Diary

Robert Reich is an Idiot

I try.  I really really try.  There are things that I dislike.  I don’t like the fact I dislike them and it makes me feel bad.  I want to understand that just because I don’t like something that doesn’t mean it isn’t likable.  Take country music.  I really don’t care for country music.  I guess its nice.  Its generally uplifting and upbeat but I don’t have an ear for it.  Once, while on a very long drive before the advent of IPods and satellite radio, I had to drive to Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina from southwest Florida and through Georgia there were parts that the only thing I could get on the radio was country music.  So I decided to devote at least one hour to listening to what was on the radio in rural Georgia.  I quit about the time I heard “Queen of my Double Wide” or something to that effect.

I have recently tried to understand the mind of the modern day progressive/liberal.  I have tried to watch an entire episode of Rachel Maddow and I just can’t do it.  What a snarky, unappealing ridiculous program she has.  Its not so much that she wears what I call the classic “angry liberal face” but the stuff that comes out of her mouth just drives me nuts.  I throw things at the tv.  Its not fun and I admit defeat.  I will try again – I know I will – and maybe I’ll have found a better temperament and get through the whole hour. Me and the other couple of people who actually watch her show.

Another of my attempts at trying to be balanced and at least understand that there IS another point of view is to put the Salon.com opinion page on my Google Reader.  Robert Reich has become my new “Queen of My Double Wide”.  I would consider it a great victory if I could get through one of his columns without hitting the “Mark as Read” button before the end.  Well, today I did and what a HUGE mistake that was!

This guy is supposed to be an expert at something I suppose.  Heck, he was the Secretary of Labor for a freaking President – doesn’t that mean something?  He is supposed to be a smart guy. I may not AGREE with the progressive/liberal point of view but I don’t assume that those who have it are stupid.  I believe they are smart (just perhaps misguided).  Bottom line is he should be smarter than me.

Today’s column from Salon was about the government “takeover” of GM.  He actually closed with this little ditty:

Behind all of this is a growing public fear, of which GM’s demise is a small but telling part. Half a century ago, the prosperity of America’s middle class was one of democratic capitalism’s greatest triumphs. By the time Wilson left GM, almost half of all US families fell within the middle range of income. Most were headed not by professionals or executives but by skilled and semi-skilled factory workers. Jobs were steady and health benefits secure. Americans were becoming more equal economically.

But starting three decades ago, these trends have been turned upside down. Middle-class jobs that do not need a college degree are disappearing. Job security is all but gone. And the nation is more unequal. GM in its heyday was the model of economic security and widening prosperity. Its decline has mirrored the disappearance of both.

Please tell me why the 22nd Secretary of Labor for the United States of America can’t make the connection between the changes and evolutions of our enonomy, the failure of public schools to match the needs of a 21st century work force and is somehow stuck in this ridiculous notion that everything should be the same as it was in the 50’s?  Three decades ago we were presented with “A Nation At Risk” that foresaw exactly what he laments as lost. Did he not READ it? Truly – the conclusion he hopes to leave us with is that our country is a failure because we no long have a manufacturing economy?  The loss of this manufacturing economy is somehow responsible for the loss of the “middle class” as he defines it?  I am dumbstuck.  Truly dumbstruck.

The failure of GM is evidence of an impossible grasp to a past life that protects only those who gain power by making others believe it is truth in order to protect that power.  The old union model has been dying on the vine for a long time and it is nearly criminal that union leaders continue to make their members believe its someone else who is taking advantage of them.  I think auto and teachers’ unions lead their members to slaughter while convincing them its truly heaven they head towards. It is in this unholy union that our society suffers.  The incredibly sad lie is that we can somehow recapture the glory days of union represented manufacturing and all will be wonderful. The needs of the world have changed, the economy of country has evolved away from manufacturing and that is in of itself not a bad thing.  And in concert is a teacher’s union that continues to stand in the way of educating our students for a world that waits for them upon graduation.  While we continue to fight for better standards, better teachers, better curriculum, better outcomes, union representatives distort reality and prevent true innovation and foster the belief that what they allow to happen in our classrooms that was good enough half a century ago is good enough today and that at the end of 18 years, those jobs Robert Reich seems to think we should mourn as being gone actually left a long time ago.

Why is it I know this and he doesn’t?