Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt. Or so goes the old saying, its wisdom completely unappreciated by the folks producing MSNBCs Lean Forward spots, featuring various network stars spouting lame political talking points into the camera.
Go figure — in place of paid advertisements from real customers, the networks propaganda vignettes air quite frequently.
Months ago, in my Common Sense e-letter, I took issue with Tulane University Professor Melissa Harris-Perry — who hosts an eponymous MSNBC weekend show — for declaring, in one promotional ad, that we have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents, or kids belong to their families, and recognize that kids belong to whole communities.
After President Barack Obama told us that we didnt build our businesses, we then heard from Professor Harris-Perry that our kids arent really ours, either.
Not so fast, though. Perry certainly doesnt want the work of rearing our children; she was merely pitching higher taxes so government could get bigger and do more, specifically in this case, spend more money on education. (Not that she doesnt welcome the debate about replacing Mommy and Daddy with Big Brother.)
We have never invested as much in public education as we should have, she argues in the ad, because weve always had kind of a private notion of children: Your kid is yours and totally your responsibility. We havent had a very collective notion of these are our children. So part of it is we have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents . . . and recognize that kids belong to whole communities. Once its everybodys responsibility, and not just the households, then we start making better investments.
Yeah, better investments. Like Solyndra. Or . . . the K-12 public education system for which, since 1970, the federal government has increased per-pupil spending — er, investments — by roughly 190 percent, only to flat-line test scores in math, science and reading.
When the flood of vitriolic responses to the ad began, my first reaction was relief, responded Harris-Perry on her blog. I had spent the entire day grading papers and was relieved that since these children were not my responsibility, I could simply mail the students papers to their moms and dads to grade!