Wednesday, July 15, 2015

There's a hidden cancer infecting America

I've been doing some genealogical work off and on for decades.  I've managed to find ancestors (in concert with others on going back to the 15th century, at least on the German side.  Unfortunately, there isn't a lot of biographical info to be found going that far back, but given that the earliest I can find that do, my folks in that country were farmers.  I've got others in Britain, Ireland and Scotland, and the DNA says also in the Scandinavian countries.  (Given the history, they were probably viking settlers in England.  Yay, Vikings!)

So far, there isn't anything that indicates that very many, if any, of my ancestors had much education, nor that any may have been aristocrats.  There are a few pics of some Scottish folks going back into the 19th century who were wearing what appears to be suits, so they may have been fairly well off merchants.  One guy living in Ohio around the Civil War was a printer, and well known for starting a newspaper in Oklahoma before he moved back east again.  His brother was an Ohio Supreme Court Justice, according to his obit.  Probably the most successful of my ancestral line in this country anyway.

But, no evidence any of them got a University education.

I do.

So, I may be the first of my family in who knows how many generations to actually graduate from a University with a degree.  Yay, me!  (Thank you, again American taxpayers, who, through the GI Bill, financed that education.  I mean that sincerely.  It was a fair trade, I gave you four years of my life standing tall against the USSR, and you gave me a four year education.  Kudos all around!)

But.  (Isn't there always a "but"?)

There are those in the Republican party (and I ran into one earlier this week) who would have you think I am some kind of "elite".  That a University education will turn you into some kind of liberal (as if that is an insult - go figure...) atheist brat that is somehow a kind of moocher.  (???  I can't figure that out, if a degree gets you a higher paying job...?)  Maybe they're jealous or something.

Their accusations are even more wacky, given that the very politicians who are pushing that "elitist" bullshit are, themselves, grads of such places like Harvard or other Ivy League institutions.  Talk about elitist!

But, I want to address this crap.

I, and most of the people who graduate today, especially on the GI Bill, are not elitists.  We are your average American, trying to get ahead.

I worked hard, for over eight years, for that degree, and went to two institutions.  I worked during the day at a full time job (which did not meet all the bills by any means, and we had NO credit card debt) and went to school after work, evenings, and often on Saturdays.

I missed a lot of watching my kids grow up.  I spent a lot of time hitting the books when I could have spent it with my wife or playing with the kids.

And you DARE to call me an elitist?  Elite compared to whom?  What elite "club" do I belong to?  Oh, yeah, maybe you're talking about the alumni groups.  Well, the one (if there is one) for the community college I went to has never contacted me.  Some "club".

The alumni folks at the University of Texas (Dallas) where I got the degree have contacted me over the years, and I am probably listed in the alumni book.  But that never got me a job, it never resulted in any other advantages, save an opportunity to tour the CIA HQ facility at Langley.  Which was fun, but it didn't pay any bills.

So I am at a loss to tell exactly what that "elitist" tag is supposed to mean, except to try to set me apart from your average American.  It's the newest cancer infecting the body politic in this country, this distain and almost outright hatred for people with an education.  The funniest thing is, what sets me apart isn't my education - although it helped me get this job.  It's the nice pension I plan on cashing in on in the not to distant future.

You see, I worked for that too.  Forty-two years and four months when I finally walk out the door, to be exact.  Yeah, what sets me apart is that work ethic!  You know, that work ethic Republicans claim that only REAL Americans have.

But not liberals.  Nope, not liberals, at all.  We're "elitists", we're lazy as Federal workers, with no work ethic.

Well, screw you folks.  I'm voting for Bernie Sanders during the Democratic Primary, and if he wins, I will PROUDLY cast my vote for the first real LIBERAL to grace an American national ballot in decades.  If he doesn't, I'll vote for Hillary, and I'll spit in the general direction of the Republican National Committee Headquarters.


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