Response to :A Sad Commentary from the Texas School Board
Caveat: With respect to all Texans.
I was a resident of the State of Texas from 1992-1999. Seven years of purgatory is how it is best described. The only good that came from residing in Houston was the Masters Degree I received in Liberal Arts at a Houston Private University.While living in Texas I was unable to live a fully authentic life because I was not a Republican, not Christian and not working for the oil industry. I have quite a number of friends who still live there to this day, but in the scheme of things, a very small group.
While in the state I suffered with the stigