I have been watching a lot of my online friends across Canada and the US debating the various Republican hopefuls for the 2012 Presidential campaign. I have thrown in my own two cents a few times, but mostly, I've been sitting back and watching. the most interesting debates seem to come from the Bachmann vs Paul camps. It has really got me thinking about a lot of things - and many of those things are not good.
First off, I have to go back to the 2008 election in which of course Obama won but going back even before that, during the primaries, a lot of people were saying 'obama who?' because he was so unknown. Here he pops up against Hilary Clinton, whom everyone knows, and a lot of my friends who are now touting Bachmann were raving on and on about how little experience Obama had, how unknown he was prior to the primaries, and how he should not have even been in there because he had so little political experience, and very very little on the federal level (I believe only being in the senate since 2006/07?? forgive my brain malfunction).
Anyhow, fast forward to today, and I have a lot of friends pumping Bachmann. Who? Did they even know who she was 2 years ago? 1 year ago?? Seriously - I do not see a whole lot of difference between her political experience and Obama's. Yes, she was in the state senate for many years, but she has only been at the federal level since 2006 - about the same time as Obama. Does that make her suddenly more experienced? Because 5 years have passed instead of 1-2? Woooooo big difference. I would bet $$$ that half the people (or more) supporting her right now had absolutely no idea who she was 1-2 years ago. Yet they somehow see her been voted as the President of the United States next year?? Wow. I really do find that shocking. Personally, I cannot see myself saying 'President Bachmann' anytime soon. So why does she have such a huge following already? I don't get it.
Now, Ron Paul has been around for a very long time. Maybe a lot of his media coverage and things known about him by the general public are not all that great - but he has been in the political game on the state level and I believe a short stint here and there on the federal level since the 70s - and directly on a federal level for about 14 years now. Yet the Bachmann supporters cannot see "President Paul" in the future and say he is unelectable. Why? He has been elected in his riding over and over and over since 1997. He was elected in the 70s and 80s at the state level. His name is getting stronger and despite Bachmann being born in Iowa and buying her fans tickets during the leadup to the Iowa straw poll this past weekend, she only beat him by a mere 100 votes. Yet her supporters stand strong and firm that she is the ticket, she is 'the one'. Wow. That really shocks me.
But all Ron Paul stuff aside - I really have to wonder why some people do not see their own double standards. Slam the current president into the ground because of his 'inexperience' and then turn around and tout someone else who has only been in federal politics about the same amount of time as Obama. Call Obama an ideologue and then turn around and tout someone who has tried relentlessly to make gay marriage illegal (attempting several bills at her state level to make marriage between hetero couples only, for example, but failing). Back to Ron Paul - while he has stated his personal views that he believes marriage should be between a 'single man and a single woman', he does not believe that the federal govt has any say in that matter. He has also stated that he does not believe someone should have to acquire a marriage license and in a sense, permission to get married, from the govt. He has his personal values and beliefs, but is very careful on what the federal govt should be allowed to do about it. But he is a nutjob while Bachmann is in line to be the President of the United States, next year! - if you go with many (most?) of her supporters. Okay. Gee. Well....
it just baffles me, that's all.
I grew up in a Christian household and have my personal beliefs about religion - but one thing I decided a very long time ago, when I was 14 years old, was that it was not my business to expect anyone else to believe the same as me, or for me to force my beliefs on anyone else. That is how I feel about leaders of our countries as well. I don't give a rat's behind what religion they are - as long as they can manage to keep their political actions in line with what the govt is or is not allowed to do - without their personal/religious beliefs getting in the way. I argue with my mother several times a year over what she says to my children. It has boiled up to the point where I refused to let her see them for over a month because she was telling them that if they did not accept God into their lives at some point, they would go to hell. I was LIVID. SEETHING with anger at what she was trying to do to my kids. I left the church at 14 because I got sick of them telling me how to think, how to interpret the bible, how to counsel others (aka turn others to God, etc), and decided that what I believed within my own heart and soul was important, and not pushing it on others or having them push it on me - so why on earth would I think it's okay for the leader of my country, or by extension, the leader of the US, to push religious values on everyone - including people who are NOT of that religion at all? If I can barely stand it in my own small family unit, how can I think it would work on a national and international scale?
