J. K. Rowling: The Unexpected Author

jkr-photo_new_debra-hurford-brown-j.k.-rowling

Jo Rowling A.K.A: J. K. Rowling

This week my son’s Elementary school is engaged in a venture into the world of Harry Potter. The teachers of 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades have divided the students into the four Houses of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. This is an opportunity to look back on the single person who created a series of fictional children’s books that revitalized reading for millions of people of all ages.

Any story of great personal success is characterized by being the correct person, in the correct place, at the correct time. That is a requirement. The story of J. K. Rowling is more compelling for why she was the correct person.

Her birth name is Joanne Rowling and she uses “Jo” in casual environments. She has no given middle name but was asked by her publisher to disguise her name so that young boys would not know that Harry Potter was written by a woman. Since she had no middle name she used her grandmother’s name, ‘Kathleen,’ and thus became, “J. K. Rowling (her last name is pronounced, ‘rolling.’) 

Rowling accomplished the unthinkable. At a time when reading books was declining and the Internet was blossoming, the idea that one person could ignite a renaissance of book reading was considered absurd. Rowling’s first publisher told her to get a day job because writing children’s books would never provide enough income.

Like William Shakespeare, there is no significant indicator in Rowling’s pre-Potter life of her eventual rise to the top of the literary world. Still, there are earlier experiences that probably contributed to her success. Among them are the following:

  • Her parents met at King’s Cross Station in London, which became the fictional departure point for the fictional train station departure point to Hogwarts. [Potter influences]
  • As a child she was known to write out a story and read it to her sister, Dianne. [Early fiction writing]
  • Her mother, Anne, was a science technician and also taught science at the Secondary school that Rowling attended. [Priority of education]
  • She speaks English, French and studied German in Secondary school. [Broad-based education]
  • She read and is an admirer of Jessica Mitford, a British-turned-American journalist, author, and political activist. [Ethics, writing, and honor]
  • She has a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in French and the Classics from the University of Exeter. [Writing and knowledge]
  • She studied a year in Paris. [Broad-based education]
  • She taught English in Portugal [Life experience]
  • Her mother had multiple sclerosis (MS) and died while she was writing her first Harry Potter book. [Life experience]
  • Rowling suffered from depression triggered by several life events (Unemployed, her mother’s death, her divorce, etc.) [Life experience]Harry Potter Covers

The idea for Harry Potter apparently came in 1990, during a four-hour train delay to London. She began writing as soon as she reached home and among the first chapters written was the final chapter of the last book. The first book was not finished until 1995. It was submitted and rejected by twelve publishers before it was finally accepted by Bloomsbury Publishing in England the follow year. 

She went from living off of State benefits to a millionaire in five years. Since then, she has devoted a large portion of her fortune to philanthropic causes. 

Though remarkable, Rowling’s financial success is not as significant as what she did for slowing the decline of children reading for fun during the period her books were published (1996-2007.) According to a study by Common Sense Media, 9-year-olds reading for fun at least one to two per week dropped only one percent from 1984 to 2004; however, by 2012 that dropped by another four percent (76% in 2012.) For 13-year-olds the decline in reading for fun from 1984 to 2004, was six percent, but that decline nearly doubled five years after the last Harry Potter book was published (down an additional eleven percent in 2012 to 53%.) 

No one, including possibly Rowling, herself, could have expected anyone to capture a worldwide audience, as did the Harry Potter series. She brought new readers into the literary market that had no interest in reading. Her unexpected achievement is a reminder that what is possible extends beyond the impossible.  

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Religious Liberty Laws Violate The Bible

Dave Granlund cartoon

Dave Granlund Cartoon: Liberty for who?

The irony of conservatives effort to allegedly ‘preserve’ religious liberty is that they are actually inflicting one person’s religion on others through their business activities. The concept that other people should be forced to accept one person’s bias is discussed in the Bible, and conservatives are taking a position opposite of what is taught in the New Testament.

Romans 14 nails Christians to the cross of behavior. Nowhere in the New Testament is the definition of what it means to be a Christian better explained than in this single chapter. Paul, in his letter to the Romans explains to Christians:

You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. It is written: “ ‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’ ” So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God. Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.

