Americans are tired of being thrust into having their troops sent off to foreign wars. There are many reasons for the fatigue. Some of it is the toll it’s taking on lives lost and lives (as well as future opportunities) forever changed once the troops return home. And part of the frustration is that going to war could ease economic pressures and buoy the cost of living. No more.
The Cost of Education
Americans are also frustrated with the downward spiral of quality education, much less affordability of advanced education. The cost of education seems like a space shuttle on its way to a new solar system. If there has been no saving years before entering university, it’s necessary to seek student loans to finance one’s education. And those student loans leave an individual in deep debt for longer than it takes to pay off a mortgage.
Many cartoons and other symbolic protests against the war and decrying the quality of education, as well as comparing the cost of each in dollars, have been cropping up through social media sites. But the one posted by my author colleague struck a chord.
Patriotism and War
Who remembers what it meant for Americans to go off to war during The Great War or World War II? What amount of patriotism existed during the Korean War? Ah, those were times when economies were still strong and it was entirely possible to live on minimum wage with the realistic expectation that there would be a timely increase in salary (within 3 months) that stayed ahead of the cost of living increase.
Eventually, we Americans started joining other countries that took up the noble causes of foreign wars where it was difficult to identify the allies from the foes. We became embroiled in civil wars. We had to pick and choose which side represented what was right and good.
And now we find ourselves thrust time and time again into religious and cultural wars. We now have civilian aid emissaries and The Press putting their lives in jeopardy in order to report on what is happening or to provide assistance to those who are the resident bystanders caught in the midst of the chaos. That’s just one of the costs of being involved in the war arena.
The Quality of Education
The cartoon compared the military costs in terms of scholarship dollars that could be used to educate our emerging workforce. That, in turn, evoked certain thoughts about the quality of education that is provided to our youth, nationwide. These days we have people “learning” but hard pressed to show evidence that they actually captured and are capable of applying the principles their degree announces they have earned.
At one time, earning a certain grade was indicative of the level of competence one had achieved in a particular subject. It was a time when grading consisted of learning more than 90% of the lesson in order to earn a grade of A. Performance on a test equivalent of *comprehension* of 80-90% of the content constituted earning a grade of B. Lower than 80% meant performing at merely an average level, but passable.
Evidence of Education
And those grades meant when put to the test in real world situations, being able to apply the principles could be called up by the “student” immediately and competently. The worker had incorporated the concepts and principles into their lives. They became articulate about what they were doing and why. They understood how to convey that information without becoming overbearing or having the need to defend their ego at the risk of being shown to be inadequate. They were hired based on the fact that they competently demonstrated a sample of their knowledge and abilities during brief one-hour meetings and conversations with a range of people at many levels of the organization. Once hired, the previews of their abilities proved to be accurate and they continued in their career progress. They got promoted.
More importantly, they maintained their positions and drove their own career progression by remaining up to date about innovations and new principles. They stayed aware of trends that affected the market.
The Cost of War
The cost of military tools has changed the way we do things and how being involved in warfare affects the economy. It’s changed the rate of unemployment – in the negative. It no longer means taking the pressure off of a jobless economy. Instead and for the last eight years, the cost of war has turned into a situation of throwing one set of poorly conceived economic principles in the air with one hand and then another set with the other hand. And this is done in such rapid succession that the rhetoric even becomes blurry.
The cost of war becomes a nation disjointed and dysfunctional. And all of that is compounded by a fractious Congress bent on partisan politics rather than serving the welfare its constituency.