Have you ever made a decision that later on you regretted making? The answer to that question is, "of course." We have all made decisions that we wish we hadn't made. Sometimes those decisions don't really matter, yet sometimes they can significantly alter the course of our lives. The fool continues to make the same poor choices over and over. The fool doesn't learn from their mistakes. One poor decision after another. The wise person learns from the errors in the past and tries to prevent from making them again going forward.
So why do we make such foolish choices?
Well in some cases it is inexperience. We just don't have enough information or experience in a particular matter so we make an error in judgment. Fair enough. This is one way we develop as a child, through adolescent, to maturity as an adult. As we live our lives we add more and more experience to our knowledgebase. But in most cases as adults, our foolish choices are caused when we let our emotions get the best of us.
Emotions are a powerful force in our lives. Often times they can help motivate us to do some really great things. But if not kept in check, emotions can quickly lead us down a very destructive path. Think about the man in a bar who decides to drive home because he feels sober enough. However on his way home he gets into an accident. His emotions (pride - he can handle his liquor) and his feelings (don't call a cab, that's for wimps) led him to a very poor decision. When he is sober and reflects back on his decision to drive home while buzzed, he will certainly rethink that decision. If he is wise, he will tell himself never to do that again, no matter how he feels. The wise man ensures that his thinking rules over his emotions.
So as a society are we wise or foolish? Looking at the facts, it is becoming increasing clear we are on the fool's path to destruction in many ways. As a society we are moving away from the moral norms that made us the most prosperous nation ever in just over 200 years. Our government, which is a reflection of our society, is spending money it doesn't have and creating an almost impossible debt that will lead us to collapse or servitude to foreign powers. Why is this happening? Mostly because we are becoming a society that feels rather than thinks. The mantra from the 60's, "If it feels good, do it," has become the norm for many in our land. Where our parents and grandparents used wisdom and thought through decisions of moral and financial concerns, this generation is all about the now. "What will make me feel good now? Damned be the future."
If you don't think so, one particular example is a County School Bond Measure that will be before us in May. If you are planning on supporting the bond measure you understand you are propping up the following system:
- 1 in 4 students are broken (they fail to graduate).
- Half of all students are not proficient at math.
- This year the County School System will receive over $65 million in funding (over $10,000/student), and yet they aren't saving any for building projects.
- $19.4 million for new school building pencils out to about $500/square foot. Most homes in Klamath County are in neighborhood of $60-$120/square foot.
- There is no budget set up to maintain the new school building, so when it starts to fall apart (most likely before the bond measure is paid back), there will be no money available for maintenance and repairs.
So there are some facts. Will students learn better in a brand new building versus their current situation? The county is not claiming that. Instead they are feeding us emotional "reasons" that tug at our heartstrings why they need this bond measure:
- The children have to walk outside to go to the cafeteria.
- The children go to school in "shacks"
- If you aren't for this bond measure then you are against children receiving a good education in Klamath County.
- This is an investment for our children's sake.
- Someone paid for the school you went to, now it's your turn.
On the surface these seem compelling reasons. But on further analysis the wise person will understand they are mostly emotional ones. A thinking person can quickly see the school system has enough money to do what they want but they are spending it foolishly. A thinking person will also look at the fact that the county school system is failing our children. Our children are not being educated in a way to make them competitive in a 21st century economy and world.
The question on election day is not whether you want to help the children of Klamath County. Instead, the question is are you willing to give more of your hard earned money to a system spends it foolishly and that is clearly failing our children (and has no intention on changing the way it works). In essence, are you going to vote with your head or your heart? Are you a thinking voter or an emotional one?