Romans 14: 10-13
New International Version¹

2015 APR_DSC0001 (182)Both before and after this passage Paul offers examples of what he means by ‘passing judgement.’ The examples make it clear that the issue is not about what issues a Christian can condemn or protest regarding someone else’s choices, but that no Christian has the authority to judge another person.

The Religious Liberty laws passed in Indiana and other states emphasize the ‘right’ of a person to impose his or her religious beliefs on others who do not share those beliefs. The assumption is that a person can judge someone else’s personal choices, judge them as sinners, then refuse that person access to their products or services. This is in violation of the teachings of how a Christian is obligated to behave.

Applying the full meaning of Romans 14 to the situation, a Christian business person should not only accept another person’s lifestyle choices, and not judge them, but they should do everything possible to accommodate that person and their choices. Paul emphasizes to the Romans that a Christians obligation is to make peace, not conflict:

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.

Romans 14: 19
New International Version

The Religious Liberty laws are actually anti-Christian laws.

¹(KING JAMES VERSION – Romans 14:10-13)
But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.

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Common Core: Are You A Good Switch Or A Bad Switch? Part III

PART III:  An Answer to the Question:  Good? or Bad?

Implementation of Common Core/US News and World Report

Implementation of Common Core

THE VERDICT
In the past year significant political forces have targeted Common Core. The protests have been at near hysterical levels in many communities around the country. The complaints about Common Core are as follows:

  • Standards create a factory-like environment that attempt to put all students in one ‘box.’
  • Teachers focusing on test scores, not educational achievement
  • Parents don’t understand math methods
  • United States history under Common Core is un-American because it includes both positive and negative aspects of the history of our country
  • A belief that parents should define school curriculum, not the school, district, state, or federal government
  • A belief that President Obama is behind the implementation of Common Core and other conservative conspiracy theories

Many of the issues have been generated by conservative voices after a push by Republicans during the past election cycle to ignite anger and votes against public education. Almost all of the complaints would have occurred from any attempt to improve and refine American educational techniques, especially when those improvements involve standardization for all American schools.

If you believe that setting minimum standards in reading, writing, and math is bad, then Common Core is bad. If you believe that children in your community should graduate with similar skills to other students around the country, then Common Core is good. If you believe that a high school degree should be the end of a person’s education, then Common Core is bad. If you believe that every student should receive an education that would prepare them for college, then Common Core is good.

THE REAL PROBLEM
Despite the politicizing of Common Core, there is a real issue in implementing any change in education. Funding.

Any business that seeks to upgrade or improve their methods knows that there is a real cost to any change. Yet, even smart business people seem to forget that to improve our educational system requires a major funding commitment. It takes money to research and establish new programs. It takes money to train school districts, principals, and teachers. It takes money to create new teaching materials, and it takes money to educate parents.

What Common Core is missing is the funding needed to make it a success. Until we can accept the fact that a commitment to education requires a commitment to funding, then we will continue using 20th educational techniques in a 21st century world. America’s efforts to update our educational system will cost money and Common Core is a victim of a society that has abandon quality education because it costs too much.

THE HYSTERIA OF THE LOUDEST VOICES
Unfortunately, Common Core lost a lot of support in the past twelve months. Much of that was due to the political rhetoric during last year’s campaigns, but some teachers are also pulling back support. This is not surprising. As parents become more vocal in opposition, few teachers are willing to oppose parent sentiment even if they are wrong.

Common Core is not a perfect educational system, but it does attempt to better prepare America’s children for a higher level of achievement. Most of the real issues can be resolved with better funding. Just as a school built in the 1950’s is no longer relevant for 2015, education methods of the pre-information era are not relevant today. Our population is continuing to increase and the skills our children must have to thrive as adults are going to advance. Education is going to be expensive, but if we don’t pay now, we will pay more later.

PREVIOUSLY:  Part I:  A Primer in American Education 
                            Part II:  What is Common Core?

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Common Core: Are You A Good Switch Or A Bad Switch? Part II

PART TWO: What is Common Core?

Cartoon in Chicago Tribune about parent reaction to Common Core

Cartoon in Chicago Tribune about parent reaction to Common Core

The Third Generation of Standardized Education
The basic premise of the George W. Bush (43rd President) administration’s No Child Left Behind (NCLB) mandate was that reading, writing, and math are fundamental to all learning. This is a sound concept; however, these basic skills cannot supplant other subjects traditionally taught in K-12 schools, nor can they be isolated from those subjects. Our society, both business and personal interactions, require an adequate understanding of a wide variety skills and knowledge that exceed the basic skills of reading, writing, and math.

