Back when I was in grad school, my best friend asked me how excited I was about charter schools. Charter schools? I asked… They are not in the best interest of students, I answered; children are not customers, schools are not products, and when schools compete, children and families lose.
My friend, a republican, shot back at me: you are in the pocket of the National Education Association.
I thought about it for a second, a little shocked, and replied, “I am not in the pocket of the National Education Association. I am a card-carrying, dues-paying member of the National Education Association. I AM the NEA. When they state their position, that’s me.”
There was a moment of silence and then we both laughed. Of course that would be my position; it didn’t take a talking points memo for me to arrive at that conclusion. I happen to be informed, and that’s actually what I believe.
My friend and I could talk politics because we were close; I tend to avoid the topic of politics when I’m around conservatives I’m not close to. This country now is horribly, horribly polarized, and if you think that it’s my job to start political conversations, then you are hopelessly naive. American society is not at the point where we can engage each other, and yes, if that makes you sad, then be sad, but that’s where it is. I am certainly urban and brown and from South Seattle so it’s not hard to guess where my politics lie; however, I’d rather exercise my rights and responsibilities, conduct myself with dignity, and try to vote with my conscience; if my conservative friends see that I’m thoughtful and responsible about my citizenship, then I will call that a success. Debate in America is over.
I want my conservative friends to know that when I am against charter schools, it’s because I’ve considered it and found it to be a horrible, horrible idea; it’s not because I’m just “on that team” that I oppose charter schools, and it’s not because I haven’t considered all the arguments or all the evidence… I have, and since I am entitled to my opinion I shall choose to oppose them on the basis that they are a lose/lose/lose/lose situation.
If you want to improve education for American students, then FUND EDUCATION PROPERLY. Fund it like we’ve been funding the military. You want schools to work? Let’s start by throwing money at them, because seriously, all the other alternatives are stupid. Stupid-people stupid.
So now that I’ve alienated all the pro-charter school people, I will remind you why I resent María Cantwell, and why she will not get my vote. Yes, she is the democratic party’s candidate, yes she’s influential, yes she has done many things that I agree with. Yes, and thumbs up to all that. Also… I will leave my vote blank before I vote for Maria Cantwell again.
The reason why my vote will be left blank is because in October 11, 2002, Maria Cantwell voted in favor of the Joint Resolution to Authorize the Use of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq. As Americans, we like to imagine that we enjoy a certain access to our congressional representatives, so I called her office and emailed her to tell her not authorize that dammed resolution. In response, her staff sent me a patronizing form letter telling me all the reasons why we should leave it up to President Bush to decide whether to go to war. In other words, she voted away her
right DUTY as a senator to declare war against another nation. And by the way, all those reasons and justifications, things like WMDs, we all now know they were false. And I know people will say “we didn’t know,” but I am telling you… I didn’t know either; but you FIND THAT SHIT OUT before you commit this country to war. Do you hear me? You FIND THAT SHIT OUT.
So I resent Maria Cantwell because in the most important vote in a generation, she failed to represent me. I know she represented other people, but she failed to represent ME. And on top of that, her staff sent me a bullshit patronizing letter. So no, I’m not going to vote for her.
Yes, she has done many other things that I have agreed with. Thumbs up for that. People will tell me, “JP you NEED to get over that,” but no, I NEED no such thing. I get one little vote, and maybe it’s not worth much, but I’m not going to use it on a Senator who failed to represent me in the most important vote in a generation.
So my friends, you need to know, that when I vote, it’s not because I’m on a team; it’s because it’s my civic responsibility to use my vote to make the United States of America a better place, and not to commit my country to a war that ended up taking a horrible human toll and diverted trillions of tax dollars to a giant shitstorm of death and suffering. Look at what we’ve thrown our money at.
May God bless the Iraqi people; I’m not sure the liberation we brought them was the one they had hoped for, but I pray to God that they become the stable, happy, and wealthy allies that that Bush had promised. Otherwise, Senator Cantwell, we did it for nothing.