Saturday, March 12, 2011

Let Them Eat Cake.

Last evening my wife and I watched the 25th anniversary performance of "Les Miserables," on a PBS television station.  Very emotional and moving performance by wonderful singers, a great orchestra and a very large choir (you hardly hear choirs anymore except in church).  While the plot of "Les Miserables" is very complex in its most simplistic form it is a story of a peasant who steals some bread for his family, goes to prison, is finally released but is once again followed by the local police.  His good deeds and good disposition eventually save him from going back to prison.  As I said, this is a very simplistic version of Victor Hugo's famous novel.  

Hugo wrote the story about the differences between the poor and the rich in France in the sixteenth century.  There were tough times and people did what they could to survive.  

As the show came to an end last evening, I saw a correlation between "Les Miserables"  and what is taking place presently in Wisconsin.  Rich and controlling people are taking away rights of the individuals to keep control.  My sadness evolves in several ways.  First I worry about the children of Wisconsin--what sort of public education will there be for the children when this battle is over?  The rich will send their kids to private schools but the middle class will have to contend with the denigration of the present public school system.  

But I also feel for the teachers at all grade levels.  I'm sure they are wondering if they will have a job when this is all over, who will be released (fired), how large will their classes be, and where do we go from here?  Will there be a retirement for teachers when this is all finished?  The future is very foggy at this point.

I also worry about the people of Wisconsin.  This has to be pitting neighbor against neighbor.....not a good climate for growth.  Certainly there is not an environment for talking to each other and looking for common ground.  It is a sad time.  Perhaps the governor of Wisconsin is saying, "Let them eat cake."  Am I the only one that sees the resemblance between Les Miserables and the present?

My perspective seems cloudy--how should we thank the teachers in Wisconsin for helping all those children and young adults?  A thank you seems insufficient at the moment.  

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