January 20, 2010
“What sphinx of cement and aluminum bashed open their skulls and ate up their brains and imagination?”
As I write this, the political
class is reeling from the Democrat’s loss of Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat in
The good citizens of Massachusetts probably wanted the federal government
to take direct action to ward off a financial collapse, but they didn’t want
to see their leaders cozy up to the people who caused the financial crisis in
the first place, creating conditions that allowed the rapacious bankers to reap
huge profits in just a few months while the rest of the country continues
struggling with the highest unemployment rates in years. They
might have looked the other way, if in that direction they saw a sensible jobs
program designed to knock down the unemployment numbers significantly.
They might have swallowed hard at the rescue of the financial system, if
they felt that their government cared about their anxiety – their fears for
the future – if their president had found a way to fear only fear.
I would bet a significant sum that among the Democrats and Independents
for Scott Brown were numbers of AFT and NEA members who at least in part were
motivated by the just plain stupid education policies of this administration,
policies that too many union leaders are willing to embrace for a so-called seat
at the table. Their members know
that it is a seat at their master’s feet begging for scraps.
They know too that no increase in the number of charter schools or
divisive pay for performance scheme for public school teachers is going to
address the problems of public education. They
know that the Race to the Top is but the latest scam of politicians who have
neither the knowledge, political savvy nor the guts to take on what’s really
Most of all, like the rest of the country, these NEA and AFT members were promised change they could believe in. They wanted so much to believe. They were told by their union leaders if they would just raise enough political action money, if they would just staff the phone banks as they were never staffed before, if they would turn out to vote in record numbers, they would see an end to the policies of the last administration. They would no longer be seen as the problem but would be welcome partners with the new administration in bringing real reform to American public education. No wonder they feel betrayed. No wonder they felt moved to vote for someone who heard their rage, even though he is against them on most issues.
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