Tuesday, May 09, 2006

aiding the enemy

If you/we/they continue to ________________ you are aiding the enemy! Do you want them to win? Are you in support of the enemy?

Didn't we see something like this not so many years ago? We had this vague idea of an enemy, an enemy that hated our freedoms and were the antithesis of unAmerican. They were communists and were lurking everywhere. A communist may even have lived next to you or your parents should there be any youngsters out there.

One particular power mad freak went apeshit looking for communists. He hunted them down and ferreted them out. He forced them from their homes into the daylight of America. Hell yeah brother! Except that it wasn't really like that, and your likely to find a communist or two floating around your circle of friends and acquaintances. Even more people might see some wisdom in the concept without finding total agreement. Most people don't likely know what the hell it really means.

You can create a fog of fear by suggesting that the enemy lurks all around. You can convince people that they are in constant danger and that only your services will combat the scourge. Oddly enough, you find yourself under your desk with your head between your knees and your jacket over your back, hoping like fuck you'll be okay when the A-bomb hits.

We don't put much stock in the claim now. We know that we aren't aiding our enemies when we ask difficult questions of our "leaders." I'd like to think that most people know that this isn't the case. But I can't seem to go more than a few days without hearing the accusation. I'm afraid it would only be worse, but I don't really watch much news, nor do I watch the MSM, be it Fox or CNN or MSNBC. I do listen to NPR, but mostly because they squish the news into the little space between the good stories and they don't generally seem biased. I do try to pick news from a few sources that feel will present a balanced view, by which I mean the truth, not a slanted "news story" from a right or left leaning organization. Would that it were possible.

Even so, I hear the accusation. It has a life of its own as it skips across the conniving republican tongues, intent on spreading discord and distrust. If I don't want the president to cast a wide net over our phone calls, I apparently want our enemies to win. That's ludicrous for anyone to even suggest, and it seems it's becoming the last chance argument of our beloved right hand side, regardless of what question we want to ask, or rather want finally answered.

The worst thing about the statement is that it isn't even believed by the people who utter it. Those who fling the accusation about know it's a lie, yet they are ever more aware of the power it has. Even if the sermon is just to the choir, the choir is easy to incite. So we make the suggestion, or maybe we phrase it innocently in the form of a question. "Do you want our soldiers to lose Senator Goshamighty? When you suggest that King George has overstepped his bounds, you make us look weak. The enemy loves it when we look weak. Do you really want to aid our enemies thusly?"

And there it is. It's out there, and maybe it barely gets picked up in the media. But it gets thrown again and again, and frankly, I'm damn well getting tired of hearing it. So . . .

Dear Republicans,

Can we have our country and our freedoms back now? We'd like to fix a few things that you overlooked and clean up some messes where you've overstepped your bounds. I'm not aiding the enemy, and if you guys would shut the fuck up for a minute, the rest of the country would like to talk to our "enemies" and see if we can't fix King George's little problem. We're sorry that your little party is coming to an end, but really, you should have invited everyone. We were actually doing some decent things before you guys got that whole shut out thing going. We're not sure that you're all to blame, because Cheney is a dick, and Rove is pretty smart for a dumbass. We know Cheney shoots people, so we can understand you may have been scared. If you'd like to apologize and help fix this shit that would be nice. Otherwise fuck off! We wouldn't have so damn many enemies if you guys weren't such oil hungry, power mad fucks, for which the entire country thanks you. I was getting tired of the world thinking we were loud, obnoxious buffoons with no sense of history. It's so much better that they think we're bloodthirsty cowboys that kill and torture and maim.
Don't even get me started on Kyoto and ANWR you assholes!

why is homeschooling so hard to get?

First, a hearty thanks is due to those bloggers that find those other bloggers, the ones that have no horse in the homeschool race, yet choose to blog about it from a place of no knowledge of the subject.

I'll refer to the anti-homeschooling bloggers as AHB from here on.

According to AHB, we homeschool to indoctrinate our kids into our religion to the exclusion of everything. We hide inside our homes, never daring to go out of the house. We stay inside where we force our kids to do schoolwork and take SAT prep courses. We drill them in arcane words so that they will represent at the spelling bee. We are scared of liberal ideas and fear the schools will make our kids gay. Our kids are odd, or even weird, and can't speak in complete sentences. They are unable to interact in social settings to the detriment of society as a whole.

