I need to finish this off. With this post I come to the end of LaMonte Fowler's points. (Loud cheers!) The series in response to the Fowler essay starts here.

Poor people need help. If you’re not helping them but complaining about how the government helps them with your money you are not a nice person.

Granted, people need help. We all do at times, some more than others. No one disputes that. The issue is, what really constitutes help?  It's a very complex issue that has produced no end of books and papers and Ph.D.'s and still an unconscionable amount of money has been spent doing no good or outright harm. That's no excuse for not being generous—but a good reason to exercise wisdom. It's funny how the same people who (correctly) rail at government waste when it comes to the military get upset when someone questions government waste in social programs. (And vice versa.)  

Be nice to the people who teach your children. Don’t send them nasty emails or yell at them. Their job is 10,000 times harder than your stupid job. You are not a professional educator so just shut your mouth and be thankful someone is willing to teach your offspring.

Ouch. This one is almost too personal, and too nasty, to answer. I'm 100% with him on not yelling at teachers—or parents, or even at people who yell at teachers. I greatly admire classroom teachers because I know I would not be a good one. But his hyperbole doesn't help. And much as I appreciate the good teachers out there, I will not be thankful for a system that tries to take from me one of the very best jobs in the world—teaching my offspring.

You don’t know what Common Core is. You think you do, but you don’t unless you’re a teacher. So stop complaining about math problem memes on Facebook. You can’t do the math anyway.

Anyone with an Internet connection can read the Common Core standards; you certainly don't have to be a teacher. Granted, some people confuse the standards with particular implementations, and get a little too hot under the collar, but that technicality doesn't mean their concerns are meaningless. And yes, I can do the math, despite growing up in the 1950's. Standards are good; forcing children to learn in one particular way is not. Especially since every "one right way" we've discovered seems to be supplanted in a few years by another "one right way."

ISIS is not an existential threat to the United States. We do not need to rebuild our military. Our military is the strongest, scariest, most badass killing machine the world has ever seen. So stop being afraid and stop letting politicians and pundits scare you.

If he really believes that about our military, I have two words for him: Genghis Khan. If I had to choose between being a civilian on the opposing side, I'd face the U.S. military any day over that conqueror. Or ISIS. Hmmm, that would be an interesting encounter: Genghis Khan vs. ISIS. Who wants the movie rights?

Stop being suspicious of American Muslims. The guy sitting next to you in the cubicle at work is probably more of a threat to you than any Muslim since he has to listen to your uninformed ranting day after day.

I've had my own encounters with people bad-mouthing Muslims in general, and my usually response is to suggest they come back to me after they've actually read the Qur'an and made a Muslim friend. But there is a clear and present danger out there, and it has claimed the name of Islam, so I find it hard to blame people who are nervous. The best solution I can think of is my constant refrain:  we need to know each other better. When we only interact with people who are like us, we build the walls higher.

Guns do in fact kill people. That’s what they are designed to do. If you feel you need a gun to protect yourself in America, you are probably living in the wrong neighborhood and should move before you go out and buy a gun. There are like a billion places to live where you won’t need a gun, or even need to lock your front door.

I wonder where he would suggest living. And how many of his billion places are near to where the jobs are. And affordable. People in the worst neighborhoods are unlikely to be able to pick up and move—or they would have done it already. It's probably true that more people have guns than need them—I know the gun control threats have driven many to buy guns and get their licenses who otherwise felt little need, just to be ready in case the need arises. I don't like guns. But guns help level the playing field between strong and weak, male and female, criminal and citizen. Until that need is eliminated, banning guns will probably do more harm than good.

If you do own a gun, then make sure you know how to use it really, really, really well. Seriously... get some training because you still don’t know how to record stuff with your DVR. Go to the gun range and shoot the thing a lot. Learn how to clean it properly and be able to disassemble it and reassemble it with your eyes closed. It’s a freaking gun and it deserves that level of care, proficiency and respect. And for God’s sake, keep it locked up and away from your kids.

Barring the abusive language, I'm with him on this one. Guns are tools that need to be respected and used properly. With rights come responsibilities. There was a time when even a child could be trusted with a gun, because he'd been taught how to handle it. Not so much anymore.

If you are even a little bit unhinged or pissed off... you shouldn’t have a gun. And the Founding Fathers would totally agree with me.

Granted, you have to know yourself. If you have a hair-trigger temper, or are abnormally fearful, or inclined to impulsive actions, or to take unnecessary risks, owning a gun is probably something you should avoid, as an alcoholic avoids taking a drink. If you can't control yourself, you probably can't control a gun. But I'm not at all sure that some of our Founding Fathers weren't little unhinged, and they were definitely angry. 

Stop sharing Facebook memes that tell me to share or else Jesus won’t bless me with a laundry basket full of cash. That’s not how prayer works. And I don’t want money delivered (even from God) in a laundry basket. Nobody ever washes those things out and they just keep putting nasty dirty clothes in them. Yuck!

Oh, hooray!  I can be very thankful that my Facebook friends are so much nicer than hisI have never had such a meme shared with meBut if he thinks that in an exchange between a laundry basket and a pile of cash, it's the money that gets dirty, he doesn't know much about filthy lucre.

We are the United States of America, and we can afford to... house every homeless veteran, feed every child, and take in every refugee and still have money left over for Starbucks and a bucket of KFC.

No, we can't. This is as foolish as the idea that we can win all wars, make the world safe for democracy, and fix all the broken countries in the world. Have you never heard of bankrupt millionaires?  Lottery winners who five years later are worse off than before they bought the winning ticket?  With wisdom, we could do better than we are doing now. But spending money as if it were endless is guaranteed to prove that it isn't.

 

I'm sure Fowler meant well in writing his essay. I did, too. But I'm done, and glad to be done. I need something more uplifting to write about....

Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, September 30, 2016 at 3:17 pm | Edit
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