Search results for: "nazis"

I planned to post this as a comment but it grew into a full-blown post. One of our daily readers, named Joe, voted for Bernie in the primaries but then supported Hillary in the general election. He wrote a comment a few hours ago urging other readers to stop criticizing and demonizing Hillary and to recognize the present danger to our nation.

 

I responded to Joe as follows:

 

Thanks, Joe. I too am tired of people continuing to kick Hillary. What’s the point? There’s no doubt in my mind that Comey handed the election to Trump. I recently read an article that said the FBI is known internally as Trumplandia. His intervention 11 days before the election was unprecedented and highly prejudicial to her campaign.

 

This <a href=”http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2016/12/08/what-james-comey-did/”>article</a&gt; sums up my view: http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2016/12/08/what-james-comey-did/

 

I don’t understand the deep-seated hatred that some people have for Hillary Rodham Clinton. I think they unconsciously imbibed 25 years of Republican attacks on her. She is a good person. She would have sought out people of distinction for her cabinet, not extremists, ideologues, and retreads.

 

I was prepared to support either Bernie or Hillary. After she won the primaries, I supported her, like you.

 

Yes, she did win the primaries. She collected 400 delegates more than Bernie, without the superdelegates. http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/us/elections/primary-calendar-and-results.html?_r=0

 

She won 3.7 million <a href=”https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democratic_Party_presidential_primaries,_2016″>votes more than Bernie</a>.

 

Yet some of his most fervent supporters still say the primaries were rigged and Bernie was cheated.

 

That is not true. A difference of 3.7 million votes is not a close call.

 

The detractors have become nihilistic, and now insist that Hillary and Trump No different. They can believe whatever they want, but this is ridiculous. Trump is ignorant of governance and policy. He has skipped most of the daily intelligence briefings that he is supposed to receive. His co-author says he doesn’t read. He blatantly lies (in his rally yesterday, he claimed he had won in a landslide, even though Hillary is ahead 2.5 million in the popular vote). Mitt Romney was right when he said during the primaries that Trump was a con man and a fraud. Worse, Trump has given new life to the “Alt-right” (neo-Nazis) with his disparaging comments about every group that is not white, Christian, and able-bodied.

 

Hillary, by contrast, is a woman of dignity and intellect. Unlike Trump, she was not born with a silver spoon in her mouth. She is well-educated. She went to public schools before going to Wellesley. She is experienced and knowledgeable. She would not have embarrassed the nation.

 

She lost. It’s one for the history books.

 

And now the half of the nation that didn’t vote for Trump must hope and pray that he doesn’t harm the economy, that he doesn’t withdraw the safety net that protects our most vulnerable citizens, that he is not able to privatize public education, and that his hawkish national security team doesn’t embroil us in another war.

 

Lets look forward and fight to save our public schools, to defend the social safety net, to defend health insurance for those who need it, and to keep our nation to its ideals and promise. There will be another election in two years, and another one in four years. We must organize and be prepared. Our time will come. And when it does, we will drain the swamp of lobbyists, conflicts of interest, nepotism, cranks, zealots, extremists, rightwing anarchists, and neo-Nazis.

 

 

It seemed odd to see that Democrats for Education Reform praised the nomination of Betsy DeVos, the hard-right crusader for vouchers and for unregulated, unaccountable charter schools.

 

Why would they do that? Why would any progressive Democratic group (ho, ho) endorse a woman known for her support of anti-gay, anti-progressive, pro-evangelical, white Christian causes?

 

Mercedes Schneider explains: DeVos gives money to DFER. Not a lot, by DeVos standards. To right-wing groups, they give millions. To DFER, not so much. They sell out cheap. They praise a woman who is by no means a progressive, appointed by a president-elect in league with white supremacists and neo-Nazis–and call themselves “Democrats for Educational Reform.” Ironic. Sad. Embarrassing. Absurd. What would you call it?

The New York Times depicted an extraordinary spectacle: the gathering of a group of people wearing swastikas and giving the Nazi salute, convening in a federal office building to celebrate the election of the new President.

 

They call themselves the “alt-right.” But when people give the “sieg heil” salute, when they babble about the racial inferiority of nonwhites,  when they use German expressions, they are neo-Nazis at best.

 

Their leader, Richard B. Spencer, spoke in familiar terms:

 

But now his tone changed as he began to tell the audience of more than 200 people, mostly young men, what they had been waiting to hear. He railed against Jews and, with a smile, quoted Nazi propaganda in the original German. America, he said, belonged to white people, whom he called the “children of the sun,” a race of conquerors and creators who had been marginalized but now, in the era of President-elect Donald J. Trump, were “awakening to their own identity.”

