Way back in high school, I had a wonderful math teacher who taught me algebra and geometry. Her method of teaching made math easy and fun for me. She stood, clicking her chalk on the board, explaining problem after problem until the bulb popped on in my brain. She had infinite patience with those of us who paid attention and tried, but woe be unto any one who didn’t. She threw chalk and books, screamed at lazy students, and slapped her yardstick onto her desk. Some of her methods are frowned upon today and I don’t advocate using them, but they worked—for me anyway. Even then I had little tolerance for lethargic students and agreed with her on most things. However, she often told the class, “Don’t do as I do; do as I say do.” Even in my youth, I suspected that instruction.
Consider, for example, people who speak piously but show their true character with their actions. So many times in my life I’ve seen televangelists disgraced when the public discovered their real works. These preachers encouraged their audiences to send money for the poor, but then used that money to fill their own coffers, to buy luxury cars, and to build multi-million dollar homes for themselves—not the poor. Not just infamous evangelists are guilty. Many, many of the rest of us do the same thing on a smaller scale. We want other people to do as we say, not as we do.
Look at the now defunct Occupy Wall Street Movement. Most Americans never decided if this movement were worthwhile or not. It concerned itself with a range of social issues from income disparity between the middle class and the ultra wealthy to police brutality and the lack of affordable health care. Did the members accomplish anything? The group called Occupy L.A. left behind tons of trash for the city to clean up. President of the city’s Public Works board, Andrea Alacron, told the Los Angeles Times that cleanup crews removed 25 tons of debris that the protestors who spent two months occupying the site left behind. What kind of worthwhile civic movement leaves such a mess behind for someone else to clean up? What the occupiers did was give their movement a black eye and diminish any good they might have done.
In the media lately, the two presidential candidates have sniped at each other about which one best understands the plight of the poor or even of the middle class. Neither of them could possibly understand. I was talking with a cashier in Walmart over the weekend, and she told me that she never goes anywhere except to work and back home because gas is so high that she can’t afford fun trips. I wonder how many of Baxley’s poor and middle class took a vacation this year. I heard lots of people talking about “stay-cations.” And yet every few weeks it seems that (one or more of) the Obamas are jetting off to Oaxaca, Mexico, or Aspen or Hawaii with an entourage of 25 or more secret service agents. Can’t you hear the jingle of taxpayer money? I certainly do not object to protecting our President and his family; we must. However, Mrs. Obama took Sasha and Malia to Vail and Beaver Creek last Presidents’ Day just days after the President tried to sell his cost-cutting budget to the American people by asking them to stay at home. Does anyone else see a problem here? The President is subscribing to my math teacher’s admonition to “do as I say, not as I do.”
Let me assure you that I don’t think Mr. Romney understands the plight of the American people any better. Both candidates are like the televangelists I spoke of earlier. “Send me your votes and I’ll take care of every thing.”
Does anyone live in the real world anymore where co-pays on prescribed drugs and procedures are too expensive for insured people to afford? Where you can buy food or medicine but not both? Where prices go up every time you go to the grocery store? I’ve noticed that only the poor live there, but they’d better move over because the middle class is sliding down faster than the price of gas is going up. But don’t worry. Our leaders have our best interests at heart. If you don’t believe it, just ask them.