politicians speak of what needs to change in our education system.
So what needs to be changed? Without saying "pert near everything" one big answer sticks out to me: student responsibility. Teachers have college degrees and are professional adults. Students are merely children who need to learn. If you weighed who might be more likely to do their part of the task, I would say the professional teacher. So get off their backs and instead support them; make the students responsible for themselves. (I know what many will say--I hear about a teacher in the news, yada yada yada. How many banks are in the news for failure? Plenty. Yet we still have some GREAT financial institutions which people use daily..DAILY. How many politicians have been in the news for corruption? Plenty. Yet we still vote for politicians and allow them to run our country. Same for teachers.)
Basically, if we have a law stating no dropout, which is what President Obama called for, I would venture to say we would see more failure as teachers would be expected to concentrate on those few who choose on their own to fail; thus more teachers would find different occupations. I've had students look me square in the eyeballs and say, "No. I don't want to." I'm left trying to coax them into doing an assignment when I have 25 other students vigorously working and wanting to learn yet receive little attention, because under federal mandate I have to make sure no student gets left behind. Quit trying to raise the bar for teachers. Quit trying not to leave anyone behind. Some want to be left behind. Leave them there, or we will all be drug back. Yes, I said it.
And for crying outloud quit comparing our education system with the rest of the world unless we are willing to make ours like the rest of the world. Germany: By about 5th grade students are classified into 1 of 3 variations of schools depending on teacher recommendation of student ability. They are geared towards vocational work or an path to a university. We can't compare ourselves to that. We are teaching the brightest with students who have no desire to even learn. Also, we don't count teacher recommendation for much. Yet we want to compete with places like Germany and South Korea on an international basis and scratch our heads while asking, "What are they doing we aren't?"
Newt Gingrich said a few weeks ago in a debate he would like to see people receiving adult education while being laid off verses sitting at home receiving a check. I thought it was brilliant. When President Obama started speaking of a similar circumstance Tuesday, I thought, "Now that's something I can agree with." Yet he took it to an extreme saying he wanted it all in one place, only one company in charge (the government), and no competition. Competition in education yields success just like competition in business. To have companies get better and better, they need to be motivated by competition. Look at the model of Phoenix. Their city government allows for competition, even among city work such as sanitation. They have become the epitome of success in city government. Why? Because competition within their city and even government work has allowed for satisfied customers and brilliantly ran companies.
The president also claimed we see college as a luxury and not everyone can go. 2 problems with this. 1. It's unfortunate that so much debt is accumulated in college. However, I think it's pretty simple to receive a scholarship or work (what a thought) or even receive a loan. It's not for the rich and famous. 2. Not everyone needs to go to college. We have many great jobs out there for those with a high school diploma. Welders, electricians, plumbers...they don't need college to have a wonderful job. And the world doesn't need all business majors and no custodians. We need all professions, not just those with college degrees.
Furthermore, President Obama claimed that he has strengthened the border on the Mexico line. This does not correlate what the governors from Texas or Arizona are saying. In fact Governor Brewer and President Obama were seen exchanging some pretty heated words on the tarmac in Phoenix Wednesday. Governor Brewer has seen her state get sued by the federal government for laws on immigration. Don't sit and bluff about your strong immigration laws, Mr. President.
On a different note he praised Steve Jobs and the success of Apple. At the same time he discussed creating more jobs in America. Want more jobs in America? Don't do what Jobs and Apple did, employ approximately 20,000 people overseas. While I personally think competition is great and Apple is a very successful company, I also think it's outlandish for the president to claim he wants more jobs created in America yet praises an American company which sends 20,000 jobs overseas. Quite frankly I feel it was a pity statement for the sadness the Jobs family endured this year and used as a propaganda move. I am reverent to their sorrowful time, but I loathe that the president thrust it into the political arena. Steve Jobs didn't even like President Obama.
For the highly debated focus on energy, the president appointed Steven Chu as Secretary of Energy. While I have nothing against Mr. Chu personally, he is noted for his claims of global warming. Environmentalists are in a fire storm against oil companies because of clean air and water. Whether these companies provide that clean air and water is not what I'm trying to debate here. The simple point I want to prove is that these same environmentalists don't mind buying foreign oil which is under little to no restrictions like our American oil companies are. Basically, we are diminishing hope for American energy independence and uplifting these foreign companies all while saying we want a clean environment and American jobs. Just a thought...but if Iran melts the polar ice caps through their energy efforts (if that's really what causes global warming), then it won't matter what American companies did to prevent global warming. We share the same polar ice caps, atmosphere, and ozone.
In the year I have spent learning about the oil industry, I a) don't believe they are making a wretched environment nor b) receive subsidies in excess. It takes subsidies to make it economical to drill, therefore make prices the average consumer can afford. For those who argue getting away from petroleum, I will explain what I've learned over the past year. It doesn't matter if it's wind energy, electricity, whatever--you have to have petroleum to support these alternate forms. Petroleum drives all sources of energy. Let's say they do invent this amazing vehicle that can somehow go 500 miles on an electrical charge. You still need petroleum to help produce the electricity. We won't get away from petroleum; we need to support the companies who invest in it.
And, oh, the president bragged on past creations such as the Hoover Dam. I am no genius, that has been made obvious. However, I would like to point out that a president who runs to environmentalists for blockading such things as an oil pipeline would not have gotten support from those same environmentalists for such a massive project as the Hoover Dam. I just wanted to point out that form of bigotry.
If you're still with me here I know you've just invested time out of your life that you will never get back again. And you invested that time into listening about my personal rebuttal of our president's State of the Union. It's glamorous in America, isn't it? That I can blog about the highest office in our country without getting thrown in jail?
Still yet...while I disagree with so many propositions and ideals of this administration, I do want to point out that I highly respect the office of Mr. Obama. I appreciate his efforts in making a better America. While we disagree on how that should be done, I am grateful for his tenacity in striving for what he truly believes is best.
But wouldn't it be nice if we all really did bleed red?