Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Reaching out to say to somebody who is lonely, I love you

The White House sponsored a conference on school safety. Bush didn’t attend all of it, but got the notes from one of the stoner kids: “I got a firsthand report on one of the panels from Laura, who said that -- I think if I could summarize your words, it was like really interesting and very important.”

There was a lot of talk about watching children for signs of having a personality suspicious behaviour. Said EdSec Margaret Spellings, “Another way that we can kind of be alert for behavioral patterns and the like is to make sure that we have as many grown-ups in schools as we possible can.” Former Congressman Mark Foley immediately volunteered.

What? Too soon?

Other participants talked about the need to teach “character” in schools, and one suggested that all the focus on testing took away from that. Bush immediately leapt to the defense of testing: “I happen to believe that self-esteem comes when a child realizes he or she can read early at grade level.” In fact, “I’m concerned about a system that socially promotes children, because I think that at some point in time, that begins to affect a child’s vision of the future, and a grim vision of the future may be that which triggers a response that is negative.” Guns don’t kill people, social promotion kills people. Also, he warns, “it’s really important... that people not think government is a loving entity.” That’s the Republican motto for the mid-term elections, isn’t it? Rather, it should be up to people like Craig Scott, a participant whose sister was killed at Columbine: “what Craig is doing is -- he doesn’t realize it -- he’s a social entrepreneur. He is inspiring others to continue to reach out to say to somebody who is lonely, I love you.” Former Congressman Mark Foley immediately volunteered.

Still too soon?

Also, parents: “And the truth of the matter is, if we really think about it, the primary responsibility, the primary teacher of character is the parent. That is the front line of enabling our society to be a compassionate, decent place.” Trust Bush to use a war metaphor when discussing compassion and decency.

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