"The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it. There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves." -- John Adams

"No money shall be drawn from the treasury, for the benefit of any religious or theological institution." -- Indiana Constitution Article 1, Section 6.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilisation, it expects what never was and never will be...nor can they be safe with them without information. Where the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe." – Thomas Jefferson

Friday, March 18, 2011

A National Tantrum

Matthew Rothschild, of the Progressive Magazine, wrote a story about an apparent suicide which he connected to Wisconsin Governor Walker's cuts to public education.
Wisconsin Teacher in Apparent Suicide, “Distraught” Over Walker’s Cuts

Jeri-Lynn Betts, an early childhood teacher in the Watertown, Wisconsin, school district, died on March 8 of an apparent suicide.

A colleague says she was “very distraught” over Gov. Scott Walker’s attacks on public sector workers and public education.

Betts, 56, was a dedicated teacher who was admired in the Watertown community.
The article goes on to discuss the cuts...the teacher...the relationship between her suicide and the anti-public union sentiment coming from the governor's office and the Republican legislature.

What is most disturbing about this is not the relationship between the political situation and the suicide, though it's hardly fair to blame a suicide on one incident or situation. Usually someone who is at the point of suicide has had a history of depression. The catalyst that pushes them over the edge can hardly be labeled "the only cause."

It's not the tragedy of the suicide itself, though it is, indeed tragic when someone is so overwhelmed with hopelessness that they see no other solution besides taking their own life.

The most disturbing thing related to this story is the level of anger it has prompted. A look at the comments following the story will give you a taste of the pent up rage.

The author is denounced...the woman who committed suicide is berated...the anger against the teachers, the union, the workers, is toxic and vicious...

We've become a nation of cruel, angry, screamers. The national discussion has become nothing less than a national tantrum.

There's no room for compromise...no room for discussion. There's no time for sadness at the death of another human being. There's no place for cooperation...no desire to work towards a common goal, or define a common good.

Find someone to blame. Lash out blindly.

This country needs some serious therapy.


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