Couldn’t Have Said It Better Myself…

Yesterday brought news of a recent poll in which a majority of Republicans blamed universities for taking the  nation in the “wrong direction.”

Think about that.

I don’t know Henry Giroux, but his recent article in Salon was what we used to call a barn-burner, and it provides a context for that sorry and depressing poll result. It began:

Donald Trump’s ascendancy in American politics has made visible a plague of deep-seated civic illiteracy, a corrupt political system and a contempt for reason that has been decades in the making. It also points to the withering of civic attachments, the undoing of civic culture, the decline of public life and the erosion of any sense of shared citizenship.

After cataloging the serious social schisms manifested in Trump’s campaign and victory, Giroux gets down to the question most rational Americans have been asking since November 9th: how did we get here?

What forces have allowed education, if not reason itself, to be undermined as crucial public and political resources, capable of producing the formative culture and critical citizens that could have prevented such a catastrophe from happening in an alleged democracy? We get a glimpse of this failure of education, public values and civic literacy in the willingness and success of the Trump administration to empty language of any meaning, a practice that constitutes a flight from historical memory, ethics, justice and social responsibility….

In this instance, George Orwell’s famous maxim from “Nineteen Eighty-four,” “Ignorance is Strength,” materializes in the administration’s weaponized attempt not only to rewrite history but also to obliterate it. What we are witnessing is not simply a political project but also a reworking of the very meaning of education as both a crucial institution and a democratizing and empowering cultural force.

Giroux reports that two-thirds of Americans believe that creationism should be taught in schools and that a majority of Congressional Republicans believe either that climate change is not caused by human activity or that it is non-existent.

The article goes on to detail the assault on education and educational institutions, and it is well worth reading in its entirety. His analysis of Betsy DeVos particularly resonated with me.

On a policy level, the Trump administration has turned its back on schools as public goods. How else to explain the president’s appointment of Betsy DeVos as secretary of education? DeVos, who has spent most of her career attempting to privatize public schools while acting as a champion for charter schools. It gets worse: As a religious Christian extremist, DeVos not only supports religious indoctrination in public schools but has gone so far as to argue that the purpose of public education is “to help advance God’s Kingdom.” Not exactly a policy that supports critical thinking, dialogue or analytical reasoning, or that understands schooling as a public good.

Giroux insists that the rampant illiteracy of our politics has been intentionally fostered, that the “dumbing down” of America prevents us from acting from what he calls a “position of thoughtfulness, informed judgment, and critical agency.” Even a cursory survey of the political landscape lends credibility to his argument.

Here are my own questions: when and how did this happen? when did scholarship and expertise become signs of a despised elitism? When did America’s longstanding admiration for “the best and the brightest” turn to scorn?

And what are we going to do about it?

 

39 thoughts on “Couldn’t Have Said It Better Myself…

  1. Far from having any actual answers, I have at least some suspicions. Television, aka the idiot box, began as a fascination but became a constant companion. From it we learned that we needed and deserved more, better, newer, sexier objects, that father knew best, and Lassie was adequate childcare. The world as portrayed on screen was a generally calm and safe place, where one told the truth, doctors wore white, and Jacque Cousteau took us on underwater adventures. There were guns, but most were in the Wild West. Gradually, however, what was broadcast came to be controlled by fewer forces, as power became concentrated among a few corporations. If one follows the family trees of our food chain, tobacco companies, and entertainment industries, the consolidation is frightening, and the power these conglamoratuons hold is astounding. I propose that ‘mind control’ has been achieved, for instance, in the area of nutrition. McDonalds is our kind of place, and Olive Garden with it’s endless breadsticks is a destination. Or stay home and zap a frozen dinner from ConAgra which Dow, Monsanto and the Koch brothers’ oil made convenient. But I digress. Don’t get me started on all the pills we need.

