Columns » Ranger Rich

Not exactly brainwashing

Ranger Rich



The best thing about living in a village full of ignorant people is the great entertainment they provide. It's like watching a tall guy on a tiny circus tricycle pedal head-first into a wall. Or living in one of those Jackass movies, no portion of which I have ever seen. Especially the segment where a grown man allows a small but sharp-toothed alligator to chomp down onto his left nipple.

Seriously, the conservative, right-wing dinosaurs in our village should demand a cover charge just to watch them. Many still drive around with actual "Sarah Palin for President" bumper stickers. And while we're at it, let's make Bernie Madoff the chief financial officer of Make-A-Wish Foundation.

(I don't want to stereotype here, but a lot of the people with Palin bumper stickers look like they were injured during childhood — when a chunk of potato clogged the copper tube and the still exploded.)

So earlier this week the president, whom our village's conservative whiz kids didn't vote for, wanted to talk to our school kids about his nut-job, radical, communist/socialist ideology. Examples would include doing homework. And trying hard. This caused some in our village to get so agitated they started shouting about Nazis.

One reader of the daily Gazette newspaper, outraged by the thought of her child listening to Barack Obama's pep talk, sent an e-mail to the Gazette asking, "Isn't this what happened in Germany?"

Many parents (most of whom believe Rubik's Cube is how Rubik keeps his drink cold) even planned to keep their kids out of school so the president of the United States couldn't "brainwash" their children with that hypnotic way he has — putting actual words together in so-called "sentences."

Example: Obama tried to brainwash our kids by telling them not to "spend every waking hour in front of the TV or with that Xbox."


Frankly, for those kids kept out of school Tuesday because of Obama's speech, the whole Xbox thing is probably not a big issue. Not with Mommy and Daddy slouched in the living room hogging the video controls day and night amid the empty beer cans and overflowing ashtrays.

Even former schoolteacher and First Lady Laura Bush, who, you'd imagine, certainly knows stupid when she sees it, hinted that the I-ain't-lettin'-my-kid-watch-no-Obama-talk parents might be on the goofy side.

"There's a place for the president of the United States to talk to schoolchildren and encourage schoolchildren," she said.

From the Gazette-reading mother: "Stalin did the same thing in Russia. [Obama] is trying to influence them in an eloquent speech and persona that he's a great guy. I don't want him to broadcast to my kid."

And by "eloquent speech" she meant using sentences that don't end with the word "at." An example would be, "Hey Skeeter ... this week's NASCAR standings ... where's Jimmie Johnson at?"

Of course, if our village's educational leaders had a spine, none of this would have mattered. The president wanted to encourage our kids — who, by the way, in worldwide educational rankings are currently ranked somewhere between "Japan" and "squirrels" — to work harder in school. He would speak of his own dismal start to life and how he overcame it with tenacity. Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush spoke directly to America's students. No big deal. Let's listen. Heck, he's the president.

But our "educators" ran away. In our biggest school district, D-11, about 150 bright-bulb parents called to say they didn't want their kids to hear the speech. There are some 28,000 students in the district. It was a chance for new superintendent Nicholas Gledich to stand tall and not be bullied by the few, the loud, the ignorant.

Instead, he caved in, passing the decision on to principals and teachers. Most students didn't hear Obama's speech.

Here's what Gledich wrote a few months ago on the district Web site: "School District 11 is meeting the demands of the 21st century by preparing our students for a world yet to be imagined. ... Our focus on ... civic responsibility equips students to navigate and influence a shifting world."


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