Posted November 25, 2004
by: Joan E. Battey
Almost all "volunteer" columnists and some professional commentators are growing weary in the task of trying to inform largely apathetic and carefree Americans about how many insidious batches of undermining termites have been successfully burrowing into the underpinnings of what we all, from various viewpoints and concerns, have seen as a crumbling vestige of the country we thought was rock solid and permanent.
Even though we may come at it from different perspectives and with different primary concerns, we are all coming to that same conclusion. Given the fact that all our separate concerns seem to be merging into a giant parade of proofs across the daily news outlets, it may be later than even the most alarmed of us think.
At times it seems we have become like the unicorns the Irish Rovers sang about years ago -- the ones who missed the final call to board the Ark because they were having so much fun playing on the rocks. It was an enjoyable little ditty with a clever reason why "you don't see any unicorns to this very day."
Given Americans' focus on "play" of all kinds, coupled with their acceptance of the idea that "right and wrong" is old-fashioned, that change is the synonym for growth, and that only certified experts can be trusted, will the American "unicorns" succeed in making us all miss the boat to a secure future?
The momentum set in motion thanks to carefree, apathetic Americans has been ratcheted up by all the various Trojan horses welcomed first in small batches, then in larger groups. Soon their comfortable rent-free stables became too cramped, so they were welcomed into businesses and homes -- and soon into the halls of power, where they could be more comfortable and spread out more.
How else can you explain today's circumstances, today's news, today's culture, today's religious upheavals, today's inadequate education, today's corporate and civic corruption -- not to mention today's sick societal characteristics that can no longer be shoved out of sight?
Over too many years, reaction to reports of sightings of various Trojan horses has taken one of three forms: Joking about how strange the horses looked, and so they were not to be taken seriously; discounting of the fact that they would ever represent anything more threatening than a stray animal which would be rounded up by those in charge and sent packing; or by assuming that their influences would be short-term and limited to a small area -- always somewhere other than where the assumer lived and worked.
But, joking now is risky business, given that the Trojan horses are largely allowed to define "joking." Those thought to be in charge of rounding them up, didn't, because they were so cute and harmless they would just take them home and make them part of the family. They acted much like those who buy a baby python, not realizing they'd soon need counseling when it strangles the family pets and starts zeroing in on the children.Those who thought the influences would be short-term, somewhere else, reached empty nest status in their lives and suddenly discovered that "someone" had ignored all those Trojan horses and now they were out running free, and threatening well-earned peace and quiet.
The unicorns ignored the warnings of the dangers of elevating the homosexual and lesbian lifestyle to full acceptance. Now many major corporations are tripping over themselves to demonstrate "tolerance and accommodation" -- cost no object. The same corporations had recently justified pulling thousands and thousands of jobs away from hardworking Americans, because the cost of benefits and mandates was just too much for them to continue while their executives were still living like kings and spending personal and corporate money like drunken sailors.
Those who demanded an end to any mention or demonstration of morality in education, religion, culture or politics are responsible for setting in motion the steady gnawing at the societal fabric that is increasingly in evidence today. Gay Pride parades which make a mockery of dignified public behavior have enlisted politicians across the country to pridefully join them. Journalists more and more identify people by what they are before even mentioning any of their accomplishments or activities. Now comes news of the expansion of the first public high school with an enrollment composed entirely of gays, lesbians and transgendered students. Schools for all-male, or all-female students were ruled unconstitutional, but this school for alternative sexual orientation students is publicly funded.
All formerly mainstream religious denominations are embroiled in schismatic contentions over what is now claimed to be new revelations of enlightened understanding regarding centuries-old religious beliefs. The new push for liberalism in religion is rapidly pushing out traditional morality and thus increasing the appearances of public acceptance of the destruction of what was for centuries the dominant foundation of a stable society.
Decades of discoveries about how deficient students were in basic skills and academic understanding have been ignored in favor of believing the experts in deficiency demonstrations. Those not in the inner circles of change agent ranks were met with barrages of ridicule for daring to point out that self-esteem was not a primary academic subject, that "feelings" were not sufficient approaches to math, that English could not be grasped without early ability to read fluently without the aid of pictures, that good writing required attention to grammar and corrections of misstated facts, and that immature students should not be put in charge of even more immature students to make policy for school, families and communities. Instead, the mostly untutored opinions of youth of any age, are elevated to expert status, regardless of the topic, issue or problem they encouraged to publicly expound upon.
So, today, the Trojan horses of deficient education are visible in many stables and quite a few mansions and statehouses. Whole bureaucracies have grown up, fed by money forcibly extracted from all no matter how long the consent process might take. Children at earlier and earlier ages are dragooned into structured day care, structured pre-school and consolidated elementary schools -- all in the face of real experts' conclusions that children are better off learning first at home, and then in smaller schools closer to home.
The need for early introduction to "needed" math skills has resulted in such things as the recent promotion of a local Head Start program demonstrating how very young children learn about various shapes -- by spraying one another with shaving cream and showing what kind of shapes they can spray in the process. The vaunted need for "lifelong learning" has been a purposefully vague blanket term for numerous financial and educational boondoggles.
Another local new promotion of "lifelong learning" showed teachers spending their summer vacation time learning new skills to take back to the classroom in the fall. The needed learning involved how to better teach school health classes, by learning how to teach the students how to make computerized movies and cartoons about health. This is why more money for education is the first learned demand of any expert and the first promise of any politician needing support of the NEA in order to be elected to public office.
Those who spotted statements of intent early on, such as "by the year 2000, only 20 to 25% of jobs [often less!] will require a college education" were ignored. The self-anointed "experts" held center stage of public attention with their claims that all children were deserving of a college education, in order to be able to compete in the marketplace of the glorious new world of globalism. College administrations have given new meaning to the phrase "fat cats," and students have been steadily encouraged to take courses untranslatable to needs of the redefined capitalist workplace.
Those who graduated with degrees in courses touted as cutting edge career paths found they were suddenly a glut in the job market, and maybe they should go for graduate degrees, or shift career focus; volunteer somewhere to gain experience in working with people -- or else maybe travel a while and "see what turns up next year." In the face of long-held behind-the-scenes plans for jobs not requiring college educations, college is so important that many must have scholarships to help foot the enormous costs, many more will need government help, and the rest will have to mortgage the family income for years to come. All this for jobs that won't exist in the numbers or income to warrant the expense of college.
The Trojan horses are in charge of ordering all their oats, from all their favored stablemates, and setting all the rules for who sits at what feedbag and what they have to do to get in line. Most careless, apathetic and carefree Americans never even notice the Trojan horses by their sides, in their careers, in their businesses, and even in their homes as the generations change.
Americans Blissfully Hugged Trojan Horses (Part II) - Part Two touchs on other hugged Trojan horses -- they're in banking, retailing, health care, environmentalism, entertainment, planning, and most everywhere else. Every day's news brings more unicorn-spawned promotions and problems.
"Published originally at EtherZone.com: republication allowed with this notice and hyperlink intact."
Joan E. Battey is a freelance political writer from Apalachin, NY. Her love of logical dot connecting and writing developed over many years of typesetting and proof reading in small daily newspapers; ad agency and manufacturing office secretarial work, and volunteer work in libraries, animal welfare, political campaigns, and networks of people keeping abreast of the steady "reforms" in education. She is a regular columnist for Ether Zone.
Originally published in the July 31, 2003 issue of Ether Zone.
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