Sunday, January 22, 2017

Not looking for a free lunch

It is another morning in paradise. My husband switches on the TV and returns to stirring eggs in a pan. The noise comforts him over the commingled sizzling of proteins and fats.  It usually makes me steam from the ears as I'm fixing lunches.

This morning was no exception, as I took deep draughts from my coffee cup between the stuffing of sandwich bags. I was trying to ignore politics, but the news of confirmation hearings sluiced through the cracks in my over-strained focus.

A woman who has been talking the talk -- wanting to get rid of public education though she won't likely say as much outright -- may just get the chance to walk the walk, as she raised her wet finger into the rarified air of the Senate Chambers to check on the winds of change. 

They seem to be blowing her way.

All we can do is cross our fingers and hope it doesn't send us all in the direction of a perfect storm.

"Why not have a choice?" she and her ilk keep hammering. As if traveling hours away from the place where you live is possible, let alone sustainable. As if the private sector will have reason to reach beyond the remote. 

Before long, I will be shouting at the TV.

"Why not give the 75 million children wifi and Wikipedia while you're at it; drown the masses in YouTube videos of cats wearing toupees. So much for edge reception. 

Next followed more sound bites from a politically connected neighbor.

The same old song and dance:
Taxes are too damn high.
Regulations are choking NYers.
Commuted sentences of convicted whistleblowers will be our undoing.

But it is I who would come undone.

"Hey ... let's just privatize everything while we're taking the public out of education. Let's turn Social Security and Medicare and Public Safety over to private interests. Because when has that ever gone wrong, Enron? Securities fraud? Abu Ghraib? 

"No, I'm sure the coupons we get for our tax dollars -- after all is said and deregulated -- will cover most of the costs associated with education and healthcare. Please, don't forget tort reform. We wouldn't surely won't need any protection since we don't have to worry about our stockpiled guns!"

"I mean, who doesn't want to cross state lines to see a doctor that will accept your insurance? I love road trips."

Maybe we are just a nation strung together by a rope bridge of temper tantrums slung across our social network of choice?

Oh, wait? Choice?

"Choice" may as well be defined as "what we think other people have if they have the means."

But everybody spins.

Everybody seeks out something to prove a point, right up until they block out the noise of our opposition. 

Usually with a toggle feature on Facebook (sniff). Or Twitter (achoo). Or Reddit (gesundheit).

An American Spring doesn't look so promising from the vantage point of this sodden cold winter.

It feels more like a train wreck.

My son doesn't agree.

He's been on this earth slightly longer than nine years, and he knows that public/private partnerships are as old as time.

"You already pay so much for public school; it doesn't make sense to throw it all away."

"You mean through taxes and vouchers?"

"No! I mean through fundraising and lunch money. No one gets a free lunch."

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