Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Been There, Done That

From the lunatic fringe (ie, The Washington Times) comes a touching look back at "The W(h)it(e) and Wisdom of Ronald Reagan." You all remember Ronnie, right, former-President of the North American Man-Chimp Love Association (NAMCLA)?

Here's a couple of paragraphs I just love:
Some years ago, CBS News correspondent Lesley Stahl reported on a jobs program run out of a Harlem housing project in New York City. Participants were the hard-core unemployed who either had never had a job or couldn't hold onto one. All were minorities. The leader asked, "How many think racism is a problem in America?" Every hand went up. He then said, "So what? Your problem isn't racism; your problem is attitude, and that's what we're going to change."

He taught them how to dress, how to shake hands and look prospective employers in the eye. Cameras followed one woman to an interview. She got the job and began to cry. She had discovered her value and the power of the individual. Government didn't give her that job; she got it on her own. In fact, government had been sending her checks, which had caused her to be more dependent on government.
How much do I love these paragraphs? Let me count the ways...

As a teacher, I see myself as someone whose job is to empower students to believe in themselves, to help instill a sense of self-worth and self-esteem within my students, to help my students learn that the power to change their lives comes first and foremost from within themselves. And none of this is to be done at the expense of "book learning," I believe, but as an intrinsic part of the whole.

But for years, conservatives have lambasted the likes of me and my insidious brethren for trying to do the above. Not our job, we're told. Just teach 'em to read and write and count to four by twos. Self-esteem and self-worth are wasted in the schools, we've been told. Fuck 'em, we've been told.

And here comes Mr. Cal (Probably Well-Educated at Tax Payer's Expense at Some Point In His Sad Life) Thomas who says that isn't it great when we empower people and help them with their self-esteem and show them that they are intrinsically valuable?

So long as nasty old government ain't doing it, that is. So long as it also stamps a hob-nailed boot down on the idea that racism exists in America. So long as it serves the conservative agenda. So long...so long...so long and thanks for all the fish (RIP Doug Adams - you're still missed!).


PS Ever seen a more disturbing or patronizing or more unfortunately appropriate photo than Reagan bottle-feeding Bonzo? Probably stuffed the bottle full of downers first, to lull the chimp into a false sense of security. Before he beat it to death with the empty. Just to try and win back the love of Jane Wyman.

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