Editors Note: This is the latest guest post from our Education Contributor Dr. Nicole Walters. This time around, she chimes in on statements Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney made about teachers, firefighters, and police. -M.P.
Is Romney For Real?
by Dr. Nicole McZeal Walters
I am typically a bit cynical when it comes to politics. My interest is not as intense as my husband’s who loves telling me, “Nicole, if you ever wanted to run for office, you would really need to brush up on the issues!” Then I sarcastically remind him that neither did Sarah Palin and she got pretty far, heck she was nearly the Vice President of the United States! Of course any mention of Sarah Palin in any conversation with my husband usually ends with him rolling his eyes, telling me, “You really want to be compared to SARAH PALIN?!”, then an expletive ending with him forbidding me from mentioning her name in our house ever again.
Oh, but this novice knows some issues. I know the issues that relate to police officers, fire fighters, educators and other government workers. It’s my business. It’s what I do. I’m an educator! Most Americans are typically culturally sympathetic people to public workers, because we are essentially, community helpers. So when I heard all the brouhaha over Mitt Romney’s recent comment that Obama wanted to hire more government workers stating, “Did he not get the message in Wisconsin? The American people did. It’s time for us to cut back on government and help the American people” my first thought was, “What America does he live in?” I am cogently aware that this category of workers serve as a tricky occupational category for many Republicans (I don’t want to say ALL—why, some of my closest friends are Republicans!) so in order to illustrate the sheer ineptness of this posture, I have to borrow Amy Poehler and Seth Myer’s Saturday Night Live parody, REALLY?!”
Mitt Romney, are you the same man who visited a fire station recently in May and then regaled $1,000 per plate attendees of the plight of fire fighters, many of whom work second jobs to make ends meet? We should pay them a bit more! Yet in another campaign speech you said, “We will stop the unfairness of government workers getting better pay and benefits than the taxpayers they serve.” REALLY?! MITT?!, REALLY?! Public sector jobs are continuing to decline even as private sector jobs continue to rise and the people who are the backbone of our society are being laid off. Do you think they should languish in middle America hell?! REALLY, MITT?! REALLY?! Come on, man!
Those working class fire fighters, teachers, and police officers who toil in oftentimes thankless positions deserve fair and ethical treatment—and a pay commiserate with the hazardous duties they have to fulfill. Now before some of you start to say teachers don’t deal with hazardous situations, have you visited some of our public schools? Middle schools? Enough said! No one is looking for a handout. We just want to feed our families, pay our taxes, and live these American values we hold sacred: the inalienable right to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness. Really.