  2. Looking back on the years of my life I can see numerous changes in the culture that got us to this point. Underlying all of them has been one factor… greed. And a new rational for all behavior has emerged, namely, “If you can make money doing it, it must be OK.”

    The majority of Americans believe this is a Christian country. No it is not! The god we worship is the almighty dollar and our religion is capitalism.

    IMO we are not GOING to fall, we ARE falling and now damn near the bottom.

  3. Mark Small, you are absolutely correct! That was the start of the belief that anything government is bad. DeVos and Pence are an example of the worst of the disciples of this philosophy. They and others like the GOP, the Mind Trust, Teach for America, Stand for Children, EdChoice (Friedman Foundation) and more want to completely destroy public education or at best reduce it to only basic training only for those of us that inhabit the lower economic sphere. These groups have been beating that drum louder and louder for over 30 years and now we have a poll that proves they are near their goal. I only hope this trend can be reversed.

  4. Conservatives recognized the opportunity to politicize education and make it a core value. Next step was to undermine local and state boards of education and grab their decision-making power. In the confusion they have created, they can fearlessly redirect tax money to any religious or for-profit school they please. And now that they control most of the state legislatures, there doesn’t seem to be any way to stop their quest.

    Liberals are on the sidelines watching.

  5. Frankly, I’m pretty pessimistic. How do we get back to having a polite and civic political existence? Well, my guess would be that everyone, at least an overwhelming majority of the citizens, admit that we’ve gone off the rails, that that started with Ronald Reagan, and has been re-enforced every single day of our lives since Fox News (cable/satellite) went on the air in 1996.
    As long as we believe lies, we are denied actual information. And we can’t function, let alone actually correct problems, as long as we’re operating with lies.

  6. When the middle class is diminishing, and most of the middle class is not college educated, it’s relatively easy to find and blame scapegoats who ARE college educated with dog whistle connotations about elites. Trump said he loves the under educated. Too bad he doesn’t love them enough to expand rather than cut educational opportunities or to provide them affordable health care or to reverse efforts to make the rich richer at the expense of the poor and middle class.

  7. Theresa Bowers; Henry Giroux’s first quoted paragraph took me back to your Kindle novel, “Lincoln County Stories” which painted in-depth characterizations of the rural mind-set in southern Indiana (and many other rural and urban areas) in the 1960’s. That was the “awakening period” of many in this country who began removing our “leaders” from their lofty positions and showing them to be as human as the rest of us, warts and all…and most had “feet of clay”.

    Looking back on my life as a typical 1950’s “barefoot and pregnant” housewife in racist-ridden New Whiteland, IN, it is amazing I had the fortitude to drag myself and my children from that mentally limited community and return to civilization in the big city of Indianapolis. No; it was not perfect but did give us a foothold on human realities and limitless opportunities for learning and being part of that reality. I even summoned up the courage to divorce the husband dragging me back down into racism and bigotry and refused the money my own father offered me to drop the divorce.

    I reached even higher for the realities of this country and learned my own lack of knowledge of civics growing up in a staunch Republican family by getting that job in City Government. I also learned that I had intelligence and capabilities beyond my self-imposed limitations. It began under Mayor Richard Lugar, continued throughout the 16 progressive years under Mayor Bill Hudnut where I learned my civic rights AND my responsibilities. I then watched the destruction under Goldsmith.

    “…Giroux gets down to the question most rational Americans have been asking since November 9th: how did we get here?”

    That is a question I have asked myself and others since November 9, 2016, and, no, “Couldn’t Have Said It Better Myself”. That question should be our watchwords, our slogan, our goal to find the answers and change the current outcome.

    Back to Theresa Bowers’ final comment: “IMO we are not GOING to fall, we ARE falling and now damn near the bottom.”

  8. As a basis of argument, I put forward that our fellow citizens were well steeped in the distrust of experts, professionals, and academics well before Trump came along and, behaving as an expert salesman, he simply capitalized on the existing mood of the country.

