Numbers are transparent and “math is the language of objectivity” as Professor Corbello writes. While he addresses the perils of data collection and interpretation but does not use the term statistics directly, he is astutely aware of how easy it becomes to skew statistics either to prove or disprove a given thesis. One issue in both political science and political history is that too many tend to believe assumptions without even a cursory review of the numbers. The issue then becomes not one of misinterpretation but one of fabrication. In other words a lie keeps getting tossed about until it finally sticks.
Most of us who teach either political science or history can take the data provided by Professor Corbello and twist the numbers to support any point along an ideological scale.
It’s difficult; however, to use the numbers to sugarcoat his proposition.
“Imagine if we in Louisiana really did have to pay for our own spending!”
One thing I discovered only after leaving the Hungarian Settlement and for that matter other places not adjacent to either the Hill or K Street is that these “takers,” “welfare kings and queens,” and lazy good for nothings being blamed for all the ills of society are not the dope heads and scums of the Earth that do exist. Yes, those are harsh characterizations on my part, but there are many who demand something for nothing because they feel entitled. Many of us can put a relative on that list.
Those folk I characterize above are different from those who have slipped and need a hand; those who have faced forces beyond their control; those who will return any kindness and assistance offered many times over as soon as they have the capability. Let me make that point clear.
On the Hill or K Street I’ve discovered that the “takers” are usually people like me, like my Dad, my Grandparents, my teachers, my colleagues, and my friends. These “takers” are people that I’ve seen personally spill gallons of sweat doing physical labor from before sun up to well after sun down.
The takers are those who have worked for everything they have and sacrifice to provide for their family. To me these people are the heart and soul of America, and they come in different colors, genders, and beliefs. At times you don’t respect specific things about who they are or what they do, but still you respect the person because you know that person.
Still, it is reality. People like you, people like me, we are both “the takers” and takers.
The transparency of numbers makes it clear that we rely upon others for much of the government services we often take for granted. We work. We try to assist others. We are vital cogs within our communities. Still, we cannot fund the building of new roads or even the repair of existing ones without government involvement. Dollar for dollar may not equate but service bartered in exchange balances the ledger. To appreciate that, however, one must be acquainted with the teeter-totter upon which most ride and know what it is like to share a seat. For whatever reason those connections seem to fade as one goes higher. A lot of truth resides in the saying of grounded in reality.
If you’re wondering where Louisiana representatives are as some sweat the fate of education, healthcare; as kids and their parents cry not knowing if necessary programs for their very well-being will be funded; as the elderly who built that which has been neglected to the state of crumbling watch their earned retirement get drained; these representatives are not laser focused on the special session; they have to make time to fundraise for themselves.
Note: I did take an undergraduate survey level course from Professor Corbello at Southeastern years ago.
This little piece offers another illustration of why I thank the Good Lord for being a product of a public high school and universities coupled with what one discovers out in blackberries strung through hog wire, picking strawberries, gathering taters, listening in a packing shed, out on the river, out on the lake, standing in a K&B stockroom, and sitting on either a tailgate, stump, coke crate, or disconnected cement water fountain. I’m thankful because all offer not just rote facts but adaptation and communication. Arts and Science are connected along with the Humanities.