Monday, February 21, 2011

Poor Visuals

Imagine for a moment that you just got home from work where you put in a full day. You leaf through the mail, look at the bills and calculate when your next paycheck comes in so that you can pay them. You ask your spouse how their day went, since they had to stay home because the schools were closed again and you can't afford daycare for your kids who are too old to go anyway, but still too young to be left alone while you both work.
So you sit down and turn on the TV to watch the news and the reports are about the teachers attacking the capitol in Madison Wisconsin to argue against what the governor is doing in order to balance the budget. Then a commentator comes on and tells you that the teachers have been getting fake doctors excuses so that they can be paid for sick days while they protest. You think to yourself, "I bet my spouse would have loved to get sick days at their job" because their employer doesn't offer it. But at least your spouse has a job. In this economy, the fact that both of you have work is considered to be a blessing. Then the commentator lets you know that these teachers make 50% more per year than you do. And they have their summers off. Sure, they have to get continuing education credits, but they could actually take a longer vacation than you can, because you are limited to one week paid vacation per year. And you start to think about how much time the teacher is at school versus how much time you are at work, and you start to get angry. Then you think about all the time you spent listening to how much more money is needed because teachers are underpaid, and you wonder how that could be if they are making half again as much as you.
Are you going to be able to identify with the protesters? Or are the images of them screaming like lunatics likely to make you just tell them all to kiss off, and let you have vouchers so you can send your kids to whatever school you want?
I think the protesters have a lousy sense of timing, but then again, I am amazed at how many people think that money for the government just "appears" as out of nowhere. But people are not that happy that they have to sacrifice in this economy and government workers are busily demanding more.
Which raises the question: "When is enough, enough?"

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