Just Because You Can…

As a high school teacher, I see many types of “authority” figures mostly by way of other teachers and the parents of my students.

Some are paranoid that given an inch, the kids will take a million miles, so they create rules for absolutely everything. If a kid could in some way have a choice about something (taking the stapler from the room for example), there is a posted rule, or a spoken rule, or something.

There are some kids who have parents and teachers who have so many rules and regulations that they are fairly certain that no matter what they do, they will be breaking some sort of “law” and get punished.

Some of these kids are quiet and withdrawn, living in fear of what will happen to them if they make a sound or if it even looks like they might do something wrong.

Others figure with the likelihood of breaking a rule on accident anyway, they may as well break the ones they don’t like on purpose and deal with the consequences.

Still others find all the rules comforting because they feel most secure with strict and stringent boundaries.

I sit in staff meetings about school policy and listen to teachers argue about putting too many rules on kids or being too lax.  Those wanting and exact consequence for every single infraction and others who would rather just hand out detentions for everything except the really big cases of insubordination (or worse).

And then there are those middle of the road adults like me.

People get really heated over rules and policy. I mean REALLY heated.

If one teacher thinks cell phones and social media and technology are horrible, awful things, he/she will stop at nothing to have his/her voice heard about banning such things in school.

If another teacher finds value in embracing current real-world technology and showing students how to be good citizens of this growing global community, he/she will fight back with just as much passion.

People get riled up.

Rude things get said.

Egos get trampled on because both sides want to be right and not lose face.

Not unlike what goes on during an election year.

What are some of the most hot button issues? The ones that may or may not create laws or constitutional amendments.

In Michigan we have proposals on the ballot to change our constitution to protect unions’ right to collective bargaining, to make a law to have voters have a say in bridges and other large projects, for renewable energy, for in-home nursing care workers, among other things.

On the federal level, people are concerned about what the candidates will do in regards to health care and DOMA and abortion.

There are those who feel like if it is their belief that something is bad or awful or harmful or immoral or they just don’t like it, there should be a law against. Because if there is not? People are surely going to have a party doing said awful thing.

I get that this is not always the case. I do. But I feel like people vote AGAINST things that would make creating new laws more difficult because OMG…PEOPLE MIGHT MISBEHAVE AND CAUSE PROBLEMS AND WE WON’T BE ABLE TO STOP THEM!

It’s the same basic reason people want abortions to be criminalized. They don’t really think of all the repercussions of that, they only think that abortions will then cease to exist. However, if we look at the amendment to ban alcohol and criminalize the making/selling of it, we know that didn’t stop alcohol use or buying/selling/making. In fact, it made it all much, MUCH more dangerous.

But now, just like then, people think that if we have a law against it, making those who get one or perform one a criminal, it will stop all those crazy abortion parties people are having.  I mean, abortions are totally fun and great, right?

Oh wait. No.

No one wants to get an abortion. No one has sex thinking, “ooo! maybe I will get pregnant and I’ll get to go have an abortion!”

Ok, maybe some people do. I really have no idea.

What I do know is, just because you CAN, doesn’t mean you HAVE to. Or that you will.

I know that right now, if I were to get pregnant and I didn’t want it, I could go get an abortion.

I wouldn’t because it’s not something I could do. Not just because I wasn’t ready for another baby.

But I don’t think there should be a law dictating medical decisions.

People want their way to be THE way. Take a proposal here in Michigan to put into the constitution an amendment that would protect a union’s right to collective bargaining. People are scared of this because it would potentially undo a bazillion laws (most of which the average person doesn’t even know what they are…but they are LAWS, so it must be to protect all of us against those evil teachers and police officers, and fire fighters, and the rest of those union thugs), and it would alter our constitution.

The ads they are running are ridiculous. “Hands off our constitution.”

People seem to forget that documents like constitutions were created to be fluid. If not, slavery would still be a thing and women voting would not be a thing.

Just because something is allowed, doesn’t mean you have to do it.

There doesn’t have to be a law against EVERYTHING.

Laws are supposed to protect our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Sometimes I think people forget what “pursuit of happiness” means and focus way too hard on life and liberty. Their OWN lives and liberties instead of those of the rest of the country.

I would urge the people of the U.S. to look outside themselves this election.

Educate yourself on the candidates and proposals in your area and think about how it will affect the WHOLE and not just you.

After all, we are called the UNITED states of America. Not the Individual people of America.