So to have someone so overtly Christian trying to push her values on her state over the years now trying to push them on the country as a whole... that just doesnt sit right with me. That is not what the govt is there for. I do not like abortion, I wish it was not an option other than in extreme cases (rape, incest, medical emergencies, etc), but I am not about to expect millions of other people to agree with me. It makes me sad, it makes me sick, I have given abortion awareness speeches in the past while in high school - but that is ME and MY belief - not everyone else's. Actually while I am on that topic - I personally do not believe abortion is a religious issue at all, I think it is a human issue and an important one - but again, I do not expect everyone to agree with me. I do not think the federal govt should be jumping around on the issue. How can the US possibly think that over 300 million people will eventually agree on it, or that their tiny percentage of representatives should decide it for them? But it becomes a hot button issue on both sides..... 'the left' saying that a woman's body is her own and she decides what to do with it and suffer no political or criminal consequences - akin to not wanting the fed govt to be involved - yet there is a huge cry-out if FEDERAL funding for planned parenthood or other women's clinics offering abortions is pulled. Sorry but you cannot have it both ways - you cannot say the feds should stay out of it, and then flip out if federal funding is cut. Duh?? Then 'the right' says abortions should be illegal - some riskier people saying even in rape cases, an abortion should not be legal because it's not the child's fault. Well I'm sorry but that should be up to the person involved. What if a married woman gets raped - she and her husband are supposed to go through this daily reminder of the assault by watching her stomach grow with 50% of the perpetrator's DNA growing inside? Gosh I can't imagine... each situation is case by case, individual - and while I cannot stand the idea in most cases, I cannot decide someone else's life for them. And neither should the government.
Everything has gone off the railes. the government has become the answer for everything! If there is a flood, in a low-lying area that has experienced floods before over and over, the people on tv say 'I hope the govt will provide aide'. Oh? Will that solve everything? Fix the house up so that it can be flooded out again next year? Yippppeeee! Somalia has been in turmoil for more than a decade and people forgot about it until it started showing up on the news again, so calls are coming in for aide. What happened to the aide that was sent years ago? What happened to the aide that has been sent every year since? If it didnt work 10 years ago, is it going to work now? Oh but the Canadian govt will match donations again! That worked for Haiti right? We sent about 150 million bucks there and it's all better now, right? What? It's not? It's still pretty much the same as it was 18 months ago? What? Oh and then there was the former Yugoslavia. I know that was going on for a few years before my oldest child was born because his father was sent to Bosnia for 6 months in 1997 to help with cleanup and restore things like telecommunications lines that had been destroyed. It's all better over there now though, right? What? There has been unrest brewing and fighting going on again? I saw that on a news ticker sneaking across the bottom of the screen last night - shhhhh don't tell anyone that our efforts over there 15 years ago have gone poof down the toilet, okay?
It's just relentless. Over and over. War, religious ideals, plain old regular ideals, rules, regulations, on and on it goes. When does it stop and how much are we supposed to allow or expect the federal govt to do, and how much are we willing to pay out of pocket for? I am mean - when people ask me if I am donating to the various 'Cause of the Week's, I say ' No thanks. I already did. The federal govt is sending my money over there on my behalf'. I get nasty stares but it is TRUE. I choose to donate locally, which may end up going to people who already receive govt assistance, but that is my choice. The feds and provincial and municipal govts already use some of my money however they see fit,giving it to various organizations I may or may not wish to support, so I think it is entirely fair to use more of my money how I see fit. Is that really so terrible?
Which brings me to my final rant - rules and regulations. Today my daycare had it's semi-annual inspection and we passed with flying colors, as usual. But at the end, the licensing officer made an interesting comment... we had 15 children (due to so many being on holiday, normally we have 21) and while we had the kids outside in the playground, she said 'It's a good thing you only have 15 today. 16 is the limit'.
I thought 'what the heck is she talking about?'. She pointed to a section on her list showing that we are only allowed to have 16 if we have a mixed age group. After she left, I dragged out the official Child Care Act and tried to make sense of what she said. Sure enough, buried deep in the umpteen zillion sections, I find a list showing that since we have a few children aged between 19 months and 3 years, when they are mixed with an older group of children, the total number cannot exceed 16 children - no matter how many staff we have on hand. Ok... but we are licensed for 21. So how does that work? It actually says that any group of children using any space in the center cannot exceed 18 (for the oldest children we can care for - up to age 6). So even if we only took children aged 4.5 to 6, we could not have more than 18 in 'a space'. Well - we have been open for almost 23 years now and we have never ever ever been told we cannot have more than 16 or 18 kids outside playing together at the same time. I have read those passages before, but I thought it meant in a group activity, or like in a classroom, etc. We split into groups of 6, 7, and 8 for our crafts, stories, etc. But when we play outside, we all go, or else the kids who are left indoors feel like the earth is falling down around them, or like they are being punished, left out, etc. We have a very small center with only one big room and 2 smaller rooms to play in - we all eat in the same kitchen area at 4 different tables, but still one 'space'. So what the heck does this regulation mean?
I would assume that in some centers, it has become a problem that older kids are barreling over toddlers and now they are cracking down on everyone and enforcing this regulation to the teeth - but how does that fare for a center who has NEVER had a child injured by a bigger kid running amuck? 23 years of doing this, and now we may be forced to change our tactics because of a few lines on a piece of paper? It is truly mindboggling.
This will also cause us some logistical problems. Let's say we split the groups and only send each out for a half hour. That does not work in a small center because, for example, if the carer outside has to use the washroom badly, she has to bring in all the children because there are no other adults outside to watch them. If the person left inside with a small group of children (ex, the toddlers) has to use the washroom, the same problems arises - no one is there to watch the kids. God help you if you have a sudden bad tummy and must dash to the potty! You cannot leave the kids alone, and you cannot take them outside or the other staffers will be 'over their limit' of 16. ARGH. Nothing in these kinds of regulations reflects real life. We only have 3 main staffers, one per group, and one part timer (me) who comes in from 11 to 3 to help with the lunch time rush, cleaning, and covering staff breaks. If my boss has to bring me in full time every day in order to keep up with this 'new' enforcement, the parents will have to pay a higher fee yet again. Maybe you don't care, but I do, because the govt is the one who made that regulation, not us. We try very hard to keep things as cheap as we can for parents but it's just not working anymore. We've had to increase fees 5 times in the last 5 years after going a decade without increasing ONCE! All largely thanks to govt interference. Now we may have to do it again. It's aggravating. I work there and bring my son there and can barely afford it already. How sad is that?? So after 22-23 years of service to the community, we are now left floundering a bit because of govt regulations that have never been brought up in the past. Were they not doing their job? Were we not doing our job? What happened? The licensing officer has been there before when we were totally full with 21 kids and all playing outside and she never said a thing. She sat right there on a bench watching us all and nope, nothing mentioned. The first thing they ask is how many kids we have, and how many of them are under 3, so it's not like they couldn't count or didn't realize. That has always been a standard Q when they show up. But today, for the first time ever, I was asked how many under 3, how many between 3 and 4.5, and how many over 4.5 I was like 'what? I don't know' and had to look at all the 4 year old's birthdays to figure out how many were over or under the 4.5 mark lol. I told her I have never been asked that EVER before and she just nodded. I know why - because they have only recently been told to take that regulation and enforce it to it's fullest, but she won't admit that out loud. No way. So she just pretended it was an every day normal thing instead. Our ratios at the center are always perfect or UNDER - never ever over, so I was thrown off. We can have 6 kids under 3 per staffer, so we only ever put 6 of them on our roster. We can have 8 between 3 and 4.5, and we can technically have ten between 4.5 and 6 but we only ever have 7 or 8 due to our space restriction of 21 total kiddos. So we have never been considered 'over ratio' in more than 2 decades - but suddenly now we are? WTF? I don't get it and it's going to give us a major headache until we can work around it.
Oh crap, now I thought of another rant. I was watching news about the horrible stage collapse in Indiana and it immediately reminded me of a similar event in Alberta a few years ago where the stage collapsed during the Big Valley Jamboree near Camrose, just as Kevin Costner and his band were set to perform in fact. A huge burst of wind tore it apart, injuring band members and killing a woman. Kevin Costner visited the injured people. I remember all that. But just in this past couple of weeks, a court found that the stage company was at fault, due to some whatever they found - perhaps some shoddy workmanship on the stage? some regulation they didnt' follow? Who knows - but whatever the case they are in trouble. And I wondered immediately if the same would happen to whoever put up the stage for the Sugarland concert. They should be warned! That's all I can say - but here is my rant. People were angry that the concert was not evacuated sooner. Um - were they all blind and deaf? No disrespect to blind and deaf people meant here - but those attending the concert were most likely capable of seeing the storm moving in, hearing the weather forecast before they left, checking their cell phone apps for the instant weather warnings and updates, perhaps getting IMs or emails on their cells from concerned family/friends - yet THEY CHOSE TO STAY THERE. I am not saying the people who were injured or died deserved what they got - it was a horrible thing to watch on the news. Unreal! But people are blaming the concert organizers? WHY? Do you need a concert organizer, a state fair rep, to come out on stage and tell you to evacuate? Or do you open your eyes and your ears and get the hell out of there all on your own with that awful black sky moving in over your head? Seriously people - not only are we hoping the govt is going to save us, but we are standing around like a bunch of cattle waiting for someone else to guide us, even if it's a concert rep at a state fair. PLEASE tell me I am wrong about this?? Big Valley Jamboree was the same - weather people had been watching this storm move in and warning that it might hit around Camrose during the concerts, but people chose to stay. I remember because my friend lived there at the time and was going to go but decided not to chance being stuck with thousands of other people during a storm, in the middle of a big field.... But with others, they stay and hope that they wont waste their ticket money, you stay because you really wanted to see 'that band', but when the crap hits the fan because a big storm is moving in and you can SEE it, you blame someone else for your misfortune? I really do not understand that. It's a terrible tragedy, but it's not like the stage fell down in the middle of perfect weather for no reason other than shoddy workmanship- the sky on those news vids is BLACK and rolling and horrible looking. I read that the wind might have been as high as 60-70MPH! Why do you need some announcer guy to come out to tell you to run? It reminds me of someone buying hot coffee and spilling it on their crotch while driving, and blaming the restaurant. Sorry - but it does.
Ok I should have made several different posts but it's too late now, and even though I thought of one more thing, I have to go to bed. Gotta work in 7 hours!