Log in

No account? Create an account
Dumber than rocks, meaner than snakes - MoonScape [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

[ website | My Website ]
[ userinfo | livejournal userinfo ]
[ archive | journal archive ]

Dumber than rocks, meaner than snakes [Sep. 3rd, 2009|03:46 pm]
[Current Mood |awake]

So a friend let me know that there's a big hoorah about President Obama making an online address to schools about the importance of staying in school and studying hard...

And oh, my, I went to those links and thought "These people are dumber than rocks or meaner than snakes and maybe both."

See, when President Obama does anything, it's political, but when Bush did it, it was the pure gold goodness of his heart.  Right?   (Sarcasm switch turned all the way on.)

In the Austin-American Statesman article about this,  Jim Greer, the chairman of the Florida Republican Party said Obama's real aim was to indoctrinate schoolchildren with his "socialist ideology."   Evidently he's forgotten that on 9/11,  President Bush was in a Florida classroom talking to schoolchildren....do you suppose he was "indoctrinating" them in his philosophy?   Is that how Mr. Greer came to expect "indoctrination?"   Clearly Mr. Greer, like so many of his ilk, thinks that "indoctrination" is done by those other people...that yanking your child out of school so he can't hear the words of a president you don't like isn't indoctrination...

One of our fine (sarcasm switch still on) Texas legislators, Dan Patrick put it this way: "
President Bush believed that no child should be left behind. "President Obama apparently believes no voter should be left behind, no matter how young."   (Perhaps Mr. Patrick hasn't caught on that President Obama is limited to two terms--eight years--and most of these kids will never get to vote for him even if they want to.) 

"This seems more of an extended campaign for himself, as opposed to focusing on the important issue of education," Patrick said.

So a good thing to tell the kids that they won't be left behind, but it's wrong to tell them to study and stay in school?   Personally I think Patrick's statement is "more of an extended campaign for himself" and completely missed "the important issue of education." 

There are other sites all bent out of shape about this.  People are urging one another to keep their kids home from school so they'll avoid the contamination.   Oddly enough, none of them were bent out of shape when Bush or Mrs. Bush (or the former Bush or Mrs Bush) spoke at schools.   One person was suggested all sorts of leading questions for parents and teachers to ask kids, if the kids did show up (like "If he told you to jump off a cliff, would you?"  Well..hmmm....Bush sent 18 year olds to war--which is about like jumping off a cliff.  Did you ask this question of yourself before voting for him?  Or were you happy to help send your child to war? )

When I was a kid, in Neolithic times, a president once drove through our town.  Schools declared a holiday so everyone could line the highway to watch him pass.  My mother knew a woman who kept her kids at home lest they be contaminated by the sight of a president of the wrong party.  My mother thought that was a) stupid and b) unAmerican.   I still think that.  I didn't like President Bush (not as governor of  Texas and not as President) but if he had come to the local school, I would have let (encouraged, in fact) our son to see him.   That's what good parents should go--enlarge their kids' understanding, not constrict it.   You can't raise healthy children on a diet of paranoia and ignorance.   If a child's value system is so fragile that hearing another viewpoint corrupts them forever--it wasn't much of a value system and the parents have a heckuva lot bigger problem than a politician they don't like. 

This country is not, has never been, and I hope never becomes monolithic--of one mind throughout in everything.  


[User Picture]From: kk1raven
2009-09-03 10:01 pm (UTC)
If these people don't think that encouraging kids to stay in school and study is a good thing, maybe they should come live in my city where about half the kids who start high school fail to finish. My sister's class had over 1200 members at the beginning of high school and less than 600 graduated. I think the numbers have improved a little in the eight years since then, but not a lot. As far as I'm concerned, anyone who can help those young people to understand the importance of staying in school and studying has my support in that particular endeavor, whatever I think of their politics otherwise.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2009-09-03 11:37 pm (UTC)
You and I both...so I wonder on what planet people are living that staying in school and studying are considered unAmerican.

It's like they're throwing out the baby and keeping the dirty bathwater.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread) (Expand)
[User Picture]From: shsilver
2009-09-03 10:31 pm (UTC)
A couple of years ago, our Congresscritter (of the "other" party) spoke at my daughters' school. My daughters announced their intention to boo him when he spoke. My wife and I patiently explained, in detail, how and why such an action was inappropriate. Our children behaved themselves.

