Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Letter to the Governor

Normally, I keep my political and religious beliefs to myself because hey, nosey, that's my business. Today, however, after an article in the L.A. Times about proposed education money being redirected towards the massive state deficit, I was quite compelled to speak out. Below is the letter I signed, sealed and sent to my governor.

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger,

I hope you’re well today, sir. I am sorry to do this now, what with November rapidly approaching, but I’m afraid I’m going to have to break up with you. I know. I’m not happy about it, either.

I had so much hope for us, you see – I was sure when I voted for you that you would bring our beloved state back to her former glory. You’ve done a lot of wonderful things during your tenure as governor, and every time you did, I cheered for you. Perhaps not loudly enough, which is my failing, and I take responsibility for that. Furthermore, I can appreciate that the scope of difficult decisions presented to you on a daily basis is far beyond my own understanding, and nothing is ever so simple as black and white, is it? I don’t pretend to be a politician and I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but for a long time I truly felt that we could be good together; our hearts were in the right place. We both love this state and want to see her thrive again.

Lately though, I’ve been much more concerned about you. About us. I haven’t been able to understand your priorities, and while I am a woman who likes surprises, your behavior this past year has been all too surprising – and not in that good, “I brought you flowers!” kind of way. I normally don’t say much about it, especially about the budget, because everyone makes mistakes! Balancing one of the largest economic budgets in the world cannot be an easy task, and despite agreeing with you on certain issues, I feel that our priorities have changed again. As a young woman, I am patently more concerned with our children than you seem to be. That’s okay; some men just don’t feel a very strong paternal instinct, and I don’t fault you for that. I do, however, feel that I need to let you know that cutting proposed education dollars cannot be the answer. I agree that spending needs to be cut, but by investing more money in criminal justice and corrections, you are treating a symptom of the problem and not the cause, which is an education that lacks funding, creativity and so importantly, passion. Just as unemployed adults crave the motivation to get out of bed in the morning because they want to have a job, a purpose, to feel worthwhile, children need to find the motivation to get out of bed and go to school. Can you imagine being a somewhat misguided 14-year old boy whose only sense of pride stems from a caring teacher who was laid off, or from a woodshop program that was cut in an effort to spend more money on standardized testing? Bright students are getting lost in the shuffle of larger class sizes, making the rewards for excellence feel insubstantial. Troubled students are reinforced with negative attention or worse, ignored altogether. Administrators, teachers and the students themselves have started to abandon hope. I was one of the last of my generation to enjoy those waning artistic outlets and I assure you, they made a world of difference in my education. As a tax-paying resident of California, I can honestly tell you that I would not mind an increase in taxes, provided that I could be more satisfied with where they are going. Education, I believe, needs to be more of a priority than the sizable chunks of money invested in immigration issues and prison systems, but I think that’s where we have reached our impasse.

The bottom line is, I think we’re both ready to move on. This relationship has felt stale and defective for some time, and I’m convinced now that we want different things for our future. I’m not leaving you on bitter terms, sir, and I hope you’ll feel the same about your final months in office. I just want more hope for our state, because that is what has kept me here so long. I believe that we have the tools here to pull ourselves out of this sad state of affairs; we just have to figure out the best ways to use them. To that end, I think we can still agree.

In kindness, respect, and hope,

The Average Broad

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