I am a progressive Republican, a rare breed, one who “favors or advocates progress, change, improvement, or reform, as opposed to wishing to maintain things as they are.”

This harkens back to Teddy Roosevelt.

Albert Quie, former governor of Minnesota, Jan. 4, 1979, to Jan. 3, 1983, and, member of the Congress House of Representatives, Feb. 18, 1958, to Jan. 3, 1979, said: “We are willing to let the federal government assume primary responsibility for defense and other priorities for which states are not equipped. The problem in the last 15 years or so is that well-meaning federal officials have not recognized the distinction between ‘federal’ and ‘national.’ They have often forgotten that education is a partnership.”

The rub, of course, is that more and more federal involvement comes by way of mandates without the dollars to comply. Or, dollars are provided with so many strings attached that unique state and local circumstances get ignored. Laws and regulations are written to apply to a mythical “average” state.

The Declaration of Independence states: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

The Constitution of the United States says: “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

Where have all the Republicans gone? They certainly do not appear to be interested is almost all the things the two documents state. Listening to the Republican career politicians speaking in all manner of venues, I haven’t heard comments from them about “domestic tranquility” or “the general welfare.” I have seen the equivalent of plastic bobblehead dolls nodding violently to their quasi-deity as if that matters. Nothing they are anxious about, or advocate, seem to have anything to do with forming a “more perfect union” or “establishing justice.”

Public schooling started very early in colonial times by the citizens. This was then followed by the states, counties, cities and towns long before any politician sitting around in Washington, D.C., decided they knew better than those folk what primary education ought to be. Somehow, the folk in Washington, D.C., felt they knew more about creating public schooling than all the folk in the original colonies, the states, counties, towns and cities who did that. Instead, the public school systems had to be homogenized like the milk we currently buy, instead of letting the cream float to the top.

At the same time all the aspects of higher education were created by the same folk outside of Washington, D.C. The total of institutions created are 1,714 — trade schools to doctorate universities.

Unfortunately the private and public institutions have allowed greed to overwhelm their good sense as they accepted massive amounts of Pell grants and jacked up the their tuition because of the massive inflow of dollars. The program was planned as a feel-good program with no strings attached vis a vis the cost of tuition. The usual lack of not asking what the unintended results might bring became the ever higher costs for education. Congress is still willing to add ever increasing dollars into the program with the same lack of planning. Where have all the Republicans gone?

It would appear that the national party is more interested in the creation of zombie-politicians, infected by the T-virus, who wander about moaning and groaning rather than addressing those actions stated in either the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution.


George Mead, a retired anthropologist, lives in La Grande.

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George Mead, a retired anthropologist, lives in La Grande.

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