If you haven’t noticed there ‘s a huge debate taking place. This debate is over values. Whose values will our world, country, community, and families follow. If you’ve been awake, you would have seen the debate going on at the workplace, around your holiday tables, on TV, on bumper stickers, and just about everyplace you go. You may think it’s over an election, or who has the best TV show, or which sneakers you should buy, but it’s not. It’s about values.
2012 we will see people struggle with the issue of values in our society. Do we elect those who agree with our values or are we electing those who seem to agree with them. Are we aware of our own values that we easily recognize them in others, or we confused, or being confused into thinking our values are what we actually see?
Let’s look at some specific examples..
I will start with education because as an educator I often see values as one of the driving forces in the current debate on education reform. One area often claimed by proponents of change is that teachers should teach values and character education. Why just last night a candidate for President, Santorum said, ‘values should be taught in school’. I wish I was able to ask him, whose values should we teach? His? The same values that said the federal government shouldnot be involved in education? The same values that spout the poor should just lift themselves out of poverty? Are these the values we should teach?
Do we value a good education for all children? If so why aren’t we willing to spend what is needed to combat poverty? Why do we see class sizes rising? Why are teachers under attack? So what do we value?
Do we value having good teachers in our classes? If so, then why does it cost so much to get a good college education? Why aren’t we willing to offer salaries that can draw the best and the brightest?
Do we value what teacher’s teach? Why do we allow textbook publishers distort history in order to appease a small group of people in Texas? Why has their been a huge debate about a core curriculum? Why have we given over segments of our schools to corporations?
Do we value our schools? If so, why do we rip resources out of our school budgets and hand them over to corporate concerns. Why do we allow those without an education background to drive education policy. Why did we in NY appoint a charter school advocate to oversee our public schools?
Do we value our children? Then why would we subject them to hours of test prep, and then hours of standardized testing that really doesn’t assess what they know effectively? Why don’t we eliminate child poverty? Why don’t we pour every resource we can muster to defeat childhood diseases. Why don’t we provide healthcare for all our children? Why don’t we fund pre-K and head start programs effectively?
If we value our children why do some GOP candidates advocate that poor children should be out working, cleaning schools, flipping burgers, instead of learning and being nurtured by our society?
Do we value our community? If so why do we have fences? Why is it that when people walk down the street they often don’t even say hello? Why do we send people to congress to represent our interests and not our neighbors’? Do we value community or just our community?
Do we value communities that are suffering with foreclosures, poverty, crime, etc. Do we value them enough to share resources to help them and lift them out of despair? Do we value our community by offering a hand and volunteering? Or do we just say as a recent GOP candidate said, let foreclosures run their course?
Do we value or community by ensuring all those in our community have adequate healthcare, that they have heat in the winter, food on their tables, clothes on their backs? Or do we say that we have to stop talking about entitlements?
I can go on and on.
In 2012, we are going to see a battle over values like we haven’t seen since the early 1900’s. Disguised as fighting for Judea-Christian values, we’ll be seeing anything but. My hopes that we will survive, are bolstered by the faith that good conquers evil.
I believe our great society will wake up in 2012, recognize what Judea-Christian values really are, and demand that all of our values are warranted . Not just the values that guarantees profits and power for some.
Have a wonderful and value filled new year!