Common Core is an attempt to refine the concept of NCLB by creating standards for all schools that focus on reading, writing, and math, but it also folds these skills into other subjects that impact personal success in the 21st century. Common Core emphasizes teaching methods and outcomes, but leaves it to the State, school district, and school on how to incorporate the program into the curriculum.

Why Some Parents Dislike Common Core Math
Some of the methods adopted by Common Core have angered parents and politicians. In particular, the approach to teaching math. The math issue centers on bewildered parents who don’t understand the revised math teaching methods and why equations seem to be more complicated than when they attended school. The assumption by parents is that whatever they were taught is good enough for their children; however, that is not necessarily true.

Almost every adult in this country was taught that the symbol for a number (e.g.; ‘7’) was everything we needed to know about the number that it represents. We were taught to memorize how the symbol ‘7’ multiplied by the symbol ‘9’ equals the symbol ’63.’ That teaching method does not mean that the student understands that ‘7,’ ‘9,’ and ’63’ are symbols representing a group of objects. 

This is a subtle, but important understanding in math functions. The equation ‘7 x 9 = 63,’ means that we are taking a group of seven objects, adding eight more groups of seven, and determining the total of objects. That is much more complicated than just memorizing that 7 x 9 = 63, but it helps us realize that multiplication is a shortcut to manually counting out 63 objects individual, rather than grouping them.

The weakness of memorization of relationships between symbols also creates confusion as a student moves into higher mathematical equations. In algebra, geometry, and calculus the numeral symbols become less relevant. For example, X = (X+1) and Y = (X-3) can be confusing because ‘X’ stands for EVERY number.

The Credit Card Example
A man is given ten credit cards, but he is NOT told that each credit card represents an amount of money in the bank and, that if used, the money is replenished the next day. He is told how to use each credit card. One card is to buy gas, one to use at the grocery store, etc. Today, he’s at the gas station and it so happened that two of his friends are already there. He decides to pay for his friend’s fuel, which they appreciate. They go on their way, but when he tries to pay for his fuel, the credit card is declined. He didn’t understand that the card represented a limited amount of money, he just assumed it could be used for any amount of fuel. That is similar to how math has been taught in the past. We may have known what to do with the numbers (symbols,) but we may not have fully understood that numbers are just symbols.

Good News, Bad News
Parents objections to the new math teaching methods are a good sign that our children are gaining a deeper understanding of mathematics than their parents did in school; however, parents need to be able to assist their children with homework.¹ This means parents need to be taught the new methods, but few if any schools have developed programs to teach parents because there is no funding available to accomplish the task.

Who Came Up With the Common Core Math Techniques?
Despite the belief that Common Core math techniques were invented in the past few years, the techniques were modeled off educational programs in certain Asian countries where they have been more successful at preparing students for college. In 2009, a coalition of State Governors and Educators worked together to build an educational program that would serve as a ‘best practices’ guide for American schools, which was the birth of Common Core.

NEXT:  Part III:  An Answer to the Question – Good? or Bad?
PREVIOUSLY:  Part I:  A Primer in American Education 

¹Most studies indicate that students perform better when parents are involved in their children’s education. At the very least it indicates to the child that their parents place a high value on becoming educated.

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Common Core: Are You A Good Switch Or A Bad Switch? Part I

School's should welcome diversity of ideas but shouldn't tolerate political agendas

School’s should welcome diversity of ideas but shouldn’t tolerate political agendas

PART I: A Primer in American Education

Who’s Afraid of Common Core?
Education in America is often the centerpiece of someone’s agenda, and the newest chapter of the how-to-fix-our-schools controversy is called Common Core. Conservatives have apparently decided that Common Core is the path to Satan. Liberals have reservations about Common Core because it smacks of a factory-like environment that assumes every student and school is the same.

The problem is that the most vocal critics of Common Core have no authority to speak on effective educational methods. Common Core is a significant paradigm shift in education, and opinions of untrained, uneducated, unhelpful ‘experts’  do nothing to move forward the debate on how best to prepare our children for Life 3.0.