 

As he finished, several audience members had their arms outstretched in a Nazi salute. Mr. Spencer called out: “Hail Trump! Hail our people!” and then, “Hail victory!” — the English translation of the Nazi exhortation “Sieg Heil!” The room shouted back…

 

Mr. Spencer’s after-dinner speech began with a polemic against the “mainstream media,” before he briefly paused. “Perhaps we should refer to them in the original German?” he said.

 

The audience immediately screamed back, “Lügenpresse,” reviving a Nazi-era word that means “lying press….”

 

“America was, until this last generation, a white country designed for ourselves and our posterity,” Mr. Spencer thundered. “It is our creation, it is our inheritance, and it belongs to us.”

 

But the white race, he added, is “a race that travels forever on an upward path.”

 

“To be white is to be a creator, an explorer, a conqueror,” he said.

 

More members of the audience were on their feet as Mr. Spencer described the choice facing white people as to “conquer or die.”

 

Of other races, Mr. Spencer said: “We don’t exploit other groups, we don’t gain anything from their presence. They need us, and not the other way around.”

 

This is America. There is free speech for all, even for the speech we deplore. But let’s get the terminology right. “Alt-right” is a weasel word. Just call them fascists.

 

 

 

Thanks to Jay Greene for this moving story:

For the Al Copeland Award: Master Sergeant Roddie Edmonds

Jay Greene Blog; October 25, 2016

(Guest post by Greg Forster)

“They cannot all be Jews!”

The Battle of the Bulge, one of the largest battles in the largest war in world history, produced thousands of prisoners. Among the prisoners in the Stalag IXA camp were about one thousand men of the U.S. 422nd Infantry Regiment, who found themselves under the command of Master Sergeant Roddie Edmonds—a non-com, but still the regiment’s most senior surviving member.

Last year, his son, Rev. Chris Edmonds, had his first full opportunity to share his father’s story with the world—by dumb luck, just a month too late for his father to participate in last year’s Al Copeland Humanitarian of the Year Award process.

But The Al has a long memory, and it will take more than a little time to make it forget Master Sergeant Roddie Edmonds.

By standing German policy, Jewish POWs were to be separated from the rest of the POW population. By this time, the largest of the death camps in the western theater were no longer in business, so most of these POWs were taken away to slave labor camps where they were, with less efficiency but no less contempt for their humanity, worked to death.

Speaking in English, the German camp commander—a Major Siegmann—approached the POWs of the 422nd. He ordered that all Jewish men were to fall out and stand in formation in front of the barracks, then went to await them.

Whereupon Master Sergeant Roddie Edmonds ordered every man under his command to fall out and stand in formation in front of the barracks.

“I would estimate that there were more than 1,000 Americans standing in wide formation in front of the barracks with Master Sergeant Roddie Edmonds standing in front, with several senior non-coms beside him, of which I was one,” recalls Lester Tanner, a Jewish member of the regiment.

Siegmann protested: “They cannot all be Jews!”

Master Sergeant Roddie Edmonds replied: “We are all Jews here.”

Siegmann drew his sidearm and held it to Edmonds’ head.

Edmonds said: “According to the Geneva Convention, we only have to give our name, rank and serial number. If you shoot me, you will have to shoot all of us, and after the war you will be tried for war crimes.”

Siegmann, having been (in the words of the Jerusalem Post) “outfaced by Edmonds,” turned and walked away.

More than 200 of the prisoners were Jewish (all the time, that is, not just when Nazis were asking). Edmonds saved them all from near-certain death.

Chris Edmonds knew his father had spent 100 days in captivity, but had no idea anything like this had happened until he read a newspaper story a couple of years ago about Richard Nixon’s post-presidency search for a New York home. The article mentioned Tanner, who sold Nixon his house, and included the story about his father. Chris Edmonds began tracking down Tanner and other corroborating evidence, culminating in Master Sergeant Roddie Edmonds being named “righteous among the nations” by Yad Vashem last December. He is only the fifth American, and the first American serviceman, thus honored.