Of course, during the Fourth of July parade, our daughters have no compunction against telling him (or his workers) that no, they really don't want any of his stickers or pins, they'll wait for the other guy.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2009-09-03 11:39 pm (UTC)
Good for you and your wife! I annoy my Congresscritter fairly often by email and snail mail, but I would not let my kid (assuming my kid was still in school) boo him if he showed up there. (Instead, he showed up at the richest schools in the district, not ours.) Though I'd bend his ear into accordion pleats if he came to town to talk to constituents...hmmm...he knows where I live, so maybe that's why he never shows his face here.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
From: (Anonymous)
2009-09-03 10:44 pm (UTC)
Amazed and appalled. Have been reading the vitriol and trying to understand what all the fuss is about. We desperately need to motivate our schoolchildren, especially those whose families don't understand the value of a solid education.

(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2009-09-03 11:34 pm (UTC)
In my darker moments (wow, I have darker moments???) I suspect that those on the attack do not want the dropouts to stay in school, or any child to learn very much, because then they might have to face competition with those they like to think of as "below" them. Much easier to support building more "juvenile justice centers" and prisons.

After all, that kind has already found out that simply removing the quotas that once gave white males over 90% of the places at medical school and law school, and 100% of the places in some trades has meant losing some jobs to women and nonwhite males...something they complain about endlessly. If you motivate those sneered at for being truants and dropouts...if you really do get them working, studying, and finishing school...gee golly, that kid from the wrong side of the tracks might end up in the White House, while your pampered little brat is flipping burgers and still living at home with mom and dad.

But of course, that's only in my darker moments...
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread) (Expand)
(no subject) - (Anonymous) Expand
(no subject) - (Anonymous) Expand
[User Picture]From: jhetley
2009-09-04 01:27 am (UTC)
I think you're being unkind to snakes with the comparison . . .
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2009-09-04 04:46 am (UTC)
Probably. OTOH I said meaner than snakes, not mean AS snakes, which lets most snakes off the hook but not _Crotalus atrox_. I have experience with C. atrox. A proddy C. atrox (not all of them are proddy) is one of our local wildlife's more...um...aggressive...creatures. (C. atrox: western diamondback rattlesnake. Also known as the coontail rattlesnake for the strips just before the rattles.) They'll buzz you off from twenty feet away if they're really in a nasty mood--it's not just "Don't tread on me" but "Get off my land, I don't even want you within sight or sound."

I've had other snakes within a couple of feet who just looked at me and stuck out their tongues (I know, I know, they're tasting the air...it just looks like "Nyah-nyah-nyah!") Some flee in panic, others lie there (on warm spring days especially) radiating "Don't see me and I won't have to move..." The big rat snake that had been in our attic but was in the dead tree in the front yard went up the tree fast and then hung over several limbs while I took pictures before deciding the local paparazzi were just too annoying and taking a dive into a juniper bush. But the rattlers are never neutral about what they consider intruders. I had a big one, one time, move away from the tractor--but with its tail up and buzzing loud enough to hear over the diesel engine every inch of its retreat. As soon as it got under a bush, it coiled up, ready to strike, just daring me to run the tractor into the bush. Which of course I didn't.

So when I say some people are meaner than snakes, I mean "meaner than a proddy western diamondback rattlesnake." While knowing full well that the majority of our native snakes aren't mean at all. To people, anyway. It's better not to be a small frog or a bird's egg or a baby squirrel.

(Reply) (Parent) (Thread) (Expand)
[User Picture]From: eir_de_scania
2009-09-04 06:34 am (UTC)
Living on the other side of the pond, talk about Obamas "socialist ideology" is just hilarious. Of course, here a "left-wing liberal" is an oxymoron...

(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: stephen_dedman
2009-09-04 07:23 am (UTC)
Here in Australia, too. Our right-wing party calls itself the Liberals, and 'socialism' is much less of a dirty word than 'privatisation'.

As for the Republicans' attitude to anything Obama says or does, I think the most likely explanation is that they're following Marx. Groucho, not Karl, of course.