The Cost of Achievement
In 1950, only one-third of the population in the United States had a high school degree or better, and only six percent had a college degree or better. In 2010, almost ninety percent of Americans had at least a high school degree, and thirty percent had at least a college degree. That increase is impressive, but what is astounding is that in the same sixty year time frame, America’s population doubled. 

To accomplish that feat cost money. A lot of money. As the bandwagon to attack government spending gained steam, education loomed large in the sights of conservatives. The real cost of the success of American educational achievement has been to become a target of the post-Reagan  agenda.  

Public school in Panama: Seeking to achieve the American dream

Public school in Panama: Seeking to achieve the American dream

A Historical Perspective
In the pre-Information age, schools were isolated in their own districts. How well the students of any given school performed was a local issue, not a state or national issue. In addition, a relatively small percentage of students sought out a college degree, and there were few school districts keeping track of college bound students.

The goal for most school districts in the 1960’s, 70’s, and 80’s was graduate as many students as possible, which sometimes opened the door to unethical practices, such as giving diplomas to students who clearly did not meet reasonable expectations (ability to read, write, etc.) to graduate.

However, by the 1990’s, the idea that all schools in the United States should be able to measure academic success through a unified set of academic standards began to take hold. As the Internet became the backbone of our society, the resulting information explosion forced us to accept that adequate math and reading skills were vital for success as an adult in a technologically advanced society. 

First Generation of Educational Standards
By the beginning of this century, plans had been put into motion to establish a set of educational standards for all schools and testing of all students to determine a school’s success or failure. Under President George W. Bush, the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB,) was mandated and it required States to establish standardized testing, teacher qualifications, and annual academic progress reporting. This was one of the most sweeping federal intrusions into public education. The primary focus of NCLB was to improve reading, writing, and mathematics in schools nationwide, while allowing States to establish the educational standards that would have to be met.

The catch was that rather than investing in those schools that needed help, No Child Left Behind focused on punishing schools that didn’t meet the artificial standards. Almost ever reputable educational review of NCLB  has given it a failing grade. Some of the reasons are as follows:

  • The emphasis on reading, writing, and math during a time when States were cutting funds for kindergarten through twelfth grade (K-12) created a shearing effect on other programs (language, history, music, arts, etc.) as money had to be reallocated to the studies under the NCLB Act.
  • Politicians had little understanding of education and the variables in a classroom environment and they attempted to apply factory-like operations to school systems that failed to address the real issues that impact the ability to learn.
  • NCLB assumed that teachers were mostly at fault for poor educational performance and politicians sought to intervene by imposing punishments for schools rather than actually acting in the best interest of the students.
  • The education of higher performing students was sacrificed in order to devote more resources for the poorer performing students.
  • Students with special needs were not excluded from the testing standards creating a population of students that automatically counted as failing against the school.

Educational Standards – Second Generation
Soon after taking office, the Obama administration began to move away from NCLB by introducing “Race to the Top.” This program flipped NCLB by seeking to reward States for adopting standardized programs rather than punishing them for not meeting federal standards. States competed for additional federal education funding; however, not every State rushed to play the game that offered no guarantee of financial carrot at the finish line.

The most searing problem with Obama’s Race to the Top program may have been the requirement that a teacher’s performance had to be linked to the student’s test scores. This concept of Pay For Performance suggests that teaching professionals must be threatened with a financial stick, forcing teachers to teach students to be successful on the tests by sacrificing all other educational values. It also discourages teachers from working with groups of challenging students who will not be able to produce the test results of more privileged and economically stable students.

NEXT:  Part II:  What is Common Core?
To be published Wednesday, 25 March, 0700 PDT/1400 UTC

NEXT NEXT:  Part III:  An Answer to the Question – Good? or Bad?
To be published Wednesday, 25 March, 1200 PDT/1900 UTC

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Epilogue : The 2010’s

The 2010’s – End of Civility

Image credit: J. Scott Applewhite/AP.

White Conservatives: “Go F**k Yourselves America”

REAGAN:  The Killer of America’s Prosperity
From 1950 to 2010 the population of the United States of America doubled (+104.0%.) The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) tripled (+218.1%.) The median annual income is eleven times more than 1950 (+1028%.) Life expectancy has increased by over 15% (15.4%.) Men AND women are marrying an average of over five years older in 2010 than they did in 1950 (men +23.7%, women +28.6%.) The percentage of people with at least a high school degree is now almost 90% versus 34% in 1950 (+153.6%.) Today, 30% of our citizens have at least a college degree versus 6% in 1950 (+383.9%.)

