Sunday, April 16, 2006

The Council Winners for April 7th

Watcher's CouncilThe week's winners for April 7th in the Watcher of Weasels Council were clearly tops: no close votes on this go-round. I like that when it happens as it allows me to blather on more than usual.

In the Council section, Rhymes With Right won first place easily. His theme, “Immigration Protests By High School Students” struck a chord with the council voters (note: of the first four posts, ranked by number of votes, immigration was the issue in three of them. What does that tell you?).

Rhymes with Right is a teacher in Texas, so he has his work cut out for him on this subject. As I read his dialogue with his students, I was buoyed with hope:

“Here,” I thought “is a good Socratic teacher, the kind our kids need.” Sometimes, reading about the wack jobs who end up in the classroom, using our children for their own ends, I am filled with despair. Greg dispelled some of those clouds.

On the particular day of this discussion, Greg had been listening to the rumors about the planned walkout of the students so that they could attend whatever latest demonstration being planned by A.N.S.W.E.R. and its cohorts re our country’s immigration conflicts. Leave aside for the moment that ANSWER is a Communist-dominated umbrella organization (yep, the Communists are still here, and for all we know, still being partly funded by the USSR Russia. They are not our friends – and why would they be after we called them the “Evil Empire” and made them take down that blasted Wall?)

But what do kids care? It was a chance to experience solidarity and miss a day of school.

However, Greg cared. So after listening to rumors all day (teachers don’t miss much do they?) he decided to talk to his last class of the day. And I don’t mean “lecture” – Greg talked to them and with them. Socrates would have been proud:

All right, guys, I’m not going to pretend that I haven’t heard some of the chatter about the plans some of you have for tomorrow.

{confused comments from some students, and disingenuous denials from the ring leaders}

You know, I’m the last guy in the world to tell someone not to express their opinion, but I think this whole walkout thing we’ve been seeing on Channel One and I’ve heard you kids talking about here is a bad idea. If you kids walk out, you can expect ISS, Suspensions, or even tickets -- and since I keep the gradebook, I know that some of you really don’t need to be out of class any more this grading period.
Besides, do you know how these walkouts are being received by your average middle aged, middle class Anglo like me? Do you? You know, the folks who represent a majority of Americans nationwide? I’ll be glad to tell you.

{the ringleaders are enthusiastic, and the rest of the class would like a chance to stop working}

I was listening to one of the talk radio stations over the last couple of days -- I don’t remember which one, with all that’s been going on in my life -- and you had a guy saying “I see all these folks waving Mexican flags and chanting “Mexico! Mexico! Mexico!’ I want to go down there and start shouting ‘Go back to! Go back to!’

{one of the ring leaders responds “Mister, I think somebody wants to get his ass jumped doing that.”}

Jose, you’re missing my point. My point is this -- has waving a Mexican flag and chanting “Mexico!” done anything to get this guy on your side? Do you think it is doing anything to get your average middle aged, middle class Anglo on your side?

{“uhhh... No”}

Why not?
{“Cuz this isn’t Mexico.”}

Yeah -- and what are you supposedly protesting for.

{“To let Mexicans who are here stay here and become citizens.”}

And if you wave Mexican flags and chant “Mexico!”, what does it sound like you are more interested in being?

{“Mexican. What’s wrong with being proud of being Mexican?”}

Nothing -- but I think you are missing the point. If you want to be proud Mexicans and wave the Mexican flag, that’s great. But a lot of Americans are going to look at that and think there is a great place for you if you want to do that -- Mexico. If you want to show us that you want to be American citizens and work and live here and follow our laws, what might be a better thing for you to do?

{various kids respond -- “Carry American flags.” “Shout ‘USA’.” “Don’t disrupt school.”}

Yeah, those are all good. Besides, who are the folks you most need to influence?

{Again, various kids -- “The president” “Congress” “The governor” “Mayor Bill White”}

Well, maybe not the governor or the mayor, but the first two are exactly right. What can you do to influence them? And I’m not just talking about on this issue, but I mean on anything.

{one jaded kid -- “What? You want us to write them letters? Ain’t no one gonna read letters from us.”}

Yeah, they will. Maybe not the President, and maybe not Congressman Gene Green or either Senator from Texas, but someone who works for them will. They record what folks are wrting about, and pass the information on to their bosses.

{time for the challenge -- “Yeah, right. They don’t care. They won’t even write back.”