Just two weeks later, a more contemporary headline showed that the spirit of Roddie Edmonds lives on: “Muslims Protect Christians from Extremists in Kenya Bus Attack.” About a dozen heavily armed Somali terrorists captured a bus in El Wak, Kenya and demanded that the passengers disembark, with all Muslims moving to one side of the bus while Christians moved to the other side. But the Muslim passengers refused to cooperate, preventing a massacre. “These Muslims sent a very important message of the unity of purpose, that we are all Kenyans and that we are not separated by religion,” said Interior Minister Joseph Nkaissery. “Everybody can profess their own religion, but we are still one country and one people.”

Tanner recalls of Edmonds: “He did not throw his rank around. You knew he knew his stuff and he got across to you without being arrogant or inconsiderate. I admired him for his command.”

Now, so do we all.

The press strains to show “balance.” They do not differentiate between a conventional candidate with experience and knowledge and a candidate who lacks experience, is woefully uninformed, and uses his speaking skills to appeal to the mob’s basest instincts.

Many people, especially Bernie supporters, dislike Clinton’s policies, but she is not a menace and a threat to the future of the nation and the world. Trump is. He makes outrageous statements every day, which the press no longer finds novel.

She dares to say that “half” his supporters are “Deplorables,” and the press blows it up into a media firestorm. But was she right? David Duke tweeted last night, “We are the Deplorables.”

Do you want to see the faces of the Deplorables? Read and watch this article that appeared in the New York Times a. On the ago. The NY Times has published other articles about the neo-Nazism, white nationalism, and race hatred that Trump’s rallies bring out.

CNN and MSNBC have reported on Trump’s avid interest in and support for the Birther movement. He claimed repeatedly that he needed to see President Obama’s birth certificate. He claimed he sent a team of investigators to Hawaii and what they were finding was “unbelievable.” True, it was unbelievable. They found nothing. Now Trump surrogates like Rudy Guiliani and his campaign manager now say that Trump acknowledges that the President was born in America, but Trump has never said it. He thus manages to signal the paranoid right that he is on their side without saying anything more. He owes the President an apology but it will never happen.

Thanks to the media’s lust for trivia, scandal, headlines, and false equivalence, this unhinged conspiracy theorist could be elected president. Those who facilitate the ascendancy of this dangerous know-nothing are the Deplorables.

I exempt the Huffington Post from this generalization because it states at the end of every article about Trump:

“Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.”

https://gadflyonthewallblog.wordpress.com/2016/08/18/i-teach-the-toughest-kids-and-i-love-it/

In recent years, there has been a new genre of writing from teachers who are fed up and explain why they are leaving.

But fortunately most teachers rise every day to do what they love, and they refuse to be intimidated by mandates, administrative nonsense, or tough kids.

Steven Singer says he teaches the toughest kids in his school, and he loves it. He loves the kids, he loves the challenge, he loves meeting them as adults when they come up to hug him and thank him.

Do you want to know what keeps this teacher inspired and motivated?

He begins like this:

It was rarely a good thing when LaRon smiled in school.

It usually meant he was up to something.

He was late to class and wanted to see if I’d notice. He just copied another student’s homework and wondered if he’d get away with it. He was talking crap and hoped someone would take it to the next level.

As his teacher, I became rather familiar with that smile, and it sent shivers down my spine.

But on the last day of school, I couldn’t help but give him a smile back.

A few minutes before the last bell of the year, I stood before my class of 8th graders and gave them each a shout out.

“I just want to say what an honor it’s been to be your teacher,” I said.

They shifted in their seats, immediately silent. They wanted to hear this.

“Some of you have been a huge pain in my butt,” I conceded.

And almost all heads in the room turned to LaRon.

And he smiled.

Not a mischievous smile. Not a warning of wrongdoing yet to come.

He was slightly embarrassed.

So I went on:

“But I’m proud of what you’ve accomplished this year. Each and every one of you. It has been my privilege to be here for you,” and I nodded at LaRon to make sure he knew I included him in what I was saying.

Because I do mean him.

Students like LaRon keep an old man like me on my toes. No doubt. But look at all he did – all he overcame this year.

His writing improved exponentially.

Back in September, he thought a paragraph was a sentence or two loosely connected, badly spelled full of double negatives and verbs badly conjugated. Now he could write a full five-paragraph essay that completely explained his position with a minimum of grammatical errors.

Back in September, the most complex book he had read was “The Diary of a Wimpy Kid.” Now he had read “The Diary of Anne Frank” and “To Kill a Mockingbird.” How did I know? Because I had read it with him. We had all read these books together and stopped frequently to talk about them.

Back in September, if he raised his hand to ask a question, it was usually no more complex than “Can I go to the bathroom?” Now he was asking questions about where the Nazis came from, what happened to Mr. Frank after the war, did Harper Lee ever write any other books, and is the fight for civil rights over.