Something went right for America in the last 60 years. But that is changing.

Prior to the Great Depression, Republicans controlled the House and Senate for the majority of the previous 70 years. After the Great Depression both the House and Senate was under Democratic control until 1980. In 1980, America began folowing the conservatives agenda (Reagan 1980-1988, Bush 41 1989-1992, Republican control of Congress 1994-2008) of dismantling the government at all levels, start more wars, give more money to the wealthy, and give less help for the un-wealthy. Since 1979, the wealthiest 1% after-tax income has increased by 200%.

U.S._Income_-_Changes_by_Income_Group_1979-2011

The 1% are 200% wealthier since conservatives took control of the government

Since 1980, annual increases in U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has stalled and fallen.

GDP Growth by Year

ANNUAL GDP GROWTH: Post World War II, U.S. annual GDP began a steady growth until shortly after Ronald Reagan became President.

GROWTH SACRIFICED FOR GREED
Post-war prosperity was spurred by significant federal government projects and programs. Conservatives derailed that by blaming government for economic issues that were caused by corporate and business greed.

Despite the obvious failure of the Reagan agenda, conservatives have taken a position of complete denial and fantastical thinking. They no longer believe they have any obligation to acknowledge or respect the rest of America. Conservatives are behaving as a child would behave when they are not getting their way, even though their request is completely inappropriate. Rather than accepting that President Obama was elected twice by a majority of Americans, Republicans have blocked all efforts to move forward on measures proven to generate American prosperity because it would make those that have more, give more.

Reagan conservatives have failed and they are backed in a corner of failure. They will not accept reason, nor facts. Civility would force them to accept their failure, so they must be uncivil. They are willing to destroy America, rather than acknowledge failure.

WHY ARE WE HERE?
America has experience massive change in the past 65 years. Most of that change has been good, but the one aspect of the American concept, the idea that we are all created equal, is the one issue in our country that has cast a shadow over us for centuries. White males believe that they are superior to all others and as our demographics have changed Caucasians have worked to obstruct equality rather than accept it.

Segregation was not considered racist until it became obvious it was motivated by whites who were racist. Dismantling government programs that benefit the poor and those in need may not be considered racist, until we realize that these ideas have been pushed forward almost exclusively by white politicians. Telling America that the rich are too burdened to pay a fair share of their taxes is not considered racist until you examine the loop of rich white people giving money to white politicians to pass laws that will reduce taxes on the wealthiest who are almost all white.

America is a country that has yet to commit to everyone being equal. In the 1950’s, white people took their money and ran away to the suburbs. In the 1960’s, the federal government finally stepped in and paid attention to the unequal treatment of African-Americans. In the 1970’s, we became distracted by unethical leaders, war, oil shortages, and inflation. In the 1980’s, we were conned into the idea that our government was to blame for all our problems in the 1970’s, while the Reagan spent money that America didn’t have to spend. In the 1990’s, the conservatives regained control of Congress and began dismantling the federal government and ending ethical business oversight. In the 2000’s, Republicans led America down a path of war and destruction that almost wiped out our economic system.

Why we are here is because we have become weak. We have listened to fools and we know they are fools. They are willing to tear America apart for greed and their own racist ideals. To a racist, compromise is unthinkable, and that is why conservatives will never work towards a unified nation.

THE SERIES:  The 1950’s    The 1960’s    The 1970’s    The 1980’s    The 1990’s    The 2000’s    

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This is Why (2015 vs the 2000’s)

The 2000’s – The Defeat of America

Decade of Fear: Y2K, 9/11, WMD's, Katrina, Banking Collapse, Unemployment, Global Warming, Putin, ISIS

Decade of Fear: Y2K, 9/11, WMD’s, Katrina, Banking Collapse, Unemployment, Global Warming

TWENTY OH’s
If the 1990’s were a seismic event of technological and social change, the twenty-oh’s is when the tsunami of change hit. Had nothing else happened but the advancement of the Internet, the changes by that alone would have drastically remade the world as we knew it; however, the twenty-oh’s were not content in merely redefining society and the way we communicate, the first decade of the new millennium was going to do an extreme makeover of all our expectations in life. Here are twenty things that made us say Oh!

