Political rhetoric usually focuses around one of two themes: destroy this or defend against that. Either way, the war is never over. The War on Drugs. The War on Terror. The War for America's Soul. The War Against You.

I went to the polls today with that in mind. This time, the front was public education. On one side of the trench was a school district seeking to bolster its war chest with millions more in levy dollars. Guarding the fort opposite them were the taxpayers of my area, who stand between their treasury and the school district.

This got me thinking about the nature of a crime. Is it stealing if I vote "Yes" and throw my support behind the troops storming the taxpayers' treasury? Is it stealing if I vote "No" and deny the school district the means to provide the services it has been mandated to provide?

Am I criminal no matter how I vote?

If it is, then it's no wonder voting turnout continues to lag in the United States, which is criminal in and of itself.

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Comment by Benjamin Sobieck on November 5, 2009 at 2:52am
The referendum failed, by the way.
Comment by B.R.Stateham on November 5, 2009 at 2:28am
I agree with Jon and Dana--we have all kind of pundits telling us what is wrong with our educational system. So many in fact, school districts and good teachers all over are hamstrung with rules and 'methods' they must follow that have no benefit whatsoever to 'learning.'

Let's face it; there's always been a strong undercurrent of anti-intellectualism and anti-teachers in our society. And we're supposed to be an educated country. Yeah, right.
Comment by Dana King on November 5, 2009 at 2:13am
JOn,
I agree completely. The greatest fear of most Americans is not terrorism; it's the feeling that someone else may be getting over, and they're not. Mind you, we don;t object to getting something for nothing ourselves, but we are paralyzed by the thought someone else might be doing it and we're not. This is why we'll let 1,000 kids be undernourished so one "welfare queen" doesn't get benefits.
Comment by Jon Loomis on November 5, 2009 at 2:01am
Don't forget the War On Christmas. And the White House War On Fox Nooze.

I'm always amazed at the sense people have in this country that they shouldn't have to contribute in any material way to the common good. It's just bizarre--and it's our ticket back to third-world status. The downward spiral is well underway, IMO.
Comment by Dana King on November 5, 2009 at 1:19am
To push your metaphor one more step, if the funds aren't provided for education, then those who will not be properly educated are far more likely to do more than just metaphorical stealing.

The great majority of Americans refuse to view education for what it is: an investment. Even my father, who I love dearly and is a good man, complains about school taxes, because--of course--he doesn't have any kids in school. He forgets I couldn't have gone to school without public education, as he never could have afforded it. He also neglects the idea that the doctor who treats him or the investment counselor who set him up (well) for retirement, or even the mechanic who fixes his car may not have been in a position to help him had they not been properly educated.

Aside from public safety (under which under which umbrella I include defense), there is no more important function for a society than education.
Comment by John McFetridge on November 5, 2009 at 12:49am
Maybe I spend too much time reseasrching organized crime, bikers and that sort of thing but more and more I see the world as the strong preying on the weak, the most organized of the strong being the most successful. What usually keeps people weak and divided is fear. What usually overcomes fear is understanding.

In the short-term the school disctrict looks like organized party - in the long-term only the best educated public has any defence against the real enemies.

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