Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Don't Say That it Can't Get Any Worse

You'll have to excuse Miss Eyre for being a bit of a Debbie Downer today. Yes, I'm just back from a vacation in more tropical parts and I'm continuing to enjoy summer break, and I'm even starting to get those happy back-to-school butterflies as I order a few new professional books and pick up my (NON-CITY-COUNCIL-SUBSIDIZED, THANKS GUYS) whiteboard markers and correcting pens. But I can't help but feel general dismay, malaise, and pessimism, mostly because of those clowns in Washington (and "clowns" is, believe me, the most family-friendly term I can use, or rather substitute for my usual terms, in this blog). "When I look at the world, I am pessimistic," admitted humanist psychologist Carl Rogers, "but when I look at human beings, I am optimistic." I'll be doing a lot of looking at human beings, it seems, as the school year inches closer, to try to stave off the encroaching waves of despair. And as far as my federal elected representatives go, I'd pull an Oedipus to avoid looking at them. (Except for Sen. Gillibrand. You go, girl.)

As I reflected on my (astronomical) grocery bill while cooking dinner this evening, I realized what I'd suspected for a while, but didn't exactly have concrete proof of until now: My government does not care about me. At all. The last nice thing they did for me was subsidize a student loan three years ago, and since then, they've been conspiring to screw me.

No really, I'm serious. I wish this was a work of satire, but it's not. I'm not so paranoid/narcissistic to think that they're out to get me personally, but I do believe that the government is going to collectively shrug its shoulders at the struggles of the working and middle classes (not the poor, though, they're straight-up giving the poor the finger). My tax bill has gone up and up and up with absolutely nothing to show for it--in fact, less than nothing, if the dire warnings about cuts for the rest of my natural life are to be believed, so if I should ever fall on hard times, well, they'll pray for me, I guess. I have a young relative continuing to fight, as we speak, today, in Afghanistan, for God only knows what at this point. I have another relative who despite a college degree and excellent qualifications is just a few weeks away from being a 99-weeker. Still, though, we can afford 1.5 trillion dollars--yes, trillion with a T!!!--in cuts that will not affect in the least the people who ruined the economy in the first place: the lawmakers who voted again and again for disastrous fiscal policy for the past eleven years and the billionaires who have them in their pockets. And yes, all of those italics were on purpose.

It's so bad that the kiss-offs to which public school teachers are now more or less accustomed have been forgotten for the moment. I suppose, if I think about it, NYC Educator and you and I are doubly screwed as middle-class public educators.

And do I hold President Obama accountable? You're damn right I do. I voted for him and I am becoming sorrier by the day. Not that I would have voted for McCain, but I should have voted for Hillary Clinton in the primary, who could have just had a quick chat with Bill to double-check the Go-Ahead-Shut-Down-the-Government-Make-My-Day strategy. Or I should have voted for anyone who would have stood up to the Republicans, anyone who wouldn't have blinked first, anyone who would have remembered for a second that he himself knew struggle as a young person and that he shouldn't leave today's strugglers behind. And I'm even angrier that I'll have no viable alternative in 2012. What am I going to do, vote for this clown? Or this one? Not likely.

Washington has, with yesterday's vote, made it absolutely, indisputably, crystal clear: They Do Not Care, President Obama's nice words today notwithstanding. If you've read the economist who thinks this plan is likely to work, please share a link in the comments, because everyone I've heard from so far thinks it's a disaster, and not just Paul Krugman.

But there's one thing you shouldn't say in the comments: Don't say that it can't get any worse. Because it always can. And I'm about to go to bed, as I write this on Tuesday evening to go live Wednesday morning, and I'd rather not have nightmares.
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