Posts Tagged ‘what’
(Accessed May 12, 2067)
Ronald Earnest Paul (Aug. 20, 1935 — Nov. 10, 2014), better known as simply Ron Paul, was a Republican congressman from Texas best remembered for his dramatic showing in the 2008 Republican presidential primaries and the small but fervent following that came from it.
Small but fervent is the best way to describe the Republican medical doctor. After more than a decade-and-a-half in Congress, and an earlier third-party bid for the presidency, Paul had developed a reputation for honesty and integrity, and his small district in rural Texas became fervently devoted to him. They accepted the quirk that he would never vote in favor of a resolution unless “expressly authorized by the Constitution” — earning him the nickname “Dr. No”  — because he had done so well to bring federal earmarks back home with him at each recess of Congress.
Despite fundraising success that eclipsed that of most of the vetted top-tier Republican candidates combined — he set the single-day record for pre-primary fundraising for his party, a record not to be broken until the 2016 Murkowski campaign — Paul never mananged a victory in any Republican primary. Due to the preeminence of winner-take-all primaries in the Republican party of the era, won a total of 16 delegates; a simple majority of 1,191 was required to win the nomination.
If he had ran for president in another time, either before the Internet or after the Republican Party found another Reagan-esque charisma with small-government credentials to pin its legacy upon, it’s unlikely that his story would have earned even this footnote in American history. As it stands, however, he made an indelible mark upon the progress of the Republican Party like few of his contemporaries.
That small support Paul materialized at the polls was fervent, and possible in large part due to a rabid fanbase on the then-new Internet, a bastion for free networking and wildly erratic sharing of information in its early years. Ron Paul was the unlikeliest candidate for this treatment — a child of the the Great Depression and the Second World War, he knew little about the limited but popular computing available at the time, least of all the Internet.
Though his supporters would soon became ardent fans of Austrian Economics, Paul’s favored economic theory and a defining characteristic of his campaign, most of his support was initially due to his strong criticism of the ongoing Second Iraq War; to his first and most devoted fans, all other concerns had been secondary. As the only Republican to both seek the nomination in 2008 and speak out against the war, this favorite son of a rural congressional district, with the help of an Internet he knew nothing about, attracted the attention of a his following of disaffected Republicans across the country who felt the party of Lincoln had been “hijacked by big-government neoconservatives.”  This lead one commentator to observe, perhaps unfairly, that his supporters “came for the pacifism but stayed for the economics.”  However, this never translated into more than a second-place win in primaries, and Paul would soon realize the uneconomical nature of continuing long past opponent John McCain had already achieved a majority of delegates.
Upon quitting his presidential bid in July of 2008, Paul used the remainder of his fundraising success from the Internet to form an Internet-based grassroots movement, codified by Paul’s best-selling “manifesto.” Like the Bull Moose Party and the Ross Perot-led Reform Party before him, Paul’s Campaign for Liberty was a hastily-organized, high-burnout affair largely built on personal devotion to the figurehead at the very top, with very little keeping the diverse membership attached to one another. There was no other figure as admired as Paul in the entire movement, and though he was a picture of robust enthusiasm during his presidential campaign, he was even then also a picture of advanced age. Even as he endorsed not one but four ill-fated presidential nominations from largely inconsequential third parties — the Constitution Party, the Libertarian Party, the Green Party and Ralph Nader — on Sept. 9, 2008, Ron Paul was 73 years old.
Unlike the Bull Moose Party and the Perot-led Reform Party before him, however, Ron Paul’s Campaign for Liberty would have a lasting effect on the policies of a major political party in its era. Because Paul would not name a successor before his death, what was left of his movement would be absorbed into what was left of the then-discredited Republican Party. After a disastrous detour under big-government spending policies under the at-the-time enormously unpopular George W. Bush, the Republican Party accepted all the support it could from Paul supporters, in the process modifying its economic and foreign policies to fit the right of the political spectrum.
Whether continued involvement in the Middle East quagmire or the contentious character of the gaffe-laden Biden administration played a larger role in the 2014 Republican takeback of both houses of Congress is debatable; whether the albeit short-lived Campaign for Liberty played the largest is not.
This historian speculates that Paul, at the time of his death, already saw his short-lived burst of political fame as a grand victory for Goldwater conservatism — Paul, more than any of his supporters, knew his victories would not be from achieving high office. While still waging his 2008 Republican presidential primary bid, he said, prophetically:
“[If] you’re in a campaign for only gaining power, that is one thing; if you’re in a campaign to influence ideas and the future of the country, it’s never over.”
Paul didn’t live to see the Republican sweep and its resurgence as a political power in the United States, only the favorable polling and prediction of it. Poetically, he died not 12 hours before polls opened on election day.
His legacy lives on as it did then: small, but fervent.
