All I've heard today in the wake of this horrible massacre has been this incredible outpouring of sympathy for all the victims, and it occurred to me: why only now, after these people are dead, is there suddenly empathy for them? Who displayed any caring about them before this nightmare unfolded? Isn't it a little late now? Especially for those who displayed nothing but disdain for them before today, the protestations of grief ring more than a little hollow.
I'll explain what I mean after the squiggly.
As some of you might remember, just last month we had an election. In that election, 48% of those voting cast their ballots for a candidate, and by extension a party, that is openly hostile to education and educators. A party which is dedicated to breaking teacher's unions, cutting their pay and benefits, privatizing their workplaces and downsizing them onto the unemployment line. A party that openly brags about cutting education spending. That's right, Republicans, I'm talking to you.
To paraphrase Pontius Pilate's line from Jesus Christ Superstar, "And what is this? Concern for teachers? Until now this has been noticeably lacking!"
Really, which is it? I thought you considered teachers the enemy, after all until today you called these people northeastern socialist union liberal scum. Isn't that what you've always said? Isn't that what you've cast your vote for, a war on education? Isn't that one of your conservative platform planks? Isn't cutting funding for school lunches, after school programs, tutoring, preschool, Head Start, art and music classes, and a host of other education needs part of your fiscal conservative agenda?
How in the face of this can you call yourself concerned or sympathetic? You sure as hell had no sympathy for them yesterday, or on November 6th when you were voting to screw them over. Is this anything like the concern you display for babies until they're born and then say to hell with them if they actually need anything in life? It's a hell of a double standard, but I suppose it's at least consistent.
Me, I've always been empathetic. I voted to keep their unions strong, their schools well funded, and their students well provided for. Even if that means taxing the rich a little more and maybe not funding the military quite so lavishly. I've believed in and voted for lower tuition costs and more inclusive and available and affordable higher education. I've voted for better pay and benefits for teachers so that more quality people are attracted to the profession, and more funding for schools so they can afford to hire more of them. I've voted for fewer students per classroom to enhance the educational experience, and for newer and better facilities and equipment for the same reason. I've put my money where my mouth is for many years before this tragic day. And not just during elections, either, throughout the year I sign petitions, advocate for causes, and lobby my elected officials on these and other important issues.
I've done what little is within my power to look out for the best interests of teachers and students, even if it costs a little more in taxes. I feel it's worth the investment and I'm happy to kick in what I can. That means that when I say I stand behind the teachers and students of Sandy Hook in this difficult time, I can do it with a clear conscience. Because I've always stood with them. I didn't just come late to the funeral party after having pissed on them while they were alive.
You say you feel for these teachers and students? Prove it. Because right now, given the things you've done and said and voted for in the past, I'm finding it a little hard to believe.