Thursday, December 1, 2011

Nutjobs Result in Consequences

This has been the craziest presidential primary season that I can remember. Virtually all of the current Republican candidates have a major issue or two hovering over their heads calling into serious question the issue of fitness; that is to say, fitness to be the leader of the modern world’s largest and, to date, most successful democracy. The prevailing theme of each of the current crop of candidates (except for, perhaps, Paul and Huntsman) comes right out of the Tea Party playbook. Romney, as an example, has had to completely redefine himself and disavow nearly every damn thing he stood for as a (good) Massachusetts Republican governor. Then we have the current frontrunner, Newt, who has had nearly a life long association with Washington, claiming to be the anti-Washington Christ-child.

But I digress. Let me write a bit about Florida and a specific situation that Tea Party thinking has brought to bear on American citizens in that state. Florida, like all other states, gives its residents preferential treatment insofar as the costs of tuition for a college education. It is Florida, home to nearly one million Cuban refugees and their descendants, that has come up with perhaps the most bizarre and pointless anti-immigrant policy of all. Beginning last year, the state’s higher education authorities have been treating American citizens born in the United States, including graduates of Florida high schools who have spent their entire lives in the state, as non-residents for tuition purposes if they can’t demonstrate that their parents are in the country legally. Think about it. All of us sitting cozily in our safe and secure domiciles and who might want to go back and take a college course or two would have to demonstrate that our parents (at our age probably deceased) were in the country legally. Quite frankly, I wouldn’t have the slightest idea as to how to go about doing that. A student at the University of Florida who is a natural born citizen of the United States and a life long resident of the state of Florida who currently pay $5700 yearly tuition and cannot demonstrate that his/her parents are in the country legally would have to pay $27,936 annually to continue his/her education. The same policy, although at lesser rates, applies throughout the college educational system in Florida, including junior colleges.

The major point of today’s blog is to point out that now might be a good time to reflect on what this Tea Party adventure has brought to society at the moment and allow us to decide whether or not voters want to continue on this path so we get more of the same, or to soundly reject the current insanity and restore this nation to the core beliefs that make it so special. In the background of all this, please remember, my Republican friends, that you may get what you ask for if you support these blunderheads.

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