My Turn: Consensus on whats important
I think way too much about the current state of affairs in this country, probably to a fault. If ignorance is bliss, I’m miserable. For example, Im paralyzed when trying to decipher my own opinions about local politics. It happened when the hospital begged for funds last year by playing into the community fears that if they did not pass Measure C, their loved ones would suffer. Okay, I get that. I dont want to have to travel to Reno for care either, but why do I have to pay for something the state should take care of for me? Especially since I have to pay (an absurd amount) when I actually use the hospital. It also happens every time the firefighters call me on the phone and beg for funding. When I explain that I am a teacher and my husband is a woodworker, hoping they will understand, the response is always; any little bit will help.I guess they missed the implication that we have no money to give. But what if there was a fire in my neighborhood? I would regret that I didnt give what little we had. Ugh, again I wonder why the state isnt providing enough funding for this crucial service. It is happening right now with Measure L. On the one hand, we need money for our schools, on the other, I dont understand why the country cant get their priorities straight so I dont have to pay for it myself. We are spending $5,000 a second in Iraq but cant come up with enough funds to upgrade classrooms and facilities in our broken schools? Oh, I know, the state and local coffers, not the federal government, have always funded schools, so Im comparing apples and oranges, right? Theyre still both fruit. You may have noticed that one angry citizen has posted anti-Measure L signs around town. They are cute, in a crazy-guy, hand-crafted sort of way. I have to give this citizen some credit for caring so much about the $80-plus a year they would have to fork over for the schools. I just wish more people cared about the billions being dished out for a seemingly endless war. Or, forget the war, what about the farm subsidy bill going through Congress; billions to farmers, whether they are suffering or not, and most of it going to the largest producers. How about the bailouts the government has given to corporations this year to save the economy? While we bicker over a hundred dollars here or there to improve our community, insane amounts of funds are distributed elsewhere.I wish the angry citizen with the homemade signs got together with other angry citizens with homemade signs and they brought two friends, and so on. Maybe then we would use our democratic powers not just to vote, but to come to a consensus about what is really important, and to change the priorities of this country from war, greed and power to health, education and safety. Until that happens, Ill remain frozen by the idea that while the government spends billions on values I cant relate to, my family will have to pay (literally) for what we value the most.Whitney Foehl is a historian and educator who lives and works in the Truckee-Tahoe region.
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