Lately, I’ve heard some complaints from our legislators that they don’t like the tone we’re using when questioning their policies and motives.
The most recent occurred in the comments of a Facebook post on Senator Rob Standridge’s page. Standridge made so many comments that disturbed and upset me, I’m not even sure what to address first. You might want to check it out for yourself.
Senator Standridge wants to perform an audit on every school district in Oklahoma. I can’t imagine why he wants to pay money for information that all districts provide already. I can only assume it’s because he believes he can solve our budget issues when he discovers how wasteful we educators are with our ever-shrinking budget.
The conversation took a few turns as citizens posed several questions of the Senator, most of which went unanswered. In fact, to look at the comments, you would think the Senator only wished to validate the statements of those who agree with him, while painting those skeptical of his plans as “Republican bashers” (although Standridge himself brought up partisan politics more than the rest of the commenters combined). Two people, myself included, who used the word “Republican” in a post, began by stating we are (or at least were) Republicans, and asking for clarification as to why our party has strayed so far from responsible fiscal policy.
Several commenters asked the Senator to state his position in favor of or against the low production taxes, particularly for oil and gas industries, that have essentially cost us hundreds of millions in lost tax revenue. Senator Standridge did not address those questions or concerns. Not even once. He did continue to scold his constituents for not offering solutions, even though more than one person suggested capitalizing on our natural resources and taxing oil and gas at the going regional rate.
He did take the time to validate and applaud a citizen who called Oklahomans on Soonercare, “losers”. Which was surprising, considering his position that the care and education of our children is a “moral imperative”, and 2/3 of Soonercare recipients are children. He implies educating our children is a “moral imperative”, therefore teachers should require no more than the satisfaction of fulfilling that obligation. I guess that’s where the “moral imperative” ends, because those slacker children are bleeding us dry with their healthcare.
Standridge goes on to scold teachers for their passion, and for asking, in most instances, well-articulated questions. He then makes a few passive aggressive comments questioning whether we are fit to work with children. It seems the Senator confused “vitriol” with “dissent”, and those who openly challenge him are no longer qualified to educate our youth.
Here’s the thing:
I for one (and I think I can safely say I speak for a lot of other people here) am sick and tired of excuses. I’m fed up with the blame game. Our legislators can’t understand why we get so upset when they try to “help” educators by accusing us of wasteful spending, taking our flexible benefit allowance, or even robbing our retirement. Can’t you see we’re trying to give you that raise?! This is what you said you wanted, you ungrateful, lazy leeches!
Please. It seems some legislators want to “help”, but only on their own terms and without input from educators. And even if they’re robbing Peter to pay Paul (taking our FBA in exchange for a raise), we should thank our lucky stars and throw them a tickertape parade.
Stop expecting me to thank you for kicking me in the shins because it could have been a punch in the gut.
Nobody is willing to step up and admit their irresponsible fiscal policy of recent years is to blame for our budget failure, and we need to get serious about how to fix it. They’re still convinced we can budget our way out of this hole, and after 8 years of “fat-trimming”, we simply can’t anymore.
But in the meantime, don’t engage with those in power who have already invented their own truth. It doesn’t matter how many facts you give them, how many charts you show them, or how much anecdotal evidence you offer. Your questions will go unanswered, and instead you will be scolded for daring to challenge the misguided fallacies upon which some legislators justify their harmful fiscal policy.