Alright–first post. I hope whoever happens to stumble onto this blog enjoys what I’m throwing out. I’d like this to serve as a platform for what I care about, but also to hear from others. If you have a comment, positive or negative, shoot it up there. I only as that a certain level of decorum and sophistication guide your responses. You can disagree, but do so pleasantly. Just like life–hating someone’s ok, just keep it to yourself.
Since I began this blog as a charge to stop watching and start doing, I’m going to make my first post a call to action: read the speech I helped out with, given last night by Kate, our Ohio Educators’ Association’s chapter’s president, and if it moves you, leave a word or two. Better yet, go to http://weareohio.com/landing/rnvidhome.html and see what you can do to help.
No on Issue 2
October 6, 2011
First, I’d like to thank all of you for coming!
Second, I’d like to thank you all for voting no on Issue 2!
As president of our local chapter of the Ohio Educators’ Association, I’m used to speaking for a large group of people. They put their trust in me to tell the truth, enforce the moral standards implied by my position, and look out for the common good of those in my care.
I’m used to speaking not for myself but for the collective group.
Tonight, however, I want to speak to you as myself, as Kate Bowers.
I want to tell you now, and I want to be honest: I’m afraid. I’m afraid and I am angry. And to explain to you why I’m afraid and I’m angry I need to step away from my role as Union President and speak to you as a wife, mother, taxpayer, and fellow citizen of the state of Ohio.
I am afraid and angry because I am faced to confront a legislature that has decided that the top 2 percent of this state should continue to thrive at the expense of the working majority, a legislature that has given away hundreds of millions of dollars in corporate tax breaks, then wrote a bill that guts the middle class in order to subsidize it. I am afraid and angry because I am forced to stand up and confront a legislature that provides loopholes and escape clauses for the elected officials and upper management so they will have to sacrifice nothing. I am afraid and angry because I am forced to confront a legislature that believes that this is a correct, ethical, moral way to treat other human beings.
I am afraid and angry because I am forced to explain and defend my job. For the past six months, the people who protect, educate, and care for the people of this state have been taken to task and asked to defend their livelihoods, their careers and calling. We have been forced to show the powers that be why we are important, why our jobs are worth the money, worth the time, and worth the trouble a collective voice demands. Of course, this is nothing new, or we wouldn’t have had to unionize in the first place, but I am afraid and angry because I may have to face a world where my day-in-day-out is dictated by people who do not have the first clue how to teach a child, solve a crime, insert an IV, or save someone from a burning building.
I am afraid and angry because I am being blamed for a problem I did not cause. I am afraid and angry because the world I cherish could change forever.
But do you know what? I can live with that world. I can live in a world like that because I am a teacher and I’m used to making due with less.
I told you it was my charge to be honest, and approach you as bluntly as I can. So here goes:
I am afraid and angry because my children could be forced to live in a world where their education, safety, and care is based not on the extent of their need but the bottom line. That they could be in a classroom that is incapable of teaching them, in a town incapable of protecting them, and a hospital incapable of giving them the care they need. I will not—WILL NOT—submit to a piece of legislation that puts my family in danger, that puts my kids at risk of growing up in a society that can look them in the eye and say, without blinking: we care more about the money in our pockets than the children in our neighborhoods. We are willing to put you in an overcrowded classroom, protect you with an overworked police officer, and trust your life to an understaffed emergency room because what’s the lives of many compared to the comfort of a few?
That’s what makes me afraid and angry, that’s what I wanted to tell you, and that’s why I’m voting no on Issue 2.
It’s not about me. It’s about us.