    If we wish to discover the base causes of the battle between the common man and the experts, we might be better served by revisiting our country’s founding where the individual’s liberty was held as a very good thing, still a very good thing but perhaps gone awry.

    Remembering the 1980’s television comedy, “Cheers”, I’m reminded of Cliff, the popular character who was a mail carrier and who was a regular at the bar where he held court each day and could be counted upon to dispense his ill-informed layperson opinions in a grandiose fashion, usually prefaced with “It’s a known fact”. At that time in the 1980’s, his know-it-all character was almost an endearing character simply because most of us knew at least one person who was a self-proclaimed know-it-all, an arbiter of all professional expertise, a common man who led us to believe he knew better than the experts. We laughed at Cliff, but today we can’t laugh at Cliff because there are more ‘Cliffs’ than ‘experts’.

    For sure, the advent of the Internet and of Facebook where anyone can locate any truth, any half-truth, or any flat-out lie, plays into this death of the experts. What to do about this situation, I have no clue, at least no professional, expert clue, as I’m a layperson.

  9. This scares me infinitely more than anything Trump can accomplish in his “short” term.

  10. The reasons are almost too numerous to mention, but one core reason is that the educational system was one of the first targets of the Koch Consortium of billlionaires, starting in the early 70s.

    The much more important question is the latter, “What are we going to do about it?” It would be a good thing to return to the “neighborhood school” model, where most of the kids can walk to school and so can their parents. Parent-teacher conferences would be easier to arrange. For younger children, hold the parents accountable for their attendance and thier homework. Then hold the children accountable when they get to middle school age, understanding that suspension is a vacation for many, not a punishment. Ban all zero tolerance policies, as they are only an example of stupidity in control.

    This has to happen in concert with efforts to make life better for those families whose parents now must work two or three jobs just to keep a roof over their families’ heads. Republicans will say that this is too expensive or that it’s not government’s job to do that. In reality it is too expensive NOT to do this and if this isn’t promoting the general welfare – a government job according to the preamble of our Constitution – I don’t know what is.

  11. This may not be a popular statement but colleges and universities have not done themselves any favors in this debate. They allowed themselves to become easy targets of criticism and ridicule. Now as someone who values the outputs of higher education, I don’t want this to be misconstrued as blaming one for side for all of the problems here. I just wished colleges and universities would stop loading some of the bullets in the guns that are being held to their heads. If they don’t get better organized in this debate, they will lose the funding and prestige they have long enjoyed in our culture. My fear is that they will be replaced with low cost on-line degree sites with content derived from Right-Wing News and mega-corporations.

  12. Hand wringing. Whining. Looking for root causes. Reminiscing. Don’t you get tired of doing nothing? What are you doing about it?
    Being Anti-Trump is fine. What are you doing to promote the good values in which you believe? Has your pride gone the way of your sex drive?
    I would like the daily comments on Shelia’s blog to reflect your efforts to make life better.
    In anticipation of your rejoinders: I write, I speak, I meet to enhance an understanding of our state and nation with facts and observations and minimal preaching. Didn’t one of us say something about in knowing the truth it will make you free?

  13. H. L. Mencken said it best, “On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”

  14. Morton, if you hold ‘the truth’ or hold the avenue for reaching ‘the truth’, then please share it. I have my idea of ‘the truth’ but I’m surely interested in hearing others’ ideas of ‘the truth’.

  15. TLentych; a recent news article stated Bloomington is the most expensive place to live in Indiana, it is the home of Indiana University. Poor students and poor parents with years of debt ahead. I was there on June 3rd for a wedding; that once beautiful, welcoming little town is now crammed and crowded with older homes and modern buildings towering over them, seemingly on all streets. Streets and sidewalks in poor condition; walking was difficult for my family and myself (I need a cane) because Bloomington is slightly hilly making the poor conditions more difficult to navigate. The cramming and crowding, plus some thickly landscaped areas offered blind spots and hiding places for criminal to wait for victims…and there are victims in that most expensive place to live in Indiana.

