Friday, March 7, 2014


“Assholes like Delay can make these outlandish claims, and a population kept purposely ignorant--or fed a steady diet of the kind of crap the fundies want taught in public school--stands on the sidelines pumping their fists in the air and cheering. Those of us with brains have created this monster; for too long we were convinced that these "fringe" idiots did not have a chance to gain real power. We were so wrong, and now we are challenged to fight them off as a clear and present threat. What a mess. Lisa

She’s right on a lot of levels. What kind of time does a teacher get with a classroom? My district had seven fifty five minute periods. That’s just four and a half hours a week in class. Home work extra. I really need to tackle one of my nephews and find out what the social studies curriculum is like these days. Back in the dark ages  ninth grade was world Geography with Oregon thrown in. We had to fill in blank maps with the relevant mountain ranges, rivers and which oceans were involved. If any.

Tenth grade World History. Which basically boiled down to the history relevant to US as in the Brits and the US. Western Europe was a bonus but I don’t remember learning much about the rest of the world. I’m not sure that it would have made a difference but thanks to the Cold War the USSR and China were a big blank space on the map.

Imagine my surprise as I’ve worked through my survey of Russian history that some of the policies we blamed on the commies were already in place. Internal passports for one. There was a poll tax; the government wanted to know where you were so they could collect. And even after serfdom was abolished the many of the farming peasants still weren’t regarded as full citizens and were tied if not to their villages, to the network of villages in their district. Get tired of the sights in Ohio and set out for Oregon via Kansas without so much as a by your leave. No way in pre revolution Russia.

Twelfth grade was modern problems. Kind of a grab bag of whatever we hadn’t covered earlier. We did study the constitution. Even had to pass a test. Including that pesky bill of rights. So I really don’t know if it’s still a set curriculum or if the bigger schools have more of a menu approach that does make it possible to fill your social studies requirements and never learn which side won the Civil War. And I have run into that little problem more than once. Face palm, head slap. 

And you do have to hand it to the fundies. They do know their Bibles. At least the parts that support their beliefs. They can argue rings around some of the rest of us. And they don’t mind shouting, interrupting, name calling. All the things most of the rest of were taught not to do once we got out of kindergarten. Lord, do we need a class titled Applied Rudeness 101?

The rise of the Media State hasn’t helped. We had exactly two TV stations when I was a kid and I can remember when Huntley/Brinkley ran exactly fifteen minutes. Now the so called news channels run twenty four/seven and some of us are still naïve enough to believe that those stations are actually in the business of broadcasting news. No, they’re in the business of selling ad time and if the advertisers don’t buy time for the kind of news I want to see, it won’t be broadcast. And if it isn't fake news, it's fake "reality." Ugh!

We take the local paper. Mom takes Response. The Methodists put that out. I signed up for Sojourners when I finally got disgusted with Newsweek. They both carry stories that you seldom see on or in the mass media. I don’t even watch the Weather Channel anymore. More ads than weather.

 And we read. There's not a current best seller in the house but there's a beginning collection of US history and biography. Durant's series on Western Civilization. I finally figured out that what you do is put the books in order. See which ones cover what you're interested in and read those sections. It's still Western Europe. Russia is on the fringe. Nothing at all about the far east or Latin America. Talk about your Big Empty Spot. What your average American DOESN'T know about Latin America would fill the Grand Canyon. 

About those fundies. I was looking for something else. Naturally. When I came across a link to a pamphlet detailing the differences between Quakers and fundamentalists. Complete with relevant Bible verses and reasons why. Here’s a link if you’re interested. The whole piece runs about twenty five closely typed pages in Word, but I’ve found it well worth the time to work through.

I doubt if the arguments will convince very many fundagelicals but it beats standing there with my mouth open catching flies. 

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