Not too long ago, a fellow newbie coworker took her lunch break on-site at a school. After swallowing down a bit too much Diet Pepsi, she chose to belch. I gave it a five-point-five.
Our supervisor, shaking a single pointer finger, said in her stern supervisor voice:
No. That is not professional.
What a broad word, with so many implications. What a ubiquitous word, used to describe the je ne sais quoi that is professionalism. I decided to define it.
Polite subservience could be part of the equation, if you want — belching is not professional — but so often it isn’t, even in the service industry. Rude, haughty egotists are considered professionals so often that both politeness and subservience are the exception rather than the rule. In the civil service, it’s gotten so bad that a well-run Social Security office is something to write home about.
Professionals must first be confident. In sports and music, in businesses both private and public, in the related fields of politics and theater, the professional is the guy who blindsides you with just enough force of personality, just enough facts and figures, just enough flair for the dramatic that you can’t help but be stunned.
You will buy those tickets, you will invest your time and energy, you will believe in his world of make-believe. He catches you with his bag of tricks, the marvel being that he uses each these tricks with surgical precision.
Professionals, under no circumstances, are passionate about their job. Professionals may be interested in their job, or may even like it, but passion is right out; they can’t afford an addiction to the ego-inflating high of success, as it would mean catastrophe in the event of failure. If he falls short of the sales quota, or accidentally rips out the carburetor, or misfiles a TPS report, the professional doesn’t beat himself up. He accepts the incident for what it is, fixes it and moves on. He makes sure that it never happens again, repeating the process ever more carefully if it does.
Putting the two together, we find our definition:
Professionalism is emotionally detached confidence.
Professionals wouldn’t have it any other way. Even the soul-sucking nature of bureaucracy couldn’t change this — those professionals are inevitably they who know exactly what they’re doing, and who will roll with every punch.
If you approach this definition of professionalism, you’re professional. If you are this definition of professionalism, you lie. Maintaining professionalism is pretty tough.
Local teacher Cynthia Brickey is as mad as hell, and she’s not going to take it anymore. If the taxpayers are going to blame her and other teachers for the performance of all of her students, she wants to know what she should do with her desk warmers.
I’ve pep-talked, pleaded, cajoled, called home, sent them to detention — nothing works. Sometimes I wonder if they come to school just to hang out with their friends. Here we are in the last weeks of school and these desk warmers all have a 40% or lower in my class. A few are in single digits. …
What do you think I should try? I figure you, the readers, are educated and interested in issues that affect you. Our state now pays more than 40% of its budget for education. What went so wrong?
Should I concentrate on the “good” kids who are doing the work and give them all my attention? I have some fabulous kids this year: four sections of sophomore English and one section of junior/senior world literature.
Should I just forget about the desk warmers/oxygen-deprivation machines? What do you, the taxpayers, think I should do? I know if I have this problem, then all high school teachers must have the same problem.
Parents aren’t much help with her desk warmers.
I have some parents who show no interest at all in their children’s failures. When I call home, they just throw up their hands, “What are you gonna do? They’re kids.” Other parents blame me for their kids’ failure to do any work at all. Educational think tanks have actually said, “If kids don’t do their homework, it’s because it’s not meaningful.”
Meaningful? How many things in life are meaningless, but we do them because we have to — like cleaning toilets, changing poopy diapers and paying taxes? Some parents think if their child comes to school, that should be enough. I had one parent write me this note: “He belongs to you people all day. At 3 p.m., his time belongs to me.” Uh, OK.
I think she confuses “meaningless” with “tedious, boring and unpleasant,” but that’s a matter of semantics. The context makes her point clear: Life requires unpleasantness, and so it helps to develop a tolerance.
Education has spent the past 20 years trying to get every kid to go to college. A lot of kids go for six weeks. After the first midterm, they drop out. It’s too much like work. They never belonged there in the first place. Example: Many junior colleges now have two levels of English labs the student must take and pass before the student is eligible for English 1A.
Work. That’s where I believe these oxygen-deprivation machines belong, at work. The ODMs (not my expression, my science colleague’s) belong at work. We finally got a grant … to improve our auto shop — fantastic! What about all the other non-college professions? Machinists, construction, heating and air-conditioning, plumbing, cement design, interior/exterior painting, esthetics, culinary, health care. The list is endless.
Why aren’t we preparing these dropouts for work and not welfare? In some inner cities like Baltimore, the high school graduation rate is 30%. That’s deplorable.
What do the taxpayers want us to do? I believe they have the answer, not us.
She finishes by asking for feedback, but not before blaming families and parents for students’ failure. Classy.
I don’t disagree that the family life can affect the academic success of students, ending the letter like that will invoke the wrong kind of reaction.
What’s the role of ROP education, and vocational electives? Is it wrong to encourage students to go to college at the expense of the unmotivated?