I drove through a Taco Bell last night, which is not my usual habit, but I wanted an uncomplicated meal. After I placed my order, the friendly guy on the drive-through speaker asked me if I wanted to contribute $1.00 to help a high school child graduate.
I turned it down.
Don't get me wrong, 99.9% of the time I don't mind spending the extra buck for whatever charity just happens to surprise me at the drive through to rudely jack up my final total. I don't even mind having to write my name in felt-tip on some silly piece of paper so that one of the employees can stick it up with the thousand other names on pieces of paper all over the restaurant knowing full well that even in the unlikely event that someone reads it no one will suspect it was me and not the Eric who changed their oil last week. No, such shock-and-awe guerrilla tactics for philanthropy are among the things I'm willing to tolerate, and even go along with. What rubbed me the wrong way this time was the charity itself.
You see, the whole fight in Wisconsin politics right now is basically this: should schools be slashed in funding or not? The argument has been that greedy teachers are hoarding the money in the form of salaries, but if so, why are stores like Taco Bell playing the role of East Side beggar asking for a handout? Isn't slashing school funds working? Aren't those wonderful school vouchers bringing the costs down through competition?
Apparently not. And what's worse is, this particular Taco Bell was in Waukesha, which is contemplating changing its name to Scott Walkerville. I'll just bet nobody else who drove through, or even made contributions at, that drive through even made the simple connection that maybe Taco Bell wouldn't need to worry about our kid's education if our governor bothered to give a damn!
Okay, to be fair, maybe I'm assuming too much. Maybe helping a kid graduate means helping to buy the gown. Maybe it means paying for the ceremony. Maybe it helps to buy corrective lenses for the ones with dyslexia. Who knows? But more than likely, it's money needed to make up the huge gap which has been chopped out of the funds in education needed to ensure our nation's economic future.
Call me crazy, but I don't want our nation's fast food restaurants to be entrusted with funding our kids' educations.
I guess I refused to contribute, only because I didn't want to reward the behavior.