    As with all major colleges and universities in this country; sports teams and arenas and practice areas and uniforms and equipment and coaching staffs are part of the rising cost of “education”. I.U. has lost a couple of varsity coaches whose contracts required being paid in full prior to the end of the contracted time frame whether they were fired or “allowed” to retire. Bobby Knight’s contract alone was reported to have taken a few years to pay in full. High schools across the nation for years have passed on students barely literate to colleges and universities. Of course; not all education is failing but far too much is. And Trump and DeVos haven’t taken full hold and gone into action yet. Let the monkey trials begin.

  16. The people who blame universities and colleges for taking the country in “the wrong direction” are the same middle class, white, “christians” who want their children to have private education in religious schools paid for with tax dollars, no debt when they graduate, and a job, any job, that meets their child’s expectation that they will automatically be entitled to the lifestyle it took their parents’ whole working life to achieve. A job is the enticement, the scam is that they will likely not have the education to meet the changing marketplace needs in the future. The graduates wind up with a skill set preferred by the corporate world right now. When that skill set becomes obsolete in 10 years, they have no ability to foresee the needs of the future and no ability to adapt to the new reality. Anger and resentment at the bill of goods they bought will lead to revolt. It is a clear lesson repeated throughout history.

  17. Oh, Morton, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

    So you have been out there writing, speaking and meeting? Paid for that were you? Well, if you had an ounce of real experience with the masses instead of seeing it only from your viewpoint of the privileged, white male you might know that those on this blog you so belittle have in fact been out there giving to their country in one form or another during their entire lifetimes. We donate, we do speak out, we attend meetings, we organize, we protest, we call, we write and we vote. And no one pays us to do this.

  18. Theresa Bowers, please don’t dismiss Morton Marcus as an old white man, when in fact, he’s doing a rather admirable job of playing the Devil’s Advocate with a group of folks who just might be caught up in an echo chamber.

  19. BSH, Dismiss him? Really? Dismiss him? No, I condemn him and all his ilk. They have driven my country to this low level. They have overtly or by their silence allowed dishonesty to rule the land. Then they piously sit back and tell us not to complain and how WE need to do more. What bull!

  20. I don’t have any suggestions or answers so I just come to read and learn something that might help me understand this alternative universe that conservatives live in. Thanks Professor.

  21. Here’s a prediction. Morton Marcus will faint within the next two minutes. That’s because I’m making this declaration. “He’s right.” People learn better by witnessing examples; not just any examples; but good examples.

    And now all we have to do is find some good examples. Fake President Donald Trump is obviously not going to provide any good examples. So it’s up to the rest of us to find another example setter. I nominate Morton Marcus if he can just cut down on his giggling.

  22. Well, since only 25% of our high school graduates graduate from college/university, and since over half of those attending never finish college, I’d suggest that universities have little to do with the direction the country heads or how it votes. Add to that the idiocy of No Child Left Behind and its bastard stepchild, Race to the Top, and you have a study of wasted educational resources, time and substance that better reflects more on the citizens we churn out of our schools.

    Then there is the economic issues of smart kids too poor to go to college, or once in, are burdened with a 20 year debt from student loans. My point is that no one factor can answer the question about our national direction. When 92 million eligible voters stay home, maybe it’s because they ARE aware of the process that produces our candidates and can’t stand them.

  23. Republicans acted stupid and got elected. Pavlov’s dogs.

    America has the government that we deserve now thanks to our addiction to entertainment eminating from every living room, pocket and purse.

  24. Theresa Bowers,
    Before I boldly condemn a person and all those of their ilk (whatever that means), I at least bother to learn something about the person and something about that which they represent.

