Tuesday, March 8, 2016

"Waist Deep in the Big Muddy, and the Big Fool Said to Push On

I am old.

 I am fed up.

I am furious.

Our state policy makers have abdicated any leadership...they've turned their backs on us.

I am old. I remember Pete Seeger's song, "Waist Deep in the Big Muddy," written about the Viet Nam conflict where we saw a lack of leadership...people blithely sending young men to die with no feeling of responsibility.

I'm fed up. I've had this song in my head for months watching what purports to be leadership in Oklahoma.

It was back in nineteen forty-two,
I was a member of a good platoon.
We were on maneuvers in-a Loozianna,
One night by the light of the moon.
The captain told us to ford a river,
That's how it all begun.
We were -- knee deep in the Big Muddy,
But the big fool said to push on.

The financial straits we are in did NOT happen was NOT just the downturn in the oil industry. It was years of mismanagement, ignoring the obvious, and robber-baron behavior among the corporations and our 'leaders'. Instead of ending any destructive practices, the big fools said to push on.

"Sergeant, go on! I forded this river
'Bout a mile above this place.
It'll be a little soggy but just keep slogging.
We'll soon be on dry ground."
We were -- waist deep in the Big Muddy
And the big fool said to push on.

Our leaders knew best. Tax cut in place, most of us will get nearly nothing...but friends of the policy makers will get much more. We begged our leaders to end the tax cut. Apply that funding to our state agencies. We kicked110,000 people off Medicaid. The big fools said to push on.

"All we need is a little determination;
Men, follow me, I'll lead on."
We were -- neck deep in the Big Muddy
And the big fool said to push on.

I'm furious. Now, we've had two revenue failures. Now, every state agency is cutting services. County Health Centers are closing. School districts are looking at huge cuts this semester. They're scrambling to find ways to keep schools open for kids. Eloquent students have taken to calling out these people and their broken promises. But the big fools said to push on.

Seeger's song was prophetic...he was writing about an event during WWII, but his focus was on the failed leadership during the 60's. I hear his voice, full of fury, as I hear today that the House Republican leadership has chosen NOT to use Rainy Day funds to ease the suffering of state agencies. I can match that fury. The big fools said to push on.

Well, I'm not going to point any moral;
I'll leave that for yourself
Maybe you're still walking, you're still talking
You'd like to keep your health.
But every time I read the papers
That old feeling comes on;
We're -- waist deep in the Big Muddy
And the big fool says to push on.


I don't even have the energy tonight to talk about the ongoing fight against vouchers...the dark money, the arm-twisting, the disregard for our kids in public schools...but it also fuels this fury. Make no mistake.

I remember the fury I felt in the 60's and 70's as my friends suffered because leaders didn't do the right thing; it's the same fury we feel as we watch our schools and state agencies suffer. I remember. I understand.

What will we do with our big fools? 

Please take three minutes to watch and listen. You'll understand my frustration.

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