The last day of school is one of the hardest for me, because my classes are doubled. I don’t just have my students – I also have the ghosts of who they were at the beginning of the year.

They all change so much. They’re like different people at the end, people I helped guide into being.

Read and be inspired.

Massachusetts has been engaged this past year in a heated public debate about “lifting the cap” on charter schools. Public school parents are concerned that lifting the cap will encourage a proliferation of charter schools that will harm public schools, draining away students and funding.

One blogger, known as Public School Mama, has become deeply invested in protecting her children’s public school. Recently she and other parents have been slammed on Twitter by an out of state venture capitalist who thinks he knows what is best for parents in Boston and everywhere else.

This venture capitalist doesn’t like public schools. He calls those who defend them ugly names, suggesting they are akin to Nazis or segregationists. He thinks he is a “freedom rider,” although he is not on a bus risking his life for anyone.

My own experience has taught me that it is useless to engage with people who won’t listen. It is passing strange to tell parents that they should open the flood gates to privatization and relinquish their attachment to their community public schools, especially when the person doing the lecture doesn’t even live in the state.

I received this letter from a teacher in Los Angeles. She has been following the heated exchanges on the blog about Rafe Esquith, the celebrated teacher and founder of the Hobart Shakespeareans who was fired by the LAUSD board. She decided it was time to set the record straight, as seen through the eyes of a teacher in LAUSD. Having heard from her before, I know she is for real. I am posting this not because I agree with it, but because I think readers will find much to discuss and debate. I make no judgment about whether Rafe is guilty or innocent. I don’t know. I am with the editorial board of the Los Angeles Times on this one. The board warned against a rush to judgment when all the facts are not known.

 

 

The teacher writes:

 

I assume that most LAUSD teachers do not read this blog since working as a full time LAUSD teacher and having a life for one’s self after 3 p.m. is a task in itself. From the majority of the comments posted here, I just sense that these people are not or have not been LAUSD classroom teachers, and if so, it was a while back. Sadly, the climate on LAUSD campuses has changed since the teacher jail issue and since the popularity of technology, the use of emails, private or LAUSD emails, texting, social media and so on. I believe that when the LAUSD employee is on a LAUSD campus, there may not be an expectation of privacy concerning any technology, but I am not 100% certain. This exists on many work sites, not just LAUSD. You can only have a reasonable expectation of privacy in your own home and that’s only if you are law abiding (not accessing illegal stuff online). Even if it’s on a privately owned cell or computer, your employer may be accessing what you do on that in order to track your behavior.

 
Now, what the employer does with any information he/she gathers from an employee’s information that can be found on a cell phone or computer is another story. That’s where there may be some kind of invasion of privacy, retaliation, etc… I am not a lawyer. I just have opinions.

 
If the publicized emails Rafe sent to students are authentic, and that’s IF they are, then Rafe may perhaps be guilty of some poor judgment, acting too silly with kids, and just, well, over stepping his boundaries a bit, but nothing severe enough to be terminated for.

 
One issue that I don’t read online concerning Rafe or teacher jail is this: students in many LAUSD schools can be called urban youth, inner city, at risk students, people of color, low income, struggling learners, Title One kids, or just, well, ghetto. What is not discussed is that some of these kids are CRAZY in the classroom and are not easy to educate. What I mean by CRAZY is that they have NO FILTER as to what comes out of their little, underage mouths. The students I taught knew ALL of the naughty words in two languages (but maybe needed help with spelling those words correctly!)

 
Over the years I heard kids talk about what they watch on TV, movies and the internet. They know about more naughty things that I didn’t even know existed until I was in high school, college and, well, I’m still learning.

 

Kids talked about grandma porn, watching footage of people defecating in each other’s mouths, beheadings (yes, real ones) that can be viewed online, they talked about the Jersey Shore TV show, South Park, Jackass, Sasha Baron Cohen, Dave Chappelle, etc… They knew about all of this material.

 
I was called “ugly” “bitch” and fill in the blank with any or all swear words insults you can think of by some of my students who were, by and large, a hoot to teach, but not so innocent in terms of language that they were very familiar with. I could not get kids to be held accountable for having a lighter or some contraband on their body because by the time they got searched by the dean of discipline, they had already keistered the item, yes, shoved it in their butt. They seemed to be experienced with doing that and I am talking about 9th graders. They talked about how to pass a drug test using someone else’s urine, how to steal cars, get away with rape.
I showed Schindler’s List, yes, that movie with the NUDITY (ooohhhh!) and year after year, a few students rooted for the Nazis even after I tried to explain to them that Nazis did not like Latinos.