    Morton J. Marcus

    Director, Indiana Business Research Center, Kelley School of Business, Indiana University, Bloomington & Indianapolis

    PERSONAL INFORMATION: Born in Brooklyn, N.Y. (1938), he and his wife, Rebecca, live in Indianapolis with two dogs and two cats. They have three children and four grandchildren

    EDUCATION: A graduate of Roosevelt University in Chicago (1961), Mr. Marcus received that University’s Distinguished Alumni Award for Research and Scholarship in 1998. He also holds advanced degrees in economics from Washington University in St. Louis (1963) and the University of California in Los Angeles (1968).

    ACTIVITIES: Since 1970, Morton Marcus has taught economics for the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. His research on economic and population trends extends from communities in Indiana to the rapidly developing commercial centers of South East Asia. In 1985, he became the Director of the Indiana Business Research Center which monitors changes in the economy and population of Indiana and the Midwest.

    In 1997, Mr. Marcus published Tightrope to Tomorrow, a book of new ideas for financing public education in the U.S. His comments and opinions are published each week by more than 35 newspapers. His wit and energy have made him a frequent guest speaker for business and civic groups across the nation.

    COMMUNITY AFFILIATIONS: Morton Marcus serves on the board of directors of a community bank, an economic development corporation, and a not-for-profit education financing agency. He is also Indiana’s official liaison with the U.S. Bureau of the Census.

    CURRENT POSITIONS: Indiana University, Kelley School of Business Director, Indiana Business Research Center Co-director, Center for Econometric Model Research Lecturer, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy
    Community President, Indiana Secondary Market for Education Loans Board member, Citizens Bank of Central Indiana Board member, Bloomington Economic Development Corporation Governor’s liaison to the U.S. Bureau of the Census Syndicated newspaper columnist

    PAST POSITIONS: President, Indiana Academy of the Social Sciences President, Association for University Business and Economic Research (1997-98) President, Midwest Business Economics Association Chairman of the Board, Media Indiana Distinguished Fellow, Agency for Instructional Technology (1996) Resident faculty director, Indiana University program, Singapore (1991) Member, Indiana Commission on Health Care for the Working Poor Daily statewide radio commentator (1994-98) Strategic planning consultant to associations and corporations Economic analyst for TL Enterprises and RV Business Magazine

  25. BSH, Wow, what a distinguished career. Misses the point however, which is that privileged, white males need not look down on the rest of society and tell them to do more when life handed those special men one open door after another and slammed those same doors on everyone else.

  26. Somewhat tangential but let me offer a few corrections to the previously cited stats re: college attendance & graduation. According to the most recent data from the National Center for Education Statistics, 69% of high school graduates enroll in college the following fall–25% at a 2-year school, and 44% at a 4-year school.
    https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=51

    Some fraction of the 2-year attendees will eventually transfer to a 4-year school, and some other HS graduates will attend college after a few years of work, military service, etc.

    Among 4-year college beginners, 59% get a bachelor’s degree within 6 years (some after transferring to another school). This includes students who delayed college entry.
    https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=40

    Others take longer to graduate. Recent data suggest about 19% of those who didn’t delay college entry take more than 6 years to finish (including those who transfer from community colleges). If we assume half of that 19% started at a 4-year college and then put it all together, that suggests that about 30% of those who go straight from HS to a 4-year school will get a degree. Others will get to a degree after a delay, community college transfer, etc.
    https://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2014141 Table 3 in the PDF

    Now a bit more on topic–There’s a very long history of anti-intellectualism in American politics. But it has taken an aggressive, virulent, and strategic turn over the last few decades. I suspect that’s linked to debates over creationism and climate change, because the anti-science positions require wholesale rejection of scientific evidence, often accomplished by demonizing scientists. The last election cycle was special however: The Pew report shows a sharp negative turn in Republicans’ beliefs about higher education after 2015.

