Hey GOP, time to change the kitty litter

I have had a Grumblings rolling around in my head for quite a while about public education, the role of parents, and the war over curriculum.  That one is going to have to wait, because until the GOP changes out the kitty litter, it really doesn’t matter what liberals and Democrats see in our future. 

Many times in the course of my adult life I had people suggest I run for one political office or another.  (My mother, who doesn’t count, used to introduce me to new friends as her “future Senator.)  Whether it was a suggestion to run for school board, State Rep, or dog catcher, I always declined the opportunity.  There is always a great deal to consider if a person is going to go into public service.  There are money concerns, time constraints, family conflicts, perceived skeletons, etc.  For me, however, the one barrier was always that I didn’t think I was smart enough.  I perceived the job to require superior intelligence and leadership skills that I had no confidence I possessed.  Sure, I can hold my own in bar trivia and Jeopardy, and at times I get a little arrogant when people around me claim really stupid stuff, but that doesn’t mean I considered myself smart enough to contribute positively to our society.  

When I finished my undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan, I applied to one graduate school: the University of Michigan.  I planned on completing my PhD and going on to teach at some small liberal arts college somewhere.  I was the only Michigan undergrad accepted into that cohort.  I think there were forty-two of us that started that fall, and the list of undergrad colleges represented in that cohort was impressive indeed.  When I found out that I was the only Michigan undergrad, I convinced myself that I must be pretty smart.  It was a genuine measure by people whose sole job it was to assemble the smartest young people in the country to attend the country’s top Political Science program.  Michigan had passed Harvard the year before in whatever rankings mattered (at least to the people at Michigan), and so I think I was justified in believing I had something going on upstairs.

In our FIRST cohort meeting, I realized that I was likely the dumbest guy in the room.  It is a moment I cannot forget.  As we hung around in a Haven Hall lounge, meeting each other, the professors, and some of the spouses, I shrunk in horror at how ill prepared I was to compete with the people in this room.  Many of my colleagues dropped out before Christmas that first year.  They too understood that whatever got them to that room in Haven Hall wasn’t enough to have them walking out in five years with a PhD.  But I have this thing about quitting.  I have spent much of life in stressful and unhappy situations because I was determined to finish what I started.  It sounds admirable.  It’s actually often a curse.

So stay I did for four years.  I watched my colleagues soar as they put together dissertation proposals and maneuvered the thorny politics of a high-powered graduate program.  Meanwhile I focussed on the teaching side of the job.  We all had to perform graduate assistant duties to justify our stipends.  Most of my colleagues hated it because it took away from their research.  I loved it because it took away from my “research”.  

After four years it was pointless to continue.  I took my Masters and walked away knowing that while I was a pretty good teacher, I was not a world-class scholar.  That brings me back to politics and the kitty litter.  Remember the kitty litter?

For most of my life I was convinced that I didn’t have the intellectual skills to be an effective public servant.  It took me until the last six years to realize that I had it all wrong the entire time. It took a story about kitty litter to make me realize exactly how little intellectual capital is floating around in the heads of many of our elected officials.  You can read the story here.

I cannot begin to explain why some people identify as “furries” or how that governs how they live their lives.  That isn’t what is disturbing about the story.  Someone had some fun and claimed that Midland Schools was providing kitty litter in student bathrooms to accommodate students who identified as “furries.”  Clearly a joke…perhaps even a mean-spirited poke at transgender and other non-binary folks…it’s hard to know.  But whatever the intent, it was surely not intended to be believed…unless you’re the chairperson of the Michigan Republican Party.  Meshawn Maddock posted on her Facebook page about the kitty litter as if it was true.  She decided not to spend the 30 seconds of introspection it would have taken to realize it was someone’s attempt at humor.  Nope.  She just posted and demanded action, claiming “Parent heroes will TAKE BACK our schools.”  (I’ll get back to this “parent hero” thing if I even get that “public education, role of parents, and the war over curriculum” article written.)

Meshawn Maddock is an idiot.  Marjorie Taylor Greene is an idiot.  Lauren Boebart is an idiot.  Ron Johnson is an idiot.  Louie Gohmert is an idiot. Donald Trump is an idiot.  Lee Chatfield is an idiot.  Tristan Cole is an idiot.  Rand Paul is an idiot.

I spent most of my adult life believing I wasn’t smart enough to serve the people, and now I realize intelligence is clearly not a required credential for service at all.  Granted everyone on my list is a Republican, and I am sure there are some Dems who are idiots.  The Dems at this point in history, however, aren’t the problem.  They’re too busy eating their own young to have much of an effect on how the government functions.  The GOP on the other hand, despite being actively involved in an armed insurrection against the government, is still apparently the people’s choice to lead.  

Therefore, I am asking Republican voters to do the right thing.  As long as you’re going to be picking our state’s and our nation’s leaders for the foreseeable future, can you please take a minute and change out the kitty litter?  Dems in Michigan did it in 1998 when they ran for cover as Geoffrey Feiger ran for Governor.  You can do it too.  There are undoubtedly some talented, intelligent, respectable Republicans hiding under the covers waiting for this to all be over.   But unless the GOP sweeps away the turds and allows these hypothetical talented, intelligent, respectable candidates into the race, we’re doomed to many more years of life under the idiocracy.   Go ahead, change out the litter.

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One Comment on “Hey GOP, time to change the kitty litter”

  1. marypc January 23, 2022 at 1:32 pm #

    OMG – Absolutely spot on! Keep writing – unless you decide to run for office…
    Love, Maggie

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