Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Wrap-up...

Happy Wednesday, people!

Shall we?

Last night this bitch moderated a debate between my Voter Education students and I now have a new appreciation for folks who moderate debates (wince). Things got rough a few times but settled down after everyone was trash talked out.

Background for the uninitiated – a bitch volunteers at several local women’s shelters to teach Voter Education classes. My classes address why people should vote and what government is supposed to do. They are built on my belief that an educated voter is a lifelong voter with a curriculum that combines the United States Citizenship test with a healthy dose of realness.

We gathered in the break room and the young women quickly took up sides. Each side made their opening statement then I asked questions with each participant being allowed to debate that shit until I moved on to the next question.

KLW (18 years old, mother to a beautiful newborn wee one with tons of hair and annoyed at the gas tax debate because she can’t afford a car right now and doesn’t see how what little savings it will provide will help her) made the case that the gas tax debate isn’t the energy debate she needs to hear. She pointed out that a recent network news report featured working families in Minneapolis-St. Paul (birthplace of this bitch, by the way!!) who were unable to pay their electric bill due to the high cost of all things energy related and asked how the gas tax break would help those people.

TDK, arguing for the other side, asked that we all go to the window and observe her new car. Umm, well it isn’t exactly new but it’s new to her. She put $150 down on a $500 car so that she would have transportation to school, daycare when her baby is born and work. TDK said that she is unable to afford gas for the car and has resorted to offering it up to the other residents of the shelter as a community car. Everyone who contributes can tag along for trips to the market, school or wherever they may need to go. TDK argued that a break in the price of gas may be the difference between having transportation and having when I can afford to turn it the hell on transportation…and that would make the difference between taking a job for more money that isn’t on the bus line or taking the job she can get that is on the line.

KLW countered that the gas tax break wouldn’t amount to enough of a savings to make that possible. Only a comprehensive energy plan would impact prices and even that wouldn’t happen overnight. She asked TDK what she planned to do when she moved out of the shelter on her own…how she would deal with the high price of electricity, gas for her car and groceries and all the other things that are necessary things being priced as luxury items.

TDK fumbled and then tossed back that Americans need relief now while all these plans are being worked out.

KLW returned that the gas tax break was the equivalent of someone buying a $500 paper fan on credit when the air conditioner breaks on a hot summer day, not calling the repairman and leaving the windows closed.

Blink.

And so that debate was over.

The healthcare debate was less contentious. MSD and Lady B agreed that healthcare was in need of a major overhaul. Lady B. started out in favor of mandates but MSD made strong arguments that undefined mandates were insulting and dangerous. Her point was that any plan that includes mandates should include how they would be enforced, what the penalty would be and by what agency.

“A mandate without enforcement is a suggestion.”

Nice.

Since no one felt like arguing with that, we retired to the television room (a corner of the break room) for post-debate pudding pops and primary speculation.

Note – a bitch thinks all debates should wrap-up with chocolate pudding pops…yum!

Anyhoo, there is nothing like the satisfaction of watching my students develop their own opinions about policy. When I left they were kicking into a debate over winner takes all primaries versus proportional delegate formulas.

Fantabulous!

13 comments:

geogrrl said...

Fantastic! Such smart girls!

It must have made you proud to listen. I know it even made me proud just reading it.

PortlyDyke said...

I was so hoping you'd post an update on the debate.

But now it's 10:30 am and I want a pudding pop.

SagaciousHillbilly said...

Black Lady, You're a true hero of the republic.
I posted about another hero over at my place today.

Sarah J said...

that's brilliant.

sounds like we need to send your students to advise the campaigns!

Phoebe Fay said...

Reading this just makes me smile! What you do is so important, and I'm so proud of these young women for really looking at the issues. It gives me hope.

CR said...

Gas tax? Health care? What kind of topics are those?! What happened to flag lapel pins or Jeremiah Wright?

My solution to the transportation problem is that I'll have Jeremiah Wright carry me to work. If he slows down, I'll jab him with a lapel pin!

Later I'll describe how I'm going to use Jeremiah Wright and lapel pins to end the Iraq occupation.

CR

P.S.: Good work, ABB!

betmo said...

this made me smile quite a bit for many, many reasons. thank you and your ladies. :)

heartsandflowers said...

It would be great for them to serve as election observers during the general. I think we all should keep an eye out at the polling places this November.

Tom Head said...

Damn. That sounds umpteen times better than the last presidential debate I saw. And they didn't even have pudding pops!

midwesterntransport said...

sounds like a good night!

if only those msnbc "debates" ended with pudding pops...

bitchphd said...

Dude, you should have filmed it and posted it on youtube. "What a REAL presidential debate should look like."

Also, I gotta say that TDK's saying that she "has resorted to offering it up to the other residents of the shelter as a community car. Everyone who contributes can tag along for trips to the market, school or wherever they may need to go."? Shit, I wish gas were expensive enough that middle-class folks would start doing this....

Hattie said...

If all citizens were like you and your debate team, wouldn't that be grand!
You are great person.

glenise said...

this report makes my heart sing... there is hope for us all :)

keep up the good work and thanks for setting such a good example!