 
Rafe is a tremendous loss to LAUSD and society.

 
If you view the Hobart documentary online, you see that he was more than a teacher. He was a dad, uncle, friend. If a dad or an uncle tickles a fifth grade child is that the behavior of a pedophile???? If a dad or an uncle makes comments regarding a pubescent girl and her “hotness” is that pedophilia or may it just be embarrassing for the child? Borderline inappropriate. Insensitive, sloppy, but not criminal, Not politically correct for 2015 but then what is? Some girls would not like that attention at that age or any age except from their boyfriend, husband, etc…

 
Some of Rafe’s students come from Korean backgrounds where a spanking may not be out of the question on child discipline, in some cases. Rafe joked about spanking. A young girl may not understand the darker, sexual, naughty side of a comment like that but Rafe seemed to be one BIG GOOF with the students. He loosened them up in order to get them to act in theater class.

 
I taught theater for LAUSD. The students I had, showed the personality of a wet mop while reading their lines. These are kids who have not been exposed by their own families to music, theater, or athletic activities outside of school, generally speaking. Rafe tried to break them from their shyness, their shells, to free them up.

 
Rafe may have deserved a talking to, a slap on the wrist for some of these emails that are taken out of context. Some of the emails show a tone of Rafe coming off as a “sugar daddy” with students. Rafe is an older gentleman, harmless, a ham, creative. He wanted his students to succeed more than ANYTHING, to excel, to thrive and compete. He is not perfect nor is anyone. Think of a few of your favorite teachers. Were they infallible Mother Theresas? I learned so much from a few teachers who were faarrrr from perfect! But that’s another essay to write.

 
Besides that I have witnessed numerous male teachers shower certain, pretty students with flirtatious toned banter, and these men still have their teaching jobs, and two male teachers at one school where I worked were rumored to have married their female students. Please, what actionable crime did Rafe commit?

 
Some girls in LAUSD high schools and even middle school dress like they are going to a red light district, for example, they wear low rise jeans where the tushie spills out when they sit to reveal thong underwear, skin tight white t-shirts with black bra, you name it, they wear it. I had some 17 year old students talk in class about how they buy each other vibrators for their birthdays. This was a few years back, before teacher jail was talked about, but if a LAUSD classroom teacher even speaks the word “vibrator” in a class, that grounds for termination right there. End of story.

 
America is a FAKE puritanical country. If fact, our society is so not in touch with its own bipolarness full of smut peddling and acting, like we can’t say “naked” in a classroom, however, I wouldn’t have it any other way (except someone please pull the curtain on the whole Khardashian clan). I wouldn’t want to live in a “real” puritanical country, would you? Our American princess Kim K. got started on the fame track with a sex video and shoots to international stardom.

 

In contrast, Rafe, tirelessly worked for decades to give kids a chance at realizing their dreams, gets vilified and tarred and feathered for having an eye for a pretty girl, being sloppy and over-exaggerated in emails (and a little bit inappropriate), and spoke the word “naked”? Something seems wrong. Where was the due process??? Oh yeah. It’s LAUSD, a school district that seems to be shutting down, snuffing out teachers who don’t show up ten minutes before class starts and teach to tests that these students don’t understand. LAUSD teachers don’t speak up on behalf of a co-worker when they KNOW the district is railroading them out of their career, in fact, they mostly all aid the district. By the way people, it’s teachers and administrators who send a teacher to teacher jail—not students. Just a rumor I may have heard. Rafe will be missed by so many but many teachers on campus nowadays will be forgotten like unwashed gym clothes left in a locker.

From time to time, a blogger or a commenter compares something to Nazism or to Hitler. As sure as night follows day, there will be outraged comments saying that any invocation of Nazis and Hitler is strictly forbidden, intolerable, unacceptable, verboten.

