The oaths have been taken, the Speaker’s gavel has passed from Democrat to Republican in the House, and new members flocked to TV cameras to blather about the “new day” in Washington. Republicans railed about how this new 112th Congress will repeal laws passed by the Democratic majority on Obama’s behalf; Democrats vowed, “not over our dead bodies.” They are all now ensconced in the U.S. Capitol for the next two years of President Obama’s term. Hold on to your seats. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.
As soon as he received the gavel from Democrat Nancy Pelosi making him the new Speaker of the House, Ohio Representative John Boehner promised the American people that the 112th Congress would give them their country back. I never did know who got it and where they took it. Oh, yes, Tea Party supporters blame President Obama what some would call, his “gang of thieves.”
Republican California Congressman Darrell Issa recently said unwisely, “Obama is one of the most corrupt presidents in modern times.” Later he backtracked and said, “The Obama Administration is one of the most corrupt in modern times.” Has Rep. Issa forgotten about President Nixon and the Watergate scandal? Or President Reagan’s selling arms to Iran, an avowed enemy of the United States?
But Issa promises, as the new chair of the Government Reform and Oversight Committee, that he will dig deep to ferret out Obama “corruption,” while his colleagues try to make good on their promises to the Tea Party, corporate America, and the hard right GOP base, to upend everything the President has done, good or bad.
But what about the jobs? The unemployment rate has gone down, thank you kindly, but before the 112th was seated. I didn’t hear any Republicans talk about the country’s greatest challenge, getting Americans back to work. All the talk was about getting Obama.
I contemplate all of this after reading a report that at least seven states are experimenting with a four-day school week. Six others are considering it.
Because the economy has left most of our states nearly bankrupt, the shortened school week is cutting school budgets by 20 percent in the cost of transportation, heating and staff. The school days are longer, like 8:15 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. But Fridays are off. Let our children’s education pay the economic burden? Do we really want to do that?
Recent statistics show that among 34 nations, American 15-year-olds ranked 25th in math and 17th in science and reading. Chinese students, you might have guessed were number one in both categories. The last thing our kids need is less school.
While Congress fiddles with scores to settle, our children’s academic achievement continues its slow burn. The 112th should take heed, but it won’t. There’s too much money to be had from wealthy special interest groups. Our children don’t have any cash to spread into the pockets of those members of Congress who have little interest in the least of them. Children are still our future. Neglect them, neglect America.