Strange times: I actually agree with Rick Perry on something

by Madeleine Kolb

These days I find myself appalled, aghast, and absolutely addicted to following the political scene in the U.S.

Each morning I get the “Washington Post” from the porch, pull off the plastic cover, and read it voraciously while wolfing down breakfast and guzzling coffee.

Then I watch videos on the Internet of one candidate or another making a statement that is outrageous or flat-out wrong and later claiming that he or she didn’t mean it or that it was just a joke.

I can hardly believe what I’m hearing or reading 

There’s Michelle Bachmann stating her intent on her first day as President to march into to the EPA office and just shut it down. After all the agency has issued one set of “job-destroying” regulations after another.

I long to pose a question to her in one of those contentious debates—this mother of 5 children and foster-mother of 23. Something very short and to the point. Something like this,

Michelle, In terms of EPA regulations, I have two words for you: Love Canal. Can you respond?

Then there’s Herb Cain with his 9-9-9 tax plan, proposed without his considering that a 9% federal sales tax on top of a hefty state sales tax would be a huge increase for those who can least afford it. 

And Rick Perry out of nowhere bringing up the birther issue again while being questioned about his proposed simplification of the IRS regulations. I feel bad for some of the journalists who have to report this stuff. The other night the one interviewing Perry looked so taken aback that I was afraid he might have a stroke right there on camera.

Rick Perry’s right about immigration

All the more reason why it’s been strange to find myself in violent agreement with Rich Perry on one controversial matter, namely the question of allowing “illegal immigrants” to pay in-state tuition to attend state universities. I’ve argued here–that in terms of addressing the issue of a demographic imbalance in the U.S.— the policy makes perfect sense.

We have what’s often portrayed as too many old—read “unproductive”—people but is actually too few young people. I don’t believe that Governor Perry has explicity raised the demographic imbalance question, but nonetheless I agree with his position.

Then there’s the organic chemistry issue

Just this morning I realized that I empathize with him on the matter of organic chemistry grades. He’s let it be known that he wanted to be a veterinarian but couldn’t because he flunked organic chemistry. It’s something he’s brought up again and again, seeming to take a sort of perverse pride in it.

At first I thought he was just dumb. But then it hit me. When I was in college, I had the option of a two-course or a three-course organic chemistry series. I started the two-course series and hated it. It was a rapid-fire overview, a race against the clock, emphasizing memorization over comprehension.

I decided not to finish the course and took an incomplete. Later I took the much better three-course series. Maybe Rick Perry had a similar experience, but Texas A&M didn’t have a three-course series. Just saying that it’s possible.

So I actually get where Rick Perry’s coming on some matters, and that’s more than I can say about Michelle Bachman.

What about you? Are you obsessed with the current political scene? Or are you able to ignore it and hope for the best? Does it scare you, worry you, amuse you, baffle you, or some combination of these? I’d be most interested in your opinion.

photo by gageskidmore

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