Saturday, August 25, 2012

Learner's desire to achieve, as a guide for education, has been replaced by the demands of the "free market" for willing participant/victims. -Me, August 2012

   I am writing this as I sit on a couch, at the crack of dawn, with a cup of coffee and a silent house all around me. It won't be silent for much longer. It's about 7:45 AM and I've been up for nearly two hours using this quiet time to build resources and make plans for the start of the school year. Soon my own three girls will begin waking. With any luck they will sit quietly next to me with one of the many books we have brought on vacation. With a little less luck, the sound of Sponge Bob and the construction crew building the house next door will be the back-drop for my thought process. I don't like to take chances, and never have, so I write now. Right now.
   When I was young I had an active imagination. Staying up late watching scary movies; reading books that told tales of suspense and horror...I could blame it on my father-but I loved it, still do, and so does my oldest daughter. Here's how I've explained it to her:

         I "half-believe". There could be things out there-I don't know, ghosts, spirits, whatever. But
         I am not going to just sit quietly and let them get me because I'm not paying attention and
         I'm not going to let them get me from behind because I'm running away. I'm going to watch,
         I'm going to own the place I am in, and I'm going to let them know they can't scare me away.

I tell her about my long walks to the dark milk-house, from the home we lived on across a big yard and  shadowy barns to fill the pitcher for breakfast in the morning. Winter would have a greater "spook factor" because I had just read Salem's Lot (by Stephen King) and I think that eerie tale of vampire terror opens in the dark blistering Maine winter. I tell my daughter how, when dark thoughts began to creep in, I would not allow my feet to move faster. In fact, I deliberately slowed down. Back then, and even now, I felt if something is really coming for you-it's coming. Bring it on. My older cousin Ronnie and  I let the rest of the cousins lock us in the "haunted room" in our grandparents house overnight. It had one of those hook-and-eye latches on the outside of the door.  My dad wasn't a believer, but his sisters swore that room was haunted.
     I would go out alone into the woods at night on purpose, for no other reason than to see what it was like. Part of knowing something is coming is feeling it and hearing it, because seeing it won't always be your first warning. My goal has always been to find out what is out there. To verify the realities and the possibilities and then in knowing them-to not fear them. Fear is  the forfeiture of courage, and as a result the inability to act quickly and with purpose. I won't give that up and I'm likely to act first. When I watch those shows about crazy demon houses with my daughter, those shows where some unsuspecting family is chased from their lovely new home by crazy spirit stuff, I tell her I want to go to that place and say "I'm not sure if I believe, here is your chance. 'Come if yer comin' " (as an old hippie poker adversary used to say as a challenge to all to call his big bet).

I want to spend the night in a place like that. Alone is fine with me. Come if yer comin'.

Well, there are now ghosties in my house. The Kochs, Gates, Rhee, Anschutz...I am even less afraid because their attacks are easy to see coming, even when they try to hide their names and their backers. What I am is sad. The greatest damage, the erosion to our morals and connections to each other, the obligations to preserve democracy...all the foundations of our society are being attacked and our policy makers are the bloodsuckers' guardians. They have been allowed to weaken us over time and now the goal of the free market "reformers" lifting the lids on their coffins is to come and finish us off by draining the last drop from public education. By sucking out the choice, by controlling what is learned by who and how it is taught, the "free market" is planting its own garden and keeping us all just healthy enough to tend it for them. But we see them. We know what they are up to. We have numbers on our side.

Come if yer comin'.

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