So there’s a lot going on in the world today. Between riots and massacres in the Middle East, surging oil prices, and labor disputes here in the Midwest, it’s easy to feel as if everything is coming unraveled. There’s a feeling of panic in the air that’s hard to dismiss. I feel it all around me, like an unspoken tension hanging in the room. Some are scared that it’s the end of days, that Mayan or Biblical prophecies are coming true and that all we are seeing right now is a precursor to Armageddon.
Personally, I don’t believe that’s so. I believe we’re simply in a transitional period between eras, and all of this turmoil and tension is a side effect of one era ending and another beginning. The age of oil is dying. For many years, the argument against alternative energies has been that economically they are too cost prohibitive and oil is too cheap. Now, the pendulum is shifting the other direction. Oil is simply becoming too expensive and too tumultuous to sustain. Those with a vested interest in maintaining the status quo are trying desperately to maintain their grip on power, but the tide of change cannot be undone. Their regime is coming to an end.
I don’t fear the dark days ahead. Many years ago, I made peace with the fact that our society was going to implode. You simply can’t sustain a democracy when the majority of your population can’t thrive in your economy. You can’t sustain an economy when the majority of the jobs pay poverty level wages. The supply side guys always seem to forget to look at the other side of the equation. It’s supply and demand, and without both, the system grinds down. Without a vibrant consumer class, there’s no one to buy what the supply side produces, and I’ve never quite figured out why that concept is so hard for some to figure out.
I also believe that we are about reap what we have sewn as a society and a culture. Instead of embracing discipline, intelligence, and rational thought, we’ve chased greed, superficiality, and superstition. We spend ten minutes on the morning news discussing Justin Beiber’s haircut while our infrastructure crumbles. Anyone else having images of Nero with his fiddle? While athletes and entertainers rake in millions, we pay police officers, firefighters, and teachers substandard wages, yet scratch our heads as to why nothing works as it should.
And now education is under heavy siege once again. I’ve heard thoughtful, intelligent friends of mine say that they don’t believe their tax dollars should go to education because they either homeschool or send their children to private schools. Why should their tax dollars go to a system they don’t even utilize, they ask. Sure, on the surface they aren’t using the system directly, but I’d be willing to bet that when they hire someone at work, they expect that person to know how to read and write. When they go to a grocery store, they expect the cashier to be able to count back correct change. The role of public education isn’t just to educate your children. It’s to educate everyone so that we have a skilled workforce, one that can compete and innovate and reinvent the economy.
The only change I can make and the only real impact I can have is with myself. I have the power to create this farm and be part of the solution. I’ve held back the tide for as long as I can in education, fighting the good fight to pass along my knowledge and love of language. I simply don’t have it in me to take yet another pay decrease or take on even more responsibilities. My plan is in motion, and I’m not looking back.
Today, we received two donations for the farm–one from an anonymous donor and one from Joel Gates of Green Gates Entertainment. Joel has long been a supporter of these Ramblings, and we’re very grateful to have his endorsement for the farm. Please, check out his blog and thank him for me.