“You Shall Not Kill” This is a commandment, and often times we think of it in the literal terms, to take someone’s life. But to do so would be to miss the point of this commandment. Yes, taking a life is a form of killing but it is not the only way to kill.
A few days ago a good friend and I were having a chat online, and I mentioned that the local school district teachers were on strike, well what I said was “The stupid teachers are on strike again”, knowing full well that my friend and I do not see eye to eye on this topic of unions. I am a union hater, she is a believer in the union, this prompted back a comment of, “Oh, let’s see they want fair pay, or how about health care”.
Now let me set the record straight, I believe in fair pay and health care for everyone, what I don’t believe in is unions and striking. But prior to this conversation I read the proposed contract offered the teachers, and was upset that they (the union and teachers) have the audacity to demand more. I live in Michigan where the unemployment is over 8%, people are being laid off daily and the economy is in the toilet. Just looking around me, I see people’s lives that have been affected by the union in an adverse way, my sister and brother are two such people. But that’s for a different blog, back to the story. Like I said I read the contract offered. The teachers 2 main points for going on strike are class size and health care. The teachers currently enjoy excellent health care are little to no cost, and the class rooms have approximately 35 students per class. The contract offered 4 different health insurance plans, 3 of them are free to the teacher, and one has a $485 per year co-pay, per family. On this issue alone I am dumb founded, I know people who pay that per pay check, and the insurance is no were as comprehensive. I just don’t understand how, in today’s world, the union or teachers, believe they can get a better deal, as for class size, I totally agree 35 to 40 students per class is way too many, but I also understand that in order to fix this the district would need to hire more teachers, and for a district that has lost student year after year, and is receiving less money from the state, this is a task that just may not be able to happen. The district is top heavy, and in a financially tight time.
I am not in any way placing the blame solely on the union, I believe that that the district needs to start all over, reinvent itself, look at every possible way to cut cost and give the students, and the community a solid education. So yes the whole school system needs an enema, in my opinion.
But back to the story, this was and is my whole point, now my friend takes the union side of the argument, this I know, and in truth have no issue with. What I do have an issue with is taking any side without facts, without knowing what was offered or what the issue is. One the arguments made to me was about pay. Now officially the teachers are not on strike concerning pay, its health care and class size, but yes pay was part of the contract. Now please consider this, if a district has no money, less students, there for less money coming in from the state, how do you expect a pay raise? Now I am the first to say teachers should be pay well, based on performance. Not tied to grades, but to actual performance and knowledge. So yes a teacher who works hard, and does all they can to educate our children deserves a high pay. I do not believe in equal pay for the same job title. If teacher “A” is an exceptional teacher they should make more than teacher “B” who just shows up. But that’s not how it is… But once again that’s for a different blog. Part of the contract I read stated that all teachers would receive a 1.5% pay raise for the next 3 years and for the teachers that have been there, or who have gained more education would get a “step” raise. But my friend did not want to hear that, the only comment back to me, when I stated that the starting pay for a teacher was $37,000.00 per year. Not a bad starting pay. The response was “Well you make more than that” True I do, but I am not a teacher in the public education system and I am in a different field. Not apple to apples, more like apple to bananas. My pay has nothing to do with teacher pay. The district is in line with other districts, and in the current economic state, where people are losing jobs, praise God that you have a job. That same teacher can make over $87,000.00 if they stay teaching and get more education, Once again not bad pay.
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But back to the opening line, “Do not Kill”, As the discussion went on, I was getting more frustrated, not because of her belief in unions, but because the argument was not based on fact, but on ideals, the idea that the unions are needed, and protect the ones who cannot protect themselves. The facts just are not needed. Regardless of the fact the union is in the right. The fact that my pay was being used as an argument, when my pay and my work have no connection to teachers, The fact that I have no right to make more money than a teacher, the idea the my hard work and luck to land a job that pays well, means that in some way I am the reason the teachers union need to demand blood from a stone. Now I may have read all this wrong, I may have blow my top for no reason. But I don’t think so.
The basic idea that wealth is bad, and needs to be distributed to others is a concept I do not understand, and the idea that everyone should make the same, regardless, to me is just silly. But once again I respect the person to have different point of views; I do not respect a person not to educate themselves on issues prior to making an argument. Now in fairness they did not know I was going to make this statement, but the better response would have been, well let me read what you read, so I can form my option. But that is all water under the bridge, and matters not now.
This led me to use a very nasty and bad word, and with that word I committed a sin, and for that I am truly sorry. The heat of the moment took me, and I said words I should never have said.
Friendship is truly a precious thing, one that should allow for different options’ and ideas. And I truly try to allow that in to my relationships, but sometimes the passion over takes me.
Passion can be a wonderful thing, but it can also lead to sin, and in my case it did, I used words to kill. So to my friend I offer my apology and ask for forgiveness. But I also ask that they, knowing my passions and all, research before making blanket statements. I am up for any discussion, as long as it is based on facts. Now the fact that facts where not used is no excuse for my words. And I take full responsibility for the hurtful words I said.
So to my friend I say, keep your beliefs, defend them to the ends of the earth, and I will do the same.
Once again, I am truly sorry and ask for your forgiveness.