It seems like, lately, I’ve been writing a decent amount about GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum. I really never thought I would be doing that. I figured everyone would notice he’s kind of an idiot and leave him out of the race. But, then again, pretty much all of the GOP candidates now seem either crazy, idiotic, or some wonderful, cubist mix of the two (That’d be Newt Gingrich.).
With Santorum being a serious contender longer, perhaps, than any other non-Mitt Romney candidate, he’s had more of a chance to say what’s on his mind.
And, y’know something? That just hasn’t been going terribly well for the GOP as a whole.
Now, before, I’ve talked about Santorum’s views on environmentalism, with some links to his views on women and gays, but he says outrageous stuff about those subjects all the time.
This time, I want to talk about his views on education.
See, President Barack Obama has been making the (clearly outrageous and controversial) statement that every American should go to college.
This actually started back long ago in January, when New Hampshire was on the line and Jon Huntsman and Rick Perry were still candidates. …it seems forever ago, doesn’t it? Anyway, at that time, Santorum mentioned that he felt Obama’s views on higher education was naught but “snobbery” and that he felt “outrage” at the suggestion. He brought the subject back up just recently at an event in Michigan, adding the angle of liberal indoctrination to his rant. When asked to clarify that point later, he doubled down, suggesting that college destroys faith.
Now, of course Obama has had a chance to respond before I have, but I had some Oscars to watch, daggum it. So, you may note that some of my points reflect the president’s. Be that as it may. To me, that just means Santorum is being doubly stupid.
Santorum’s biggest point against Obama’s desire to see every American go to college is the idea that college doesn’t fit for everyone. That some are better for more hands-on labor, something a four year college won’t necessarily assist with.
But Obama didn’t say “Every American should attend a four year, accredited university.” He said they should go to college. Basically, every American should continue their formal education beyond high school. Which can include trade school, vocational school and even community college. All of which are things that can help more formally teach someone “good with their hands” exactly how to use those hands. And often times, those schools are required by employers to ensure the potential employee knows what they’re doing. Even if it isn’t required, it still looks good on a resume.
Has Santorum not heard about how much more money people with college education make annually than people without it? Making money may not be the goal, but it certainly doesn’t hurt your average American.
But let’s ignore the money thing. College can also help you figure out what you actually want to do. With our primary and secondary educations failing us more and more as time goes by, higher education solidifies and expands knowledge that may have been skipped or rushed in primary and secondary schools. Further, with more focused classes, students are able to access more knowledge and find some field they may not have previously known even existed, much less wanted to be in.
When I came to college, I showed up knowing I was going to get a degree in Theatre and figuring I’d do Computer Science as well. I ended up trading CS for Philosophy, and I don’t regret it. A friend of mine was told by high school teachers he’d be terrible in the sciences. Now he’s getting his Master’s in Geology, has worked with NASA and in other countries… I don’t think he’s looking back any time soon. And as geology and philosophy weren’t classes available to us in high school, we never would have found our passions without college. (Mine’s still mostly theatre, but hey. Without college, I almost definitely wouldn’t have ever worked at a newspaper and gotten the journalism/writing bug.)
Further, a more informed, educated nation is a better nation. A nation of excellence, not stagnation. A nation that would actually understand the world around them and not have to be force fed by pundits and politicians.
What if that guy that’s great tinkering with cars could’ve become the next greatest architect or civil engineer? How would he necessarily know if all he did was some shop class in high school? It’s better for him AND America as a whole to get that higher education.
As for the indoctrination claim… I feel that’s insulting to conservative students and students of faith that make it through college without wavering. If access to knowledge makes them change their mind about what they used to think, then okay. How is that a bad thing? Without people changing their minds, the earth would still be thought of as flat. (And by some, it still is.) But for those of us that made it through college having a faith and keeping it, it’s a bit insulting for Santorum to insinuate that college can destroy it. That makes the people with faith sound weak. For goodness’ sake, I was a philosophy major. I knew teachers (never had them myself) that openly mocked the idea of belief in a god. And yet, somehow, I made it through still believing.
And liberals and atheists get “called out” and “mocked” just as much as every other religion and political ideology. The whole martyrdom thing is really just pathetic. Maybe it’s worse at some colleges than others, but I have a feeling that goes both ways… and that, really, it doesn’t matter much. If you believe something, you believe it in the face of adversity. If you believe something because you don’t know any better, however, you should be given the knowledge to feed your belief system.
Education is a precious commodity that needs to be encouraged. It is FAR from “snobbish” to promote the idea of better education for all Americans, for eliminating ignorance. Santorum, with his doctorate in law, ought to know that.
But, then again, maybe he’s counting on people being too ignorant to know what a terrible candidate he is.