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Tag Archives | Wisconsin

The Emperor’s New Clothes

Wisconsin’s Governor Walker claims that “we can no longer live in a society where the public employees are the haves and the taxpayers who foot the bills are the have-nots.”

Congressman Pence from New Jersey thinks that there are two kinds of rape: forcible rape and then just plain ol’rape. [whoops, that’s Congressman Smith from NJ who wanted the “forcible rape” language. Pence is the Congressman who, along with Congressman Boehner, thinks Planned Parenthood is a waste of money. Thanks Mom, for pointing out my mistakes. Lovingly, of course]

Congressman Boehner thinks that the $75 million dollars in the federal budget for Planned Parenthood should be axed in order to help balance the budget.

Teachers are being blamed for living too high on the hog, given that they only work nine months out of the year.

People still think that Obama is a Muslim and Rush Limbaugh thinks that Michelle Obama isn’t in good shape because she doesn’t look like a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model.

What the fuck is going on?  Is black suddenly white? Is the sky green? Am I suddenly a rich and famous novelist but no one told me? Does this mean I can stop preparing for class and just walk into my classroom on Monday morning and spout bullshit for 75 minutes to my captive audience of college sophomores?

Has everyone in the country forgotten the teachers they loved? Doesn’t anyone remember that public employees also pay taxes? Does anyone know a woman who has been raped who would define her experience as anything other than “forced?” Does anyone think that $75 million is going to solve the country’s budget problems? Does anyone know a woman (or hell, a man) who wouldn’t kill to have Michelle Obama’s sinewy arms? No tricep jiggle on that lady, Rush–can we say the same of you?

I swear it’s like we’re living in a national version of “The Emperor Has No Clothes,” with the Republicans playing the roles of the crafty con men who pretend to be tailors in order to bilk the foolish emperor of his fortune.  They tell the Emperor they’ve brought him beautiful, very special cloth, which is invisible to anyone who is incompetent or unfit for his job.  They show him silks and satins, ruffles and sashes, and pretend to create an elaborate new suit for him.  The Emperor doesn’t want to be taken for a fool and no one wants to insult the Emperor by contradicting him, so everyone goes along with the fraud.  When the outfit is “done,” the Emperor and his entire retinue parade through the streets of the city so the Emperor can show off his new finery.

The country is being draped in invisible cloth and we’re being told that it’s beautiful cloth, magical cost-cutting cloth, cloth that’s going to make us all healthy and domestic and virtuous and abortion-free and rid us of those pesky money-sucking employees who are slowly sucking our life’s blood. So I guess this cloth is leech-resistant, too.

And then when the country has been fully draped in this Tea Bagged cloth, we parade around in our new finery and the world will laugh at us:  stripped of our ability to educate our children, stripped of reproductive freedoms, unable to insure ourselves, unable to walk into a public space (or hell, even a classroom) without fear of being surrounded by people carrying concealed weapons.

Is our country really going to keep listening to–and believing–these purveyors of fraud, who would have us believe that it’s teachers, postal workers, and firemen who are the crux of our budget problems, and not bazillionaires like the Koch brothers, whose gold-plated fingers are in way too many pies?

At the end of the tale, a little boy steps out of the crowd and says to the Emperor, “you’re not wearing any clothes!”

But the Emperor is too proud to admit he made a mistake and marches on, his fat ass swinging in the breeze.

So what’s it going to be, folks? The little boy yelling the truth or the bare-assed Emperor?

I think this is one instance where it’s good not to be king.

image from The World’s Fairy Tales, Harrap, London.

Continue Reading · on March 5, 2011 in Education, Feminism, Politics

The First-Year Teaching Blues

My first job out of college was as a waitress, at Serendipity 3 in Boston’s Fanueil Hall. I didn’t know it then, but I was training for parenthood: learning to juggle the needs of many people, all of whom thought they took priority.  Primary difference between waitressing and parenting? Mostly my kids aren’t drunk when I serve them dinner.

I waitressed all summer after graduation because I hadn’t gotten a high-school teaching job. I’d done my student teaching, gotten my certification, sent out job letters, gone on interviews. I’d hoped to get a job where I’d done my student teaching but they’d hired someone with more experience.  And then the Friday before Labor Day weekend, the superintendent’s office called me, offered me a job, and told me to show up for the first day of school.

I had to be there at 7:30; school started at 8:00. That first year, I taught six sections of five different classes, which meant I saw about 125 kids a day, five days a week, The kids were done about 2:40, we had to stay until a little after 3:00.  The school was in a small suburb of Boston, about a 40 minute drive, depending on traffic and how hard I was crying.  I cried every day.

I cried because I was twenty-two and trying to teach kids who weren’t that much younger than I was. On my second or third day, a kid raised his hand and asked me how old I was. Like an idiot I told him and he slouched back in his seat. “I pahtay with people oldah than you,” he drawled (it was Massachusetts, after all. They all had wicked bad accents).

I cried because on my first day a student who I’d met when I was student teaching had raised her hand in response to the very first question I’d asked as a Real Teacher. I had called on her, ready to start shining the beacon of learning into her mind. “Did you color your hair? It’s kind of purple,” she asked. Continue Reading →

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Continue Reading · on March 4, 2011 in Education, NaBloPoMo, Politics

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