 

I disagree. I wrote a book in 2003 called The Language Police: How Pressure Groups Restrict What Students Learn, about efforts to censor what appears in textbooks and on tests. Everybody has some words that they want to ban, some topic they find execrable, some illustrations they can’t abide, some depictions that they consider stereotypes. The publishers are so fearful of controversy that they have written guidelines with long lists of words, topics, and illustrations that may not appear in textbooks or on tests. I learned about these guidelines when I was on the National Assessment Governing Board. That is when I discovered that every education publisher runs their material through a “bias and sensitivity review panel” to make sure that nothing appears that anyone might object to. You will never see an owl mentioned on a standardized test or witches or evolution or stories with disobedient children or any reference to a landlord or a cowboy. You will never see elderly people with a cane or sitting in a rocker. You will never see a mom making dinner. Instead, you might see a drawing of grandpa on the roof nailing in shingles and a female truck driver. You will see no reference to poverty or cancer or roaches or rats or nuclear war or suicide or abortion. No rainbow flags. No anatomically correct cows. Everyone is happy. Everything has been carefully scrubbed to avoid offending anyone, any group.

 

I don’t like censorship. It is true that I don’t permit certain well-known curse words on this blog, but I am not imposing my views on anyone else.

 

As for Hitler and Nazis, please see Mel Brooks’ movie “The Producers.” Mel Brooks said that the best way to deal with Hitler today is to laugh at him, to make him a fool, and the movie indeed made him into a butt of Brooks’ jokes. I also suggest the classic comedy “To Be or Not to Be,” with Jack Benny, Carole Lombard, and Robert Stack; it was made in 1942 when Hitler was no joke. But they made him into a laughing stock. The movie was remade in 1983 by Mel Brooks and his wife Anne Bancroft. Brooks turned it into a fabulous musical in 2001, which won multiple awards and was turned into another movie. Brooks told the German publication Spiegel that comedy robs Hitler of his posthumous power. Those who are afraid to speak his name confer power on him.

 

To those who say, “You can’t say that,” I say “Yes, you can, and so can I.” If you are afraid to use Hitler and Nazis as metaphors, that is your choice. It is not mine. If Jack Benny could do it in 1942, if Mel Brooks could do it in 1968 (To Be or Not to Be) and again in 1983 (The Producers), well, I say, let freedom of speech ring.

John Ogozalek teaches high school in upstate New York. He watched some of the GOP debate last night (his stomach is stronger than mine) and reacted to one of Marco Rubio’s memorable lines.

 

He writes:

 

“A great howler from the GOP debate last night:

 

“We need more welders and less philosophers…” Marco Rubio

 

Now I wish I could weld. Seriously. 10 years of Upstate New York winters have seriously rotted my car. And, I’ve had plenty of great students who go into trades like welding. I respect people who can do these jobs.

 

But, c’mon. Can Marco Rubio aim any lower?

 

Why can’t welders ALSO be philosophers??? (And, vice versa!)

 

Neil Postman wrote a great piece, a graduation speech, he never had a chance to give. I used it years ago when I taught ninth grade Global Studies. http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2009/06/athenians-and-visigoths-neil-postmans-graduation-speech/

 

Postman compares the Athenians, who valued wisdom and art to the Visigoths, who believed that the quest for knowledge is useless if it doesn’t give you power and money. Athenians cherished and respected the written word. In comparison, “A Visigoth’s language aspires to nothing higher than the cliche.”

 

Postman wrote, “And I must tell you that you do not become an Athenian merely by attending school or accumulating academic degrees. My father-in-law was one of the most committed Athenians I have ever known, and he spent his entire adult life working as a dress cutter on Seventh Avenue in New York City. On the other hand, I know physicians, lawyers, and engineers who are Visigoths of unmistakable persuasion.”

 

Welders CAN be Athenians. They CAN be philosophers. To say otherwise, is just to further divide our own already damaged polis.

 

I could only stomach part of the GOP debate. But what I saw indicated how far our nation’s ability to have a mature, civil discourse has fallen. What happened to the days when the League of Women Voters hosted serious debates in which booing and hissing was not tolerated? And, remember when Gerald Ford slipped up about communist domination of Eastern Europe, and his feet were held to the fire for the mistake? Nowadays a buffoon like Donald Trump can say anything regardless of the facts…..and his political life thrives.

 

No, Marco Rubio is just this year’s model…..a faster, trimmer more high tech version of the age old Visigoth pattern. Do anything for power and money even if it means dividing the people you profess to lead.

 

By the way…..I’m sitting here at home writing on this blog, with a day off from school. But, of course, this day is really meant to honor our veterans, past and present. It’s those veterans who deserve the credit for defending our nation against Visigoths like the Nazis. We honor them by standing up for the “better angels of our nature” -not by rolling in the political mud.

 

Reading Neil Postman’s great speech is one of the best ways I can honor our vets and our country. Taking part in this blog, “a site to discuss better education for all,” is another.”