Saturday, October 18, 2008

Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann Clears It All Up For Us

The phrase "last refuge of a scoundrel" is pretty well-known. Less well-known is that the first (I guess) person to use it, Samuel Johnson, was referring to patriotism. As in "patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel". From its coining, the whole "refuge/scoundrel" spiel has been used to define pretty much everything from political correctness to laundry detergent.

Which is a pity, because while I'm no fanboy for Samuel Johnson in general, the original phrase is pretty damn good.

And that gets me to Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann. You've probably seen the "Hardball" interview, so I won't even embed it here. While 99.9% of the claptrap spouted by politicians in your typical mid-October of an election year is meaningless, I'd like to commend Congresswoman Bachmann for crystallizing exactly what is wrong with "patriotism". I won't even try to rephrase how she said it. Go to the videotape.

Okay, maybe I will try to sum up what she says, especially for those (like me) who generally avoid going to the Internet videotape. Basically: If you criticize this country you are anti-American.

Let me repeat that a few times:

If you criticize this country you are anti-American.
If you criticize this country you are anti-American.
If you criticize this country you are anti-American.
If you criticize this country you are anti-American.
If you criticize this country you are anti-American.

A few more hundred times and I'll have the Republican mantra from this point forward until November 4th, 2008 wired.

If you criticize this country you are anti-American.
If you criticize this country you are anti-American.
If you criticize this country you are anti-American.
If you criticize this country you are anti-American.
If you criticize this country you are anti-American.

Anyone who thinks "America" has done anything wrong....say in terms of financial policy, or the invasion of other countries, or mistreatment of "colored people", or the Three/Fifths Compromise is not only "liberal" but anti-American. Not that there's really a difference between the words "liberal" and "anti-American".

Anyone who doesn't think "America" is the greatest country on Earth, ever, is anti-American. Anyone who doesn't think the Constitution is somehow divinely inspired and infallible in the same way that gravity is infallible is...you guessed it, anti-American.

Anti-Americans like Barack Obama are trying to take over the government, so that they can destroy it and replace it with something other than the good old America that real Americans all slavishly love because the good 'ol America is perfect, divine and beyond criticism. And anyone who disagrees should just move to another, inferior, country and leave us patriotic scoundrels alone with our delusional, dysfunctional view of the world, history and what it means to be patriotic.

Got it?

Thanks Congresswoman Bachmann. I got it. I really get it now.


P.S.: Meanwhile, those faithful few Burque Babble readers might have noticed that in recent days the emphasis has been on politics & satire rather than teaching and my school year. Well, one might say political satire is the last refuge of a scoundrel. Especially one trying to avoid writing about what has all the signs of an educational implosion around my school and District. I'll get back to that subject when I can deal with it through a means other than non-verbal screams and unproseworthy obscenities. Ranting about the relatively dispassionate world of scumbag politicians is so much easier than the true soul-baring involved in frankly assessing a job/profession I love.

4 comments:

Kelsey Atherton said...

For an alternative view of patriotism, here's a good bit: http://kelseydatherton.blogspot.com/2008/10/denoument.html

yes, self-promotion, but it's also uplifting and inspiring and, given the source (not me; Colin Powell), that is crazy rare.

Steve said...

There are loons in both parties, of course, and there are still quite a few red states out there too. I don't think Michelle Bachmann speaks for all Republicans, or "most americans" as she would like to claim. This year we are probably voting to change the direction of the country. Its pretty clear that there will be a population pockets who believe that this change is evil and will say whatever they can to stop it from happening. Bachmann is probably trying to rally her own (narrow-minded) constituency. I have to wonder though, if she'll be back in congress next year with Al Franken as the junior senator--that would be an interesting contrast.

Abuelita2 said...

Two things you wrote resound with me:

1) “what has all the signs of an educational implosion around my school and District.”

2)“the true soul-baring involved in frankly assessing a job/profession I love.”

1) The District? I wonder. I know we teachers are imploding. Or exploding. Or shattering. Or something. I guess I have thought it would be too optimistic to think it could all come to a breaking point, at which time people would look realistically, take stock, and implement more realistic plans. I’ve thought it would be only we individual teachers who crumble. Not in defeat, not from lack of energy, or ability. Just from being told to do the impossible, repeatedly.

Also, from being told to do things which fulfill bureaucratic aims rather than directly teach and interact with children.

What is the educational implosion around your school?

Your district? (Our district.)

Today an IC told me she had great faith in the new superintendent. (And I take what she says seriously.) She said he told a leadership meeting that he did not care about AYP, that each school will set its goals in the future. (An autocratic principal setting the goals? !)

Aaaaah, what if that were true, and at each school teachers could gratefully and happily accept the mandate to decide how they could work together to get the students to truly learn more !!! What would we do? !!!! I can see us staying late every day, coming early, caring about each other’s kids, listening to children, working patiently with them, talking with understanding and caring to their parents (listening to parents), and feeling energized by our work!!!! Feeling our expertise is recognized and valued, and applying it with energy.

Ah, well. Could be, though, no?


2) Soul-baring in assessing the job/profession we love - No, we won’t assess the job, the profession. We need to assess what has happened to it as a result of the infiltration of politicians and their businesspeople friends. To call students and parents “clients?” To call the precious work of children “products?” To use words like “deployment,” and “stakeholders,” and all the assembly line, business, and military terms when referring to new, young, individual human beings and their learning about the world they have newly come into????? No, that is not the profession of teaching. TEACHING – facilitating and being a catalyst to the innate desire to learn and explore that the young of any mammalian species have.


No, the politicians and business rulers have taken us far from the original idea of teaching. The pity is that the parents don’t know, or pay attention to, what is happening in schools. They should. It’s crazy. And scary.

Enough. I have bureaucratic paper work (no, computer work) to do, related to PED mandates. Aaaaaarrgh!!!

Anonymous said...

We need to assess what has happened to it as a result of the infiltration of politicians and their businesspeople friends.
No, the politicians and business rulers have taken us far from the original idea of teaching. The pity is that the parents don’t know, or pay attention to, what is happening in schools. They should. It’s crazy. And scary.


Well said. If we could get back to running our own profession maybe we wouldn't mind being held accountable for it. By the way, duck and cover, Heather Wilson is on her way to join the retirment community in the Towers of Power.