If however we unschool, we are beyond crazy. We are lazy and ask nothing of our kids. We allow them to wallow in their filth and eat candy all day. They only stop playing video games and watching television to scream at us to get them more candy. They are destined for a life of low paying jobs because that's all they'll get, because they will have no education and no ability to function in society to the detriment of our society as a whole.

And every time we get the call, we swarm to the AHB, read quickly through the post, only too ready to pounce on the comment section. I try not to comment to them for the most part, but I certainly don't begrudge others jumping into the fray. I might feel some pity for the hapless unsuspecting AHB if they weren't so uninformed in their righteous dignity.

Most homeschoolers' blogs you read will include at some point a "day in the life of a typical hs family" post somewhere on there blog. Very often those posts are full of life and activity. It's obvious to anyone with even a passing familiarity with homeschooling that we don't hurt for things to do. If anything, I suspect more homeschoolers could stand to slow down than not. I am not of that camp just yet. We do tend to hide away many days. I'm currently blaming it on the weather, the Smokey Mountain spring time.

But are my kids socially inept? backwards? unsocialized? I do worry about these things. I do want my boys able to handle meeting people, making friends, and all the lovely things that come from living in a society. And I don't feel one bit bad that I don't want them doing those things alone in a crowd at school.

The Boy is three. He does what he wants. He plays with other kids when he wants and can play alone with other kids about. Big Brother makes friends easily. I worry that they tend to accept people without judging, and in a gschool world, that isn't the norm, and my worry is when they do learn the nature of so many people, people who judge without knowing. It hasn't yet been a problem. We can go to any park or playground, and the boys will both play with the other kids. I'm not sure where they could have learned that since they never got "socialized."

I have yet to indoctrinate my kids too much. I have pointed out some basic things about equality and fairness. I try to model good behavior in how I interact and treat other people with whom we come in contact. I'm not the best model as a driver, but let's not go there. I'm sure they hear Momma and I discuss politics when we do. They hear the news and music we listen to without much outside influence telling them what's cool. They judge music by their own inner voice and like what they like.

At 7 and 3 years old, they are little boys. One more thing to love about homeschooling is that I know their ideas and beliefs about race and sexuality and class will not be taught to them by other children. I know that I won't hear them getting off the bus using rude or mean words to describe people and situations that they don't even understand. These, to me, are the areas in America where, as a people, we need to do the most work. Again, let's not get into that too much other than to say, that's my job to teach my kids, and I refuse to leave that to anyone else.

I could delve into studies and find real life hs anecdotes to prove our point that, as homeschoolers, we really do know what's best for our own kids much more often than not. I could get into the love of learning that our kids will carry throughout their days as much as that ability to continue learning will help carry them through their days. I could explain how many options are available to socialize while simultaneously giving the actual meaning of the word socialization. I could damn and curse the gschools, more likely coming from me, as pits of conservative confusion, full of discrimination and classism. I could do all sorts of things, which is why we homeschool actually, because we can basically do whatever we want without all the undue stress that goes with school.

So a day in the life of a typical homeschooler? Yeah, that's not so easy to pin down. It's not about hiding away for most of us. Right now, my day, if I get away from this computer and do it will consist of library, grocery store, soccer practice and roller derby practice. At soccer practice, The Boy will play with younger siblings of Big Brother's team mates. Big Brother's newest friend is a child of Momma's roller derby friends, though on an opposing team. Big Brother and newest friend will skate around and pretend to be superheroes. Tomorrow is supposed to be thunderstorms, so we'll probably hide at the house most of the day and watch tv and play video games. And if I don't get to the grocery store, we might have to eat candy.

Back to my original point, if there truly was one. The AHB are always going to get it wrong. No one who actually looks into homeschooling can come to the negative conclusions that these people have. Most of us hsers have said it plenty of times, but you can't judge two million kids based on that family that you don't actually know. And because people think other people are weird does not in fact make them weird. And I refuse to accept that weird has to be bad. I am most likely considered weird by the vast majority of people who know me. I am a conundrum, an enigma wrapped in a vest. And I will admit, that I'm managing to make it.