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Friday, January 20, 2012

Who writes this?

In a polarized society there is also the trend for people to assume everyone else is as set as they are.

Natural and understood.

But wrong.

The purpose of this blog, of challenging discussion at the college level, of balanced and academic research, of learning to listen and developing needed critical thinking skills is to open up to contradictions, develop empathy for the other "side", investigate new things, see things from different angels, develop tolerance and be able to compromise or build in toward a less one sided dictatorial future.

I do not write this blog.

I do write some of it, but more often I rewrite, paraphrase, quot or provide leads to links to views that may or may not be mine.

I respect opinions from others that are not mine, and as long as they are reasoned, make an effort to be balanced and are not one track, I will post them.

The difference between a blog like this and the numbers generating blogs used in the media, is that I am not obliged to let the constant bombardment of one sided views, responses that show that the poster did not read the material they are responding to, or responses that do not directly address the material in the original post or someone elses' response, be published.

I admit my bias, as a fifth generation unionist who is in his 17th year on the National Board of Directors of a union, the Screen Actors Guild. On Wisconsin I am solidly on the side of collective bargaining as needed for the advancement of the poor and working class against the sizable money and power represented by big business and industry supported special interests groups. That does does not mean that unions do no harm, that they are Lilly white and pure.

As an educator who does this as a service and passion for the community, the field and students, I earn under $18,000 a year. Even teachers who earn $36,000 to $70,000 year earn every dime in continued education, experience and passion for that they do.  Arguments about bloated educator incomes do not fly, despite there being a hand full of educators who do earn salaries well above what some may think warranted (usually due to seniority, dedication, costly education and expertise). So I am less open to Tea Party claims that education can be cut, or that social services are not needed in our modern society.

My wife is an MSW Licenced Social Worker, dedicated to her clients, who sees the need for social services each and every day in a way that those slashing budgets seem to blind to (again those with the funds seldom even see those who are in need). She helps others at relatively low pay, working long hours and with all of her heart and passion (as a result of and as a graduate of the Social Work program at UNLV that is now on the chopping block under the governor's budget).

I do believe in the need to provide low cost or free educational, health, mental health and other assistance for low income and even working class individuals and families. The cost of not doing so is far higher on the back end than the cost of preemptive service. Plus all human beings deserve a right to no starve, to shelter and to basic assistance (see Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs).

I am well read enough to know that the society we live in is not a barn raising, live close to Grandma, live off the land society. That went away with industrialization. The land of the founding fathers is not our country today, although the principles of liberty, democracy, an educated electorate, peaceful dissent and a legal system remain strong and close to my heart and beliefs.

I am a union democrat who is pro-life, who is resistant to much but not all that is "politically correct", and whose best friends have all been Republicans or Libertarians.

So yes, I have bias, and the right to reflect it in this blog and its postings.

But the blog is intended to make you think, to get you to understand other sides, for you to open yourself to the structure and challenges of communication and the social services. That means learning how to listen as well as present your case, how to compromise or at least offer olive branches from time to time.

Ask questions. Feel free to discuss this in e-mail or class.

And thank you for your understanding.

But keep in mind that not everything in or on this blog is my opinion or my work. It is a collection for the purposes indicated.

Use the links and continue to suggest new links and ideas.

Thank you;

Art Lynch


Leavittfamilyfun said...

I personally know several people who sit at home collecting a Government paycheck. A few of them have even turned down work because they considered it beneath their skill level, not enough pay or it's a lot more easy and fun to do nothing while receiving free money, (in their words). Free money that has been paid by honest, hard-working people. Some of these people I know earn side money "under the table" dishonestly reporting no income and enjoying all their guilty pleasures of take out, Cable T.V., etc. I'm sorry ... this is a huge problem and I have a problem with it. It seems that Government "handouts" breed this type of attitude. An attitude of laziness and eventually helplesness. I do not have a problem giving and consider it a duty to do so, but not to people who refuse to help themselves. There are obvious exceptions to people who truly can't help and for them I gladly donate, but I also know several physically and mentally challenged individuals who do contribute to society and love the feeling they get by being able to do so. Is this system the best we can do?

Art Lynch said...

The purpose of the post was not to spark discussion on one little topic, but to explain the blog and why it exist, and to make it clear that the views are not all mine nor is it written by me. Interesting you picked up one point and started a discussion instead of commenting on the overall message of the blog.

As an MSW and church goer, my wife has worked with the people who are projecting to not want to work. They do. Our society rejects them and keeps them from working, or in some cases real mental illness (including alcaholism. Post Tramatic Stress and other problems). The need for assistance and a safety net is real.

It is easy to project, but when you actually work with the poor or homeless it is quite a different story.

Churches are overwhelmed.

FYI this does not impact grade or topics, as you are trying to do what is intended. I just stepped in because of first hand knowledge of homelessness, poverty and what life on the bottom is really like.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with you about the fact that some of us are not focusing much on the contents of some of the blogs and we are commenting on things that are totally irrelevant to the actual subject. No disrespect to anyone, but, sometimes I read other students' comments and I notice that they are missing the whole point. I think we need to slow down and read the blogs a couple of times before we choose to make any comments.

Marga Bechtel