You would be surprised. Whenever I write, I get a letter back. It may be a few weeks, but they at least acknowledge the letter. And it can change people’s minds. Heck, you can even call their offices and talk to a real live person.

{“I don’t know who or where to call or write.”}

Do you really want the addresses and phone numbers? I’ll get them for you before you leave this room -- they aren’t hard to find. You can call or write them instead, and make a responsible protest -- show that you know how to be a good American, whether you are here legally, illegally, or are an American citizen. Show that you know how to work within the system.. I’ll even make you a deal -- if you feel like writing a letter to the President or the Senators, or the Congressman, I’ll even proofread and edit it for you before it goes in the mail. I don’t care if I agree with you or not -- I’ll be proud of you doing things the right way. I’ll even mail it if you bring it in an addressed envelope with a stamp on it.”

They got into a discussion that compared what illegal aliens were doing with the behavior of students who cut ahead in the cafeteria line…toward the end, even those students who were from families of illegal aliens agreed that the behavior wasn’t fair.

When the kids wanted to know what they could do, Greg responded with the time-honored “write your representative.” When that was met with skepticism he offered to write the names of their reps on the board, or told the kids they could bring in letters and he would mail them.

Eventually class ended and Greg left to see his wife at the hospital. On leaving, he noticed about ten percent of the schools’ students headed toward the high school where they would pick up bus transportation to the demonstration.

Only they didn’t: the police were waiting for them and herded them all into the stadium. Parents were called to come get their little rebels.

Good for Greg, good for the police, and congratulations to the county for not permitting this “civil disobedience” in the name of breaking the law.

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The Non-Council winner this week is one of my favorite bloggers. He writes like water runs downhill; as simple as a law of nature the words flow from him and into your spirit.

Gerard Vanderleun at American Digest has a special style. It is self-revealing without degrading into self-exposure. You get the sense of the man in the words and realize you are seeing someone, not just reading his ideas.

His winning post is about betrayal, probably the most common failing of all. Betrayal is about pride, about needing to maintain one’s place. Do we notice our foot in the face we happen to be standing on? Perhaps. But we can always justify it by our inherent moral superiority.

Mr. Vanderleun chose the “gospel” of Judas as his example of cultural betrayal and lack of respect. Amazing, that two millennia later poor Judas can still serve:

When it comes to discovering new ways to cheapen the human soul, the “professional intellectuals” of our society have cornered the market. So it was last week when, timed carefully to cash in on the Easter holiday, the “serious” editors of National Geographic chose to release their gleanings from a sheaf of rags and call them “The Gospel of Judas.”

Having risen through the echo chamber of “higher” education and survived the ruthless but quiet vetting process of their “profession,” these editors knew full well that what they were putting out into the world was not a “gospel.” They also knew that calling it a “gospel” would ensure greater attention and greater sales. Beyond that, the editors, secular cultists all, also got a quiet little tingle by having, in their minds, “stuck it” to the Christian church once again. As usual, such secularists love to stick it to Christianity.

And in his next sentence, you understand why you go back to read him. Who else could make this connection?

Addicts of auto-erotic spiritual asphyxiation, their onanistic pleasure in these deeds is only enhanced if they can be performed during the most holy days of the Christian calendar. Only then can maximum profit and pleasure be assured.

Motivation for the act? Simple:

This dark thrill of denigration has the immediate benefit of pleasingly confirming them in their own Church of Zero, and the secondary benefit of being much, much safer than, say, sticking it to Islam, a faith that enforces its demands for respect with bombs and beheadings, and whose central message to all cowards is “Don’t mess with Muhammad.” The sad fact of our modern era is that if you denigrate Islam, you often have to bag up body parts and hose down the sidewalk, but when you denigrate Christianity the most you need to clean up after yourself is a warm washcloth.

Read it all, for Heaven’s sake.

And read the rest of us at the Watcher’s Place.


M. Simon said...

I know why immigration is such a hot issue.

America's economy will be improved with 10 million fewer workers and 20 million fewer consumers.

And we will be safer with 20 million more felons on the street.

This is such a brilliant idea I don't understand why Congress doesn't pass the bill. Perhaps the benefits haven't been explained to them:

Better that jobs get outsourced to Mexico than Mexican workers do the jobs in America.

You know, the more I think about this the better it sounds. No wonder 70% favor it. Perhaps if it was called the Smoot-Hawley Immigration Act it would wiz through Congress.