I hear a resounding silence

In the last few weeks I received a total of two comments from two different individuals concerning the following (first published in the middle of May).
‘And finally from a local seasoned citizen ?
‘On paying taxes for non-primary households, well, it’s my view that NO one over 65 should pay school taxes. We are on a very strict budget, Social Security only. I often can’t pay for needed medications or even enough food. Yet, I’m forced to pay for ‘darling? children who will never help us when we go down. How many times have my wife and I sat down and cried in desperation? Many times. We are always cold in winter and have even tried dog food once.
‘We have no one in school and never will. We will soon die without ever being able to have even a small vacation. I am very bitter. No, I don’t care what happens to the school kids. Will the school system help me when we can’t afford heat or drugs? What do you think? No one will help us, so why should we be forced to give our little money to the corrupt schools? There are states where old people do not pay school taxes. I wish we could move there! Sad all the time.?
The above was written for a column I penned just before the school elections of this past May. Basically, it was about schools and taxation.
The two individuals who took time out of their busy lives to contact me, Mark and Ida, were moved and sad that any member of our upper-crust society would be in this perdicament. They wanted to help, or at least offer assistance in finding assistance for this local couple.
We three, Mark, Ida and myself, were shocked when not a soul from the realm of public education made any effort to help this couple. Not a one.
Not one superintendent.
Not one principal.
Not one teacher. Not one student. Nada, zero, zippo. You would think somebody in public education would write just to dispel this couple’s misfortune as just being old and cranky. Or, to say, ‘It’s not our fault. Blame George Bush.? Or, more realistically, just to say, ‘We feel your pain, but are hands are tied. There is nothing we can do.?
I hear a resounding silence.
I guess when they say it’s all about the kids, they really mean it! My Lord, where is the empathy?
Yes, I know. It’s for the kids, how soon I forget.
The kids are our future. So whatever the price tag, we must pay, regardless of how much it hurts. I’m here to say it loud and clear (it may ruffle some feathers, but?): I do not want a future where old folks are tossed in the garbage heap of society just because they don’t produce like they used to, because they drive bad, have blue hair, wrinkles and walk slowly.
‘Sorry Gramps. You’re just a drain. Let’s go for a ride to a nice place where they make great green crackers.?
Anybody for a bit of Soylent Yellow and Blue?
I guess things are so hard for public educators that area superintendents make something over $100,000 a year, with yearly bumps in salary. What does the governor of the great state of Michigan make? How does $177,000 for Fiscal Year 2005 sound? What does the President of these here United States make? The toughest job on the planet gets the office holder $400,000 a year.
I know, I know. ‘Don, you don’t understand everything. You’re too simplistic,? you’re saying. My answer is, yes, how do we make it simple? Simple is good. Simple is do-able.
Don’t area schools direct students into some sort of community volunteer work to earn credit? Hmm — what can we do to help make our community a better place for all to live? Here’s a great idea that your school superintendent can take credit for: Educators working together with students to help those in need. At least go out and when you see a senior citizen, give them a smile and tell them thanks. What a great public relations coup when it comes time to dip deeper into folks? wallets.
Too much to ask, I guess.
And, as not to single out schools: Not a single area service group, charitable organization or church congregation stepped forward either.
As I calm down — I reckon had anybody responded, it would have been for naught. As I told Mark and Ida, the couple is from a generation that, at its core, despises a handout. A generation which feels it’s okay to help a neighbor down on his or her luck, but views asking for help as a slap in the face after years of productivity and hard work.
Gosh. I wasn’t gonna? write this column. I didn’t want to upset anybody. I guess I lied to myself.