Too Close to the Madness

I am sure that one of the most appealing aspects of being a teacher to those who are not is having the summer off.  As a teacher I will say that it is both a blessing and a curse, at least for me and at least it has been this first summer spent as a teacher on break.

A break is definitely necessary to recharge the batteries and get ready for a new school year.  But I am also the type that likes having things to do and is easily bored.  Having this blog helps cut against that and in fact, the blog was started last summer when I was unemployed and going “crazy”.  The problem with having all this free time and choosing to blog about the topics I write about is that I read a lot of news that is frustrating and depressing.  The bulk of my Google Reader time is spent reading political blogs and news articles which, given the times, are not very cheery. News is not inherently discouraging, it just seems that way because most of what is reported is negative. And of course, the political climate today gives way to increasing frustration, which is prompting one side (Republicans and conservatives) to get mobilized for November and the other side to stay home (another topic for another time).

All this is to say that the school year is approaching and I start in-service next week, and it could not come at a better time.  The other night I could not sleep because I was thinking about how illogical it is for so many “middle and working class” people to vote against their economic interests by casting a vote for the Republican party while they cling to their entitlements, complain about unemployment and the economy (the Bush tax cuts are not going to get you a new job!), and advocate for tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans, thereby adding to the deficit and keeping their incomes stagnant (yet another topic for another time).

The point is that I spend so much time thinking about these kinds of issues because I have the time to do so. Being as wrapped up in politics and government as I am is really a niche thing.  Most people do not take the time to get so heavily invested or informed and it is understandable. I am not judging. So it is somewhat unfair of me to expect the people I referred to in the previous paragraph to fully understand the weight of their choices.  And in no way am I implying that a vote for Democrats is the “right” thing to do. I am just saying that politics can be an ugly business and because of the real-world consequences that result from the votes we cast and the policies that our elected leaders push on us, things can get heavy if you follow this stuff closely.

As “mad” as following our government can make me at times, I never think about how nice it would be to not care so much about it.  I honestly would not want it any other way.  I think it is very important and it does matter and that is why I do what I do, read what I read, and think what I think. Maybe politics does not really matter at all and I am wasting my time thinking about it and writing about it here.  I know some people feel that way and I get it. But to those people I would say that, if you feel that way because you think nothing we can do matters, that things will be FUBAR no matter what, it is precisely that thinking that makes change difficult and it is what the powers that be want us to feel. It keeps them rich and able to do whatever they hell they want (looking at you corporate America, the real power in Washington).

And arguably, this blog is a waste of time because not too many people read it, but for me, it is a place where I can vent about the things that concern me and for that, I am very grateful to have it.  However, what matters more to me is being an educator. So when I get back to doing what I love and what I am actually paid to do (teaching, in case you are having trouble following along), the activity on this blog will decrease. But I like knowing The Mess will always be there for me, waiting for the next sweet release of ranting and raving. After all, the blog and the purpose behind it have not pushed me to the brink of madness, they have helped steer me away from it.

(Note: The author is not really crazy nor on the verge of such.  The terms “crazy” and “madness” are used for dramatic flair, and probably too loosely.)

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