  27. While we argue about being dumb or smart or poor or privileged or bigoted there exists a shortage of labor in certain job categories. Thus I hear of certain areas where there are calls for increased quotas of labor to come from overseas (example: more visas for Chinese plumbers) to do the work we have not prepared ourselves to do. It is therefore not just “higher education” but our failure to put together apprenticeships for highly skilled labor jobs (such as they have done in Germany with its trade surplus in excess of that of China’s while our deficit leads the world by far) what with welders turning down $50 an hour jobs etc. Unions used to conduct such apprenticeships but unions are on the wane and management, apparently not satisfied with outsourcing of jobs, ia now clamoring for additional visas to bring foreign labor to our shores to do our jobs here as well as there. It’s all about profit, and to the devil with America and its future.

    Innovaters did not all come from MIT or California Poly. The Wright Brothers did not have advanced degrees in aerodynamics; they were bicycle repairmen. Ford and Edison were not PhDs, and even Gates did not finish out his Harvard education. There are smart people in history who never had any education, from Rasputin to an illiterate Charlemagne, and those who had very little, including Abraham Lincoln. Perhaps current villification of higher education would decrease if we included programs of vocational education as well as higher education in our appropriation packages and in doing so contribute to our skill and innovation subsets as well as our economy which is now junderperforming beset, as it is, with chronic wage inequality.

    Let’s appreciate and reward all labor fairly, from the maids in hotels to and through retail clerks, factory workers, and anyone else who works for a living. They live here, too, and whether educated or not, have the same hopes and aspirations for themselves and their posterity as the rest of us who may be educated and well to do. There is no room for elitism in a true democracy where we are all in this together free of class, race and other such artificial designations, and, I think, the current numbers Sheila has provided are not necessarily descriptive of a disdain of education but the elitism that comes from the arrogance of some of those educated, and I as a multi-degreed person agree with those who dislike such elitism and arrogance while I at the same time support expansion of both vocational and academic education if all working Americans and their posterity are to have even an opportunity to have a future. We are all in this indigenous mix together, like it or not, and we should act like it.

  28. We used to have good training in agriculture and “shop” in Texas. Ross Perot undid it. The ag students had double work periods where they went to ranches and learned appropriate skills for west Texas (working livestock). It helped the kids blend into the. Community and have marketable skills.
    I appreciate Perot wanting more academic training but it messed up the needed training for rural communities.

  29. When did it begin? It has always been there. I went to high school in the early 60s. My town, in CA was 18,000 people when I left for college. It was primarily a town that had grown as the area center for agriculture, while nearby towns stayed smaller. It was about an hour from the SF Bay Area. There was one high school for everyone, at that time, and the high school had about 3000 kids. So it was easy to see every economic and class level of that area reflected in my high school, from the children of transient agricultural workers, to the children of professionals or landowners, and everyone in between. There was a relatively small contingent of kids who went on to 4 year colleges. A slightly larger group went on to the local community college. The majority went to work. There were classes in car mechanics, metal shop, woodshop, home economics, “business english” and shorthand, which helped kids, who were chosen by the “advisors” to funnel into work, and some “college prep” classes in maths, English, Spanish, French. The school advisors at that time generally looked at what your parents did, before they put you into work, or college tracks. A system based on prejudice. The overwhelming public attitude of nearly everyone was: Don’t sound smart, if you want to be liked. If someone used a large vocabulary, or tried to explain something scientific, they were mocked by the illiterati, who were quick to cut someone down to size. The admired and popular kids had either managed to slide through all their classes with zero retention, or carefully pretended that they hadn’t learned anything. If you wanted to be liked, or accepted, or just not harassed, you practiced looking dumb. This was excellent preparation for adulthood, in many places, where the same social rules prevailed. The American scorn, suspicion, and resentment of any higher education that is not seen as immediately practical, is historically long standing, and pervasive. The flat earthers seem to be noisier and more demanding now, but it’s a difference in style, and not kind. I still remember how good it felt, after the first few days of college, when I put away the dumb blonde act for good, and engaged with so many others who were also curious learners. It was like getting to ‘breathe deep’ for the first time since elementary school. But there was something to learn from that experience. And that is, if you want to communicate with someone, learn to speak their language, and don’t talk down to them. Most of those kids weren’t stupid, they just had a different cultural context, and different interests. I wish we could find some common ground, however small, with department heads in this administration, and work on those.

