One of the summer classes that I teach ended this past week. It was a first semester US History class, giving an overview of the development of the US to the time of the Civil War. In every class I teach now, I inevitably receive dozens of pleas from my students asking for clemency for their inability to earn a good grade. (Of course, none of them actually use the word "clemency" in their whining and pleading since their English education never got past a sixth grade vocabulary.)
Here's a typical example:
Hi, I realize that I turned in my assignment late, I was working longer hours at work this last weekend and couldn't get around to turning in my assignment on time. I really need to pass this class in order to continue on to [another university]. If I could at least get partial credit for my assignment I would truly appreciate it. My missing and late assignments are due to working late and not finishing them on time. Let me know if I can please turn in the assignments for at least partial credit. Getting a passing grade in this class is crucial for my academic advancement.As I said, this is typical. Notice the lack of personal responsibility this student exhibits. Notice the blame projected to longer hours at work. Notice the comma splices in the first sentence. Notice the reason the student "needs" to get a good grade - it is "crucial" to academic advancement. After all, she really, really needs a good grade, so I should just give it to her.
The student wants me to change the rules because they are inconvenient for her. They get in the way of her grades. Changing them is crucial to her achievement.
I get dozens of these every semester, essentially asking me not to "ruin" their grade because some unforeseen, external problem has prevented them from doing the work or getting the correct answer.
The excuses fly after every assignment: my car died; my roommate's boyfriend broke up with her; I was called unexpectedly to work; my grandmother died; I couldn't find the book; my computer hard drive crashed (and I had to destroy it); I had to bail my friend out of jail; the assignment was too hard; I searched everywhere but couldn't find any information about John Locke; I ran out of time; I need a good grade.
Those excuses were all from this past summer term. Well, except the one about destroying the hard drive, but I figure if the IRS can use that excuse, then my students won't be far behind in borrowing the idea.
When I first started teaching years ago, very few of my students made excuses for earning poor grades or for failing to turn in an assignment. They seemed to understand that they had to earn grades, rather than having grades given to them, like some sort of Obama phone handout. The fact is, that over the years as schools have become more and more obsessed with standards and assessments, the only real lesson we've taught our students is that they have to beg, borrow, or steal good grades by annoying their teachers.
Which brings me to the point of all this - the neo-liberal concept of entitlements. Neolibs have preached the gospel of oppression for so long, that its love child - entitlement - has grown into a leviathan which robs children of self worth, steals away initiative, mortgages our future, and destroys the foundations of America.
Oppression and entitlement dogmas backwash from modern English and history textbooks like a plugged toilet. Perched atop the throne of "equality," they inherently create huge class distinctions and a double standard of inequity. Its adherents and sycophants find every opportunity to blame others for misfortune, never taking responsibility for their own actions.
It's bad enough that my students make excuses and lay blame on everything but the real problem - themselves. It's worse when the leaders of our nation refuse to take responsibility for their poor decisions and bad actions.
Since day one of his presidency, Barack Obama has complained about opposition to him, to his policies, to the poor state of the economy, and to the governing of a nation. First it was Bush who created all the problems in the world. Next, Obama blamed Bush for all of his problems, since it worked so well the first time around.
When blaming Bush for All Evil in the world failed to excite the sycophants, Obama turned to blaming Republicans in general, as though each and every Republican stood as a barrier to him in stopping the rise of the oceans and the healing of the planet.
"Wo is me," he says again and again.
[Republicans] don’t do anything, except block me and call me names. If they were more interested in growing the economy for you and the issues that you are talking about instead of trying to mess with me, we would be doing a lot better.Oh boo hoo.
Is this the president of the United States? Unfortunately, yes.
This is also the man who is a High Priest of oppression theology, of entitlement dogma. This is someone who wants to convince us to change the rules. Why? Because the rules are inconvenient to him. They are unfair to his achievements. He doesn't want to get a bad grade.
It's not about what is right and good for the country with entitlement politicians. It is all about them.
As Obama has shown, if he doesn't like the rules, he changes them or ignores them.
Are the healthcare laws politically inconvenient? *POOF* With a wave of his magic pen, Obama makes them go away, or at leasts kicks them down the road so they'll be politically inconvenient for the next president.
Have terrorists stormed the US consulate and killed our ambassador? *POOF* Send in a lackey to blame an obscure and idiotic video to throw blame away from the current administration. Then, when the truth comes out, ask the question: "At this point, what difference does it make?"
Is the IRS refusing to allow conservative non-profit organizations to form? *POOF* When the truth comes out stall and blame others, then, when that doesn't work, "accidentally" erase the very emails that would show collusion between Obama's administration and the IRS.
Is al-Qaeda destroying the fragile democracy of Iraq after years of US involvement with the blood of our soldiers spilt? *POOF* Go back to blaming Bush for the failures of current foreign policy.
Obama has refused to take responsibility for any of his many, many failures as president of the United States. Instead, he chooses to hid behind the thin veneer that he's so oppressed and so entitled.
I'd say he's become like one of my students, except that most of them, eventually, grow up and get real jobs.