Friday, September 9, 2011

A "D" for Congress

Disdain, disinterest, disrespect...Shame on the US Congress during last night's speech by the President.  I give them a solid D, and I think that is being very generous.  I am not writing to debate the merits of the President's job's plan, though much of it did seem to sound good, but was it just Washington rhetoric?  I don't know, but I do know what three of the greatest problems with America's politicians is...disdain, disinterest, disrespect, which is precisely what I saw in the faces of many of the members of Congress last night.

Why does this bother me so much?  I deal with this day in and day out.  How can we expect our students to succeed when what they see from America's leaders  some of the major problems that teachers face in the schools?  Students, and sadly and increasingly parents, think that school is a babysitting service.  The students are disinterested in learning; they show disdain for authority, and they show disrespect for teachers and education as a whole.

Is it really so hard to show interest and respect for the most powerful man in the world?  You don't have to agree with him, you don't even have to like him, but you should show him the respect that he deserves.  You shouldn't be rolling your eyes as you sit behind the President.  You shouldn't be looking completely bored or like you would rather be anywhere else in the world.  Why is it so hard to show respect and good manners?  Maybe Congress should learn about the Golden Rule, and more importantly they should take their jobs seriously.  Read the Constitution and understand the importance of your job.  They are the leaders of the free world and should act like it instead of like petulant children.


drew said...

coming from a person who makes his living from a non-profit organization. I would expect nothing less. I might be gay but that doesn't mean I have to be a left leaning liberal. The only party that could care less about the Constitution is the Democratic Party...

silvereagle said...

In order to receive respect, it must be earned. Not required.

Sorry,joe. I think those with rolling eyes, looking completely bored, were within their rights to do so. Maybe not the good manners we would wish, but the president (little p) did not have good manners either in calling for a joint session of congress for a purely political speech.

Friends can disagree, and on this point we disagree!

Thanks for the article, and I do agree with the main thought of the lack of respect shown in todays world.

fan of casey said...

Joe: There's a difference between the office of the president and the man himself. The office and officeholder by extension should be granted a level of respect as you argue. This problem adds to the gridlock atmosphere in Washington D.C.

And I'm going to disagree with the comments above. Each political party jockeys for position and can demonized for not following the constitution, no one party has a monopoly for being pure. Sure the extremes on both sides makes the most noise but it's the moderates and independents that decides the general elections.

Those who claim that the speech was purely political -- well duh! It's politics, what did you expect it to be about? It's a political arena.

I still support Obama but I wish he would fight back more. He's like a guy being bullied, hoping that giving in will result in compromise when it just emboldens the opposition.

drew said...

Fan of Casey, I can understand your frustration with Obama about fighting back. I voted for him. He doesn't have any deep rooted convictions to protect. He is totally unqualified for his office. I don't mean he is not smart enough for the office but I don't think he is a leader. He's is one of the best readers of a teleprompter I have every known..

fan of casey said...

The problem with Obama may be his intellectual background. He probably feels he can reason with the conservatives and broker a compromise. But for a party which has openly said one of their top goals is to make him a one-term president, he should know that reason doesn't work with unreasonable people.

Granted, there are extremists on both sides and since I'm an independent (I'm fiscally conservative, socially liberal), party affiliation is less important to me, I vote the issues and the solutions.

The other problem with Obama was no one could really match the high expectations he created for himself and the country. He could not change the system, the system changed him, as often is the case when reformers take on entrenched interests.

But I'm also gay and Obama has done more in his one term for me and my kind than any other president. This next election will be decided on economic issues but you can bet if a republican wins, he will eventually meddle with social issues and we will feel a backlash of the progress made the last couple of years.

You are already seeing that at the state level. And so we will have to rely on the judicial branch to make ensure they don't go overboard.

JoeBlow said...

Drew, I am far from being a left leaning liberal, and consider myself to be a moderate, a group which I feel is increasingly being excluded from American politics. And Drew, yes, he's is one of the best readers of a teleprompter I have every seen. When he doesn't have a teleprompter, he stutters and stumbles the whole time.

Silvereagle, we will have to agree to disagree on this issue. I feel that the office of president deserves respect, regardless of the man. I will also say this, the US Congress has always been known for its decorum and manners (with the notable exception of the Sumner-Brooks Affair). We have long been a model for other legislative bodies, but in recent years, that has been eroding quickly.

FOC, thank you. I couldn't agree with you more. Obama is an idealist. They often don't make great presidents. Woodrow Wilson was an idealist and though he got the world to follow him, his own country refused because he couldn't learn to compromise with Republicans. I think that Obama with his speech the other night is at least trying to compromise, but I don't think that the Republicans can do the same.

Anonymous said...

Interesting that everyone went to critique Obama, where I read this with alarm on behalf of the students. In a time where education is prized, coveted and pursued in other countries, the disinterest on the parts of our students and their parents is terrifying. Practically every job is becoming computer-driven. People are fond of sneering at us “old” people for not being good on the computer, but there’s a huge difference between being good at video games and a good user of programs. Practically the only job left that doesn’t require some familiarity with computers is cleaning toilets.

My mother checked my homework every night and I was expected to bring home good grades—or else! I’ve always considered learning to be one of the pleasures of life. Somehow that doesn’t get translated in schools. Of course you, Joe, are dealing with a particular segment of the population. It’s just scary. ciel

JoeBlow said...

Thank you, ciel. You are absolutely right that this post was about student apathy. From parents to politicians, students do not have good role models showing them how to be interested in the world around them. I was merely using Congress as an example of that apathy and disrespect. As I said, if students see this from our leaders, how can they be expected to do anything else. I’ve always considered learning to be one of the pleasures of life, as well. I just wish I had the chance to show my students that same pleasure, but they do not care. I sometimes spend more time trying to get them to behave than getting them to learn. If often makes me want to cry when I get home each day. Thank goodness for my college class, those students are interested and engaged. I just wish that my high school students would be the same way, but parents too often see us as babysitters not educators. Sorry for the rant, but thank you very much for understanding the main argument of this post.