(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: martinl_00
2009-09-04 02:30 pm (UTC)
The Republicans have hitched their wagon to the most reactionary elements in the country (focused on the rural south - the infamous "Southern Strategy") to such a degree that said elements have taken over the "wagon." Due to the evolution of acceptable social norms both inside and outside of the USA, this strategy is suffering serious demographic and electoral issues, but the people driving the wagon are too committed to their position to back down. Human dominance games can be monumentally stupid this way.

There's a lot of historical irony here.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2009-09-04 02:59 pm (UTC)
Oh, yes, there's historical irony.

Well, the thing about dominance games (in any species) is that once you go to dominance, you've lost learning and thinking. It's reactive. Shove/shove back. Yell/yell louder. Hit/hit harder. Who's the real thousand pound gorilla, the real alpha wolf, the real alpha mare (or, for that matter, the top hen in the chicken house?) The best horse I ever owned got in a kick=boxing match with a mare two hands taller...and K- would not back down until had bone-deep wounds on her forelegs and deep cuts elsewhere (she was barefoot; the other horse wore shoes.) They were fighting for herd dominance after the previous alpha mare was shipped out. Later, healthy again, K- dominated a gelding close to twice her weight and again two hands taller.

I'm not opposed to competitiveness and winning, myself--too much fire in my own blood to be a pure stand-aside, let's-all-just-be-reasonable individual. From childhood, when I had to do it for survival, I've been prone to react to a shove by knocking the shover down, as various bullies found out. ("Never start a fight: always finish one.") But I am capable of looking at the potential outcomes and deciding that this issue (whatever it is) isn't best seen as a dominance game...and then sitting down to learn more, so I can think more. Sometimes it takes a lot of lecturing myself (there's a situation now where I'm putting up with much more than I want to, to get something done.) Getting to that point--being able to see beyond the dominance situation--is the only way to free oneself from manipulation by others.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread) (Expand)
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]From: satyrblade
2009-09-04 05:08 pm (UTC)
Let's be real: these "people" don't want their kids seeing a black man (much less a "liberal" one) being admirable. The real "indoctrination" they fear comes from having contact with someone who refuses to fit the frightened, ignorant little world they've constructed for themselves.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: serenadefarm_05
2009-09-04 07:58 pm (UTC)
I would love for some school system/teacher/parent to say, "You know what? Learning to listen carefully and respectfully to someone you might disagree with is the foundation of civil society and essential to the process of learning. It's called thinking for yourself." And then make attendance at the speech mandatory.

All this nastiness and meanness makes me want to move to the country far from everything...oh, wait. We already did that.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread) (Expand)
[User Picture]From: maddoxa
2009-09-05 02:23 am (UTC)
Unfortunately some flack at the Dept. of Education sent out pre-speech study guides that included discussion points of 'how I can help Pres. Obama' rather than 'how I can help the ecology' or 'how I can achieve my education goals'.

So the actual purpose of the speech was completely thrown out in this chance to panic and have another hissy-fit.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2009-09-05 03:26 am (UTC)
Many years back, one of Texas' early literary lights said that public education would go downhill in a hurry once it was controlled by Departments of Education.

When I was in graduate school, I was privy to an argument between my thesis director and the education department at that university over the certification for biology teachers. The education department wanted them to have more hours of education courses and fewer hours of biology courses. Turf war.

In terms of teaching biology, a biologist has more to offer than someone with 6 hours of biology and an education degree. But academic turf war meant that the education department didn't want to lose any clout compared to the biology department...or any other.

Of course discussion points (if you have to have discussion points...if you can't just let kids experience hearing a literate, intelligent president talk) should reference the substance of the talk and be enriched by other sources of information. "What challenges did Obama face growing up that are similar to those students in this school face?" (Students across the country have dealt with being multiracial, being the child of a single parent, being poor, moving from place to place, difficulty fitting into a new school, etc.) "Do you share any of the challenges that Obama faced? What strategies have you used to meet those challenges? Do you use the same strategies Obama used? What dreams or goals have you had, that you felt were impossible because of family background, poverty? Before now, have you felt that studying and staying in school could break through those barriers? How do you feel now that someone like Obama is in the White House? Is hard work and staying in school always enough?" etc.

(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)