  30. I scanned the replies and found no reference to the study I want to cite – please excuse me if I missed another citation…will any of you who care to please go to the Wikipedia page for “A Nation at Risk.” This, in my mind, is one of the core causes for what we are currently experiencing – you all are, today, pointing out some of the other reasons.

    This 1983 study of the perceived problems in the American public education system (perceived by whom – business leaders of the time), initiated by Ronald Reagan (who else), set off a firestorm of so-called improvements in education, of which DeVos is only the most recent deplorable example. When you look at this, please be sure to read the “critique” section (referencing a subsequent study by Sandia Labs, based on actual data…) that essentially debunks “ANAR”. But which (you know it) received little, if any, attention.

    A further ‘comic’ point – about 25 or so years ago) you may remember near and actual hysteria about the reading failure of kids in California – resulting in lots of blame and attempts to force ‘the system’ to become accountable, finally, and produce real results…a critique of this issue pointed out the level of funding, not to mention use of, libraries in the state and postulated that, if the adults don’t bother to read, why would anyone expect the kids to take it up…(happily, one sure way to support your kids in school is to regularly read to them and to have some – I have heard as little as 200 – books around) (that last is an unfortunate idea as having books around is affected by lots of things and often beyond the energies and control of folks surviving poverty).

    On that subject, have you considered just how aggressively literate one has to be to rise above poverty, or to benefit from a medical system – yes, as true in Canada as it surely is for you all…

    Forgive me, my need to rant is overcoming my ability to make useful sense. Best wishes to you all!

  31. As one of the first in my immediate and extended family to graduate with an advanced degree, I have never understood others’ actions to deride and dismiss their collegiate education.

    My parents sacrificed too much, and I worked too hard, to pretend my higher education did not matter. Even now, when it appears everyone has a degree, the basic tenets of my training in civic responsibility, critical thinking and social obligation continue to be unshakeable anchors in my life choices.

    As one of the earlier commenters above observed, greed and the almighty dollar appear to have usurped the idea of a vocation as a life-long, professional pursuit.

    A great many seem to be entered into the race as hares rather than tortoises. I have to ask, why is it so dang important to win?

  32. “Misses the point however, which is that privileged, white males need not look down on the rest of society and tell them to do more when life handed those special men one open door after another and slammed those same doors on everyone else. ”

    Oh yes. Let’s put a trendy label such as ‘white privileged male’ as a rationale for personal failure in whatever endevour one strives for but is unable to obtain. It might make one feel better and ignore one’s shortcomings but that does not make the situation any less true.

    My dad, a ‘privileged white male’ worked his entire life in providing for 4 children (Mom too, but I guess she is exempt from that status by an XX chromosome and lack of melanin), obtained a bachelor, masters and EdS initially under the GI Bill and then later on a teacher’s salary. I could go on at length with examples of struggles our family endured but I will refrain. And I could likewise with my own efforts to obtain higher education and then success in two careers, but I won’t. Suffice it to say that their hard work enabled us to have what we need if not necessarily want, yet we all have had a great, productive life. I thank them, every day. I only wish they were still here to hear me.

    Doors being blocked? Kick that door down, or find another one.

    Jaundiced views indeed. Some of you have a serious liver problem and view things as you wish and not as how they are. As some of those “ill” in here with this condition are septa-, octo and nonagenerarians, your time is limited, actuarily and maybe you might channel that bile into something productive instead of self-induced pearl clasping and self-hatred.

  33. My! But we are a testy bunch, aren’t we? Back on those meds, folks, and back off the caffeine.

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