  1. Y2K, the disaster that never came (Jan. 2000)
  2. Elections of 2000
    1. Florida election fiasco (Nov./Dec. 2000)
    2. Supreme Court appoints George W. Bush as President (Dec. 2000)
  3. Attacks of September 11, 2001
  4. Anthrax letters
  5. Wars of Just Because
    1. Afghanistan (2001-2014)
    2. Iraq (2003-2011)
  6. Rise of Smaller and Smarter Technology (Entire Decade)
    1. Smartphone
    2. Texting
  7. Space Shuttle Columbia destroyed on reentry (Feb. 2003)
  8. Mars Rovers bounce to successful landings and missions
    1. Spirit (June 2003)
    2. Opportunity (July 2003)
  9. Saddam Hussein captured (Dec. 2003)
  10. Assault weapon ban expires (Sept. 2004)
  11. Online Wonders
    1. Amazon.com
    2. Facebook
    3. Twitter
    4. Google
    5. YouTube
    6. Wikipedia
  12. Indian Ocean Earthquake/Tsunami (Dec. 2004)
  13. Pope John Paul dies (Apr. 2005)
  14. Global Warming
  15. Hurricane Katrina (Aug. 2005)
  16. Virginia Tech Massacre (Apr. 2007)
  17. Global Economic Disaster (2007-08)
    1.  Financial giants collapse
    2.  Housing market collapses
    3. Auto industry collapses
    4. Massive unemployment
  18. Price of gas soars, and falls….as a function of conservative politics
  19. Barack Obama elected as President (Nov. 2008)
  20. Nuclear weapons
    1. Iraq
    2. North Korea

The Twenty-oh’s began with the most bizarre Presidential election in American history, followed by the most shocking attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor, followed by two United States initiated wars that would be fought simultaneously, followed by the loss of the Space Shuttle and its crew on reentry to Earth, followed by an earthquake/tsunami that would kill almost a quarter of a million people in 14 countries in one day, followed by a massacre at Virginia Tech, followed by a near meltdown of our global financial system, followed by an African-American being elected as President.

THE GREAT CONSERVATIVE FAILURE
Despite all that happened, it was politics that defined the 2000’s. Keeping with the two-faced Reagan policy of “America Can’t” and money must be taken from the poor and given to the rich, President George Bush took the cost of running two wars off the books so that he could look like he was cutting government spending when he was, in fact, putting the government deeper in debt and running massive deficits.

Behind the scenes, a decade of conservative-driven deregulation in the financial industry created a bad debt bomb that exploded in 2007-08. Almost overnight, America’s economy was devastated by greed and a lack of common sense. People who saw the disaster coming took the attitude that everyone else was unethical, so why should I be the only good person? When the curtain fell on Wall Street, Republicans, who created the environment for the disaster, quietly stepped away and whistling as if they were unaware there was a problem.

Bush 43, was completely out of his league in dealing with the problem. To repair the damage to our economy would require taking actions that was would essentially prove that the Reagan doctrine was the cause of the disaster, and President Bush was not willing to take the necessary actions. Fortunately, Barack Obama had just been elected and, with Bush impotent in action, the 44th President stepped up and began to manage the crisis and establishing a plan of recovery.

The Republican caused disaster did not cause conservatives to humbly acknowledge their failure, but rather pushed them to further deny the facts. As the economy began recovering, conservatives began blaming Democrats for not making the recovery happen faster. As conservative predictions of Democratic policy failure began to be proven wrong, conservatives began raising absurd and meaningless issues to redirect people’s attention (e.g.; Obama was not an American, Obama was a Muslim, Obama had a secret plan to take everyone’s guns away, etc.) 

Because the Reagan doctrine was based on white, 1950’s suburban thinking, the hate for President Obama came naturally to the white, male voter. Instead of a political correction for the failed Reagan agenda, conservatives became even more rabid and illogical. By the end of the decade America was heading for defeat at the hands of conservatives who had taken away American prosperity and were unwilling to accept any idea that didn’t match their failed version of the world.

NEXT:  Epilogue

THE SERIES:  The 1950’s    The 1960’s    The 1970’s    The 1980’s    The 1990’s

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