Thursday, February 15, 2018

Coffee, Tea or Nothing?

I have truly tried here to talk to people.  Some are quite nice but more are illiterate, are ignorant and mostly they are just rude.  I am not sure why or even that I care but every day another encounter that stuns me. 

I am amazed as yet again another Intern today here at another school I am at wants desperately to work in  the Public Schools as a Counselor. She is white, she attends Vanderbilt and came from my neck of the woods, Washington State.  She is from Bellingham and they have a well respected college right there where I ironically went to get my Teaching Certificate.  Not a brilliant program largely staffed by White men teaching us how to connect to "inner city" kids whom they had never worked with and we are from the Northwest not Chicago but I laugh today at how inept that program was. And as always I butted heads and I don't look back in anger I do in pride as once again I was right I just did not handle it in the best way.  I again trusted that people would listen, that those in positions in authority would respect my opinion understand my reasoning and perhaps reason with me and enable me to figure it out.  Wrong, the first lesson when one enters education - no one gives a fuck, no one listens and no one cares.

I unlike the hicks that live here why she came here, as guess what it is not my business nor do I actually care but I do wonder why anyone would spend that kind of money to work in a state that pays its Teachers nothing and has the reputation it does about Education means this is someone who did not do their homework.  Or is in some place of believing that that white privilege thing means you help those kids whose circumstances are desperate.  I have to say that is the completely wrong reason to enter the field but then again this is Counseling and I think I met only one with half a brain, but note I said half.

But one thing we share with Washington is that we don't fund education here.  Why? We have no income tax and we fund it in the very same way Washington State does - via regressive taxes.  The difference is that Washington always had a strong Corporate benefactor base and paid people well and a strong industrial component that was highly organized and unionized.  There have been a long history of companies with a legacy linked to Washington from Maritime to Lumber.  The war industry brought  Boeing,  then Microsoft and well not Amazon but let's include them,  but the reality is that with larger incomes you do generate larger spending and philanthropy which helps.  But of late even Washington is declining on spending and that has taken its tolls.  And yes Washington State has issues funding schools but the wealthy there support education and they have written many a check.  As for Bill Gates well he sort of kind of does.   But White people who still believe in that meritocracy bullshit do try to support public education.

That is not the issue here despite the bullshit the Governor professes.  They care about money here. And that is what Nashville is proud of their growth.   But the way to build an economy is by poaching businesses from other states.    Money does not grow on trees but when Legislators get desperate to generate business and in turn jobs they will do whatever it takes to get them. Even the horrific local rag,  The Tennessean,  has begun to inquire about said deals when it comes to the costs to the taxpayer for doing so.

I call it a bribe you may call it extortion other may call it an incentive but those are the tax credits or deferments that local Governments offer to businesses to set up shop.  Such tax exemptions or considerations are rarely given to small business owners the true driver of a local economy.  Our local economy is driven by jobs,  and like our Public Schools  we want good ones, we want them equally funded and equally great, we don't want too  many regulations; however, we want  to ensure fairness just like  the laws that govern and maintain equality are ironically the same ones that can strangle small businesses and not bring jobs.  Funny how that works.   And here is where Corporations excel, as all of this  can be better handled by the larger firms with their Lobbyists, General Counsels and Executives who glad hand, play golf and write checks with much more flair than Kenny who opened up a local Ace Hardware.  He is too busy trying to get his business off the ground and working to have time for that.  Regulations, laws and rules are supposed to level the playing field but the field in America has not been level for years.

I prefer shopping at the local joint you know where everybody knows your name.  I force myself  to rarely to drink at Starbucks as well it is not my cup of tea or coffee in this case.  To each his own and we all have our own likes and dislikes.  That is what public schools are like - your local coffee shop.  You love it or you hate it but you have to go to it as that is the only game in town so you go. And like I do, you always order the same thing and we like it just that way as that consistency is comforting and the familiar always is.  And maybe they even know you so that eliminates the awkwardness of how to say your name or having it yelled across a busy store again that familiarity is comforting.  And when you go there, there are people/faces that you recognize day to day and those who are new but they all come in and follow the same rules that are set into place to keep order and enable things to run smoothly.  Ah a good cup of coffee or tea or whatever one needs to start one's day is comforting. 

Funny how the Government in charge hates rules and regulations as they stagnate growth and are job destroyers not creators.  Yet they permit one after another business to buy up, absorb or destroy another enabling them to stomp on the competition under the aegis of  "free market"  and in turn eliminate jobs as redundant in the process of consolidation and cost effectiveness.   Which of course rises the value of said company on the street where there are no walls or borders just analysts who much like the Border Patrol are there to keep the income streaming in.   And all of this in turn the less competition that exists ends up not benefiting the consumer in the least but that is good for business.  Ever notice that there are Starbucks on every corner? How does that work? The compete among themselves, is that not like eating your young.  And what local joint was lost thanks to Starbucks?  Again just like your local schools when they are closed but a charter appears. Is that actually better and why did that place close again?  Oh that is right they failed as no one wanted their shitty coffee.  Just like a public school no one enrolls, no one funds it, it fails.

I am confused on a daily basis when I hear the news hysterically report about the stock market of which few people actually own and invest in other than via pension or other retirement funds that again are run by invisible people who have no vested interest in your money other than to use it to generate more money for themselves.

This week led to quite a few stories about Wall Street and what that all meant. Again to the great proletariat it meant little.   And just like the truth behind the curtain of Oz it was a reflection of the departure of Janet Yellen from the Federal Reserve who during her term was raising interest rates and the making it rain era of free cheap money was markedly coming to an end. The idea behind it was to encourage job growth and build the economy.  It did but at times that seems to be more of an after affect versus an intention.  For what it did do was raise the prices of stocks to be too high for the average investor, enabled companies to do what they do best raise the value of their company, pay their CEO exorbitant wages and stash a lot of cash overseas. R&D and other means in which enables companies to grow and create new products and new ideas not so much. They just did by buying their competition.  Really kids that is what start ups are - largely bullshit ideas with the long term belief that they will sell it to a bigger wallet in which to cash out.

And as Trump makes grandiose pronouncements about tax cuts, jobs created, infrastructure there is little to substantiate said claims. He is a liar and that is the one consistent we know as a truth.  So when reporters diligently discuss Trump with his fans/voters/base they state their truths and are never asked to actually prove it.   Gosh facts are for who exactly?  Certainly not Americans. We all live in our own truths at some level.  Again go back to the Coffee shop analysis like a public school, if it serves your needs you love it.  If it is okay and it is the only choice you will go with it.  If you hate it l you will go out of your way not to patronize it well unless you have to.  But if you love it nothing will ever change your mind, you are vested and whatever it offers it comforts you.

We can divide ourselves over our beverage of choice.  I don't know how many people here in Tennessee and in Seattle ironically responded to my invite for a coffee with, "I don't drink coffee."  I see it as a metaphorical expression an invitation to just be social so to be responded with a negative statement says, I don't want to spend any time in your company.    I used to offer an alternative suggestion now I just go, "Well nice to meet you have a good day."  I quit trying when I moved here as the people here are a beverage I don't drink - Coke. Oh wait is that Pepsi?    Again try that one to set up a debate over a soft drink.  This is where we are in this country we cannot share a dialog over a drink of one's choice.

Ignorance is not bliss and until people start talking to each other and climb over that wall, that fence, that street or that which blocks you from learning about the person on the other side we will see more children picking up guns, more adults getting behind the wheels of trucks and smashing and killing  people as a way of expressing their rage and confusion.  I am angry but I am not confused I know who I am, I know my strengths and weaknesses and I know my limitations.  I also know I drink coffee and tea and when someone invites for such I can order what I like as I am a big girl. I also know how to decline if I choose neither.  We need to learn to make choices and decisions and we need to learn more importantly how to do so.  And more importantly I know how to listen and to at least try to show empathy and understanding. Funny what a cup of coffee can do. 

**And of course in paranoid crazy Nashville we just had an end of the day lockdown an odd parallel to the incident in Florida yesterday which cannot be ignored. Regardless I find this all nonsense and of course I have no keys to my door, have no files nor paper work  in which to meet the standards in which to follow the protocol and no one knows my name or that I am here.   Little late to tell me now or ever really.  And I will be frank,  if this was an active shooter I would have found an exit and walked out while shutting the door and leaving the students inside. If you think I am kidding I am not.  I have no reason to put myself at risk and frankly they don't care about finding a Substitute they have such issues with us it is a waste of time to pretend I would do anything to risk myself for anyone here.  They don't know I am here and they would not know if I was gone. That is how bad it is.

For Nashville to come out of 1950 their schools are only one-half of a massive equation that needs to be brought up to speed.  And such is that is the Internet.  It is garbage here in Nashville and after touting the whole Google Fiber plan last year little has been done to actually change that.  The schools have dated equipment and today their internet crashed. It was running at a snails pace which I find ironic as I am in a credit generator class where it is all online learning.  This city is decades and billions away from ever being more than a tourist trap.  But hey drinks are cheap and plentiful and you can have your tea sweet or not.  That is all that matters. I will have nothing, thanks.

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