Wednesday, August 29, 2012

the true job creators... all of us.

Didn't build this by myself. See *note below.
Today, as I work in my shop, and prepare for school, and watch the Republican conventioneers bash government and hold up the mighty solo selfish entrepreneur as the true source of American success, I'll remember that we are all in this together. I guess you could say I'm an Eisenhower Republican. We would not be a peaceful nation, in which children attend school, and craftsmen work securely in their shops without a baseline of civility... a shared sense of responsibility to each other.

Nicholas D. Kristof has an OpEd in the New York Times that addresses this matter, The Secret Weapon: All of Us. Read it. It makes a good point.

In regards to my own wood shop, I have been thankful that it is nestled in a community in which trees are cared for, fine homes are kept up, a public library keeps folks educated and well read, and in which children are able to go to school each day, where teachers, both public and private, care about so much more than the bottom line. The taxes I pay, are my small investment in all that.

The box above is one I just finished in my shop, but that was begun while teaching at Marc Adams School. I didn't build it all by myself. The cherry lumber grew on someone's property for many years before harvest. It's design is the culmination of years of my own interaction with wood (nourished and encouraged by others). My travels to and from Marc Adams School were over the interstate highway system, started by Republican President Eisenhower, and sustained by presidential administrations and thousands upon thousands of publicly financed workers ever since. The hinges were made by Brusso. When I needed a tool, it was supplied by Marc Adams School and delivered by assistants who had kept it maintained in top working order. The box was made as a demonstration in accordance with my own inclination to share and my student's inclinations to learn. Is there a simple message in all that?

We live in the society and circumstances we sustain or are sustained in our behalf by collective action. Our willingness to be taxed supports schools, highways, libraries, the eradication of poverty, national defense, care for each other, and in turn entrepreneurialism and craftsmanship. The blessings we hold in this day are gifts not only of our own labors, but of the generosity of others often delivered through the collective action of caring individuals employed as government.

No craftsman in his right mind would claim to have built even the smallest thing all by himself. Even the most gifted stands upon a tradition of craftsmanship, tools designed and made by others, and must function within a society that cares about greater things than the bottom line.

Bill Nye, the Science Guy has gotten in hot water with religious fundamentalists for pointing out the stupidity of ignoring real science in the education of our children. As I've pointed out here in the blog, you can't whittle a stick without engaging in scientific observation and hypothesis. Children become more deeply engaged in learning and in life when they learn hands-on, unfettered by dogma and 3nd-hand theology. Here's what Bill Nye has to say:

Last night at the Republican convention, Rick Santorum went into a deep rhapsody in consideration of hands, and for someone unaccustomed to work, except as an observer of others who've done it, he brought up some pretty good points.
I shook the hand of the American Dream. And it has a strong grip.

I shook hands of farmers and ranchers who made America the bread basket of the world. Hands weathered and worn. And proud of it.

I grasped dirty hands with scars that come from years of labor in the oil and gas fields, mines and mills. Hands that power and build America and are stewards of the abundant resources that God has given us.

I gripped hands that work in restaurants and hotels, in hospitals, banks, and grocery stores. Hands that serve and care for all of us.

I clasped hands of men and women in uniform and their families. Hands that sacrifice and risk all to protect and keep us free. And hands that pray for their safe return home.

I held hands that are in want. Hands looking for the dignity of a good job, hands growing weary of not finding one but refusing to give up hope.
All told, he mentioned the hands over twenty times in his speech. His own hands upon which he stared as he spoke show little wear and no tear... Nothing of the true poetry that hands may express. The ability to rhapsodize on the subject of the hands is not wisdom. New boxes are shown in the photo below...


Make, fix and create...

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