Teachers: America’s Enemies

I just saw the clip below featuring Sarah Palin talking to a critic in Alaska and I am overwhelmed.  Forget the incredibly moronic things Palin says in the clip, which is nothing new from the woman who continues to butcher the English language, but it is her eye-roll at the 1:10 mark at the critic’s statement that she is a teacher that really gets me. Check it out:

Her antics would be humorous if she were not looked at as a serious political force and a role-model for so many.  That a person in this country would be so adored despite showing contempt for intelligence and now, apparently, teachers, is astounding! Last time I checked, teachers were not getting paid much to do a public service that is demanding but ultimately, vital to our society. I know our education infrastructure is damaged, but maybe it is because when times get tough education is one of the first places we look to for budget cuts when we should be investing more in education (for an analysis of educational spending, read this, but note that I, like its authors, know it takes more than just money to fix the system). And remember, our public schools are open to any child of any learning ability of any sex, race, income level, religion or whatever, and many of our parents could not afford private schools so privatization alone would not work.

And I know I may appear biased as a teacher, but even if I were not a teacher, I would say the same thing.  But honestly, how can any reasonable person have contempt for someone because they are a teacher?

But Palin is just the latest far-right conservative to do what the most conservative of the Republican party have been successfully doing now for a generation: demonizing educated people as being somehow out of touch with “real Americans”. But who is the one out of touch?

One one side you have Sarah Palin: She quit her job as governor to write books, earn $100k+ to speak in public, criticize our President (imagine if he quit to do what Palin is doing) via twitter and Facebook, and have a segment on Fox News and now a reality show, all of which have made her a multi-millionaire. On the other side you have the teacher: Even in Alaska where teacher salaries are higher than in most states, she does not make in a year what Palin makes for one speaking engagement (in the video you notice she says she has other jobs, too; do you think Palin can relate to that?), she actually has to work for a living to make her money and she does not have cameras following her around to help fatten her wallet.

If you are still not sure who is out of touch, ask yourself this: Which of these stories more closely resembles your own? The only America Palin stands for is the one that believes that you can quit your job and shirk your responsibilities and still make it rich, or that you can make it rich by appearing on a reality TV show so you do not have to be a contributing member of society.  There is definitely a feeling in this country that this is a way to go, and this is the path Palin has chosen. Get rich while not really trying.

Ironically, she pretends to speak for the rest of us that have to work hard to make it, that struggle to pay for health care costs and gas, food, electricity, etc., that at any moment could find ourselves in serious financial straits if we lost our job. If you have ever been on a reality TV show or are filthy rich, by all means, Sarah Palin is your “average Jane”.  For me, I will take the teacher, the auto worker, the social worker, the fry cooks, waiters, bartenders, baristas, sales persons, etc., who bust their ass to make a living and get less and less to show for it, while the wealthiest people (like Palin) keep raking in the cash.

What is worse is that so many of “us” buy into Palin’s bullshit story. She has crafted this bullshit narrative (and she probably knows it, too) to appear as a representative of the common man or woman, the “mamma grizzlies” and such, and yet, it is a farce that is getting her rich.  Why do we not know better than to believe in this charlatan?  Maybe it is because we do not value education as we once did and are now to dumb to know when we are getting duped.

Anyway, if Palin and the most extreme conservatives had their way, there would be no public schools, free lunches, or anything like that because there would be no government, or at least, no real functioning one. If you want a glimpse of what this country might look like without hard-working, dedicated teachers and a functioning government, take a look at this:

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