Counterpoint: Writer pushes his boulder aside

When I read a letter that contains the statement: “unless you live under a rock, you know,” I can expect that what will follow has very little factual content, and if I disagree, then my opinion is not valid. Michael Svea uses those words as context for his rant against teachers and police officers (Star News, 9 April). I will push my boulder aside and come out for a moment to reply.

My children received their education and have graduated from our local public schools. I have spent hours as a volunteer and watched as exceptional teachers, who are well beyond Mr. Svea’s “nine-year” effectiveness window, created an atmosphere of excitement for learning. Even under my rock I know how difficult that is, day after day, with all the external problems that students bring with them to the classroom.

I have little personal experience with police officers, but when I read Mr. Svea’s assessment of “seven years” and a “gravy train,” I think I’ve found a new neighbor! To approach a vehicle, in the darkness, with no idea if the occupants are carrying weapons, has no upside. No gravy. Just bravery. I too would “count the days” until retirement if that was part of my job.

Lately, as our economy has slowed, it has become a hobby for some to trash public employees. Anyone paid with “my taxes” must be earning too much, and working too little. Seems some forget that taxes go up from a decade of wars. They overlook the cost to bail out our national financial system. Ignore the rampant corruption in the housing market. Those cost nothing! It’s the teachers and police officers who cause our financial problems. It’s disappointing how easily people can be misdirected.

Yet, I find one point of agreement with Mr. Svea. It is regrettable that lobbyists use money to influence politicians. But his letter failed to mention additional greed merchants that include the lobbyists for oil companies, coal companies, drug companies, bankers, brokers, weapons manufacturers and on and on. Each influence government at a cost to everyone. When they and their media friends convince people to direct their anger at public employees, like teachers and police officers, they succeed in one of the oldest tactics of deception: Focus your anger away from the big problem and argue among yourselves. Divide and conquer.

They must be laughing as they watch their plans work. Taking the attention away from the trillions of dollars, while some in our communities gripe about the modest success of their neighbors. It’s just like the Wizard of Oz. Keep your focus where I tell you, don’t look behind the curtain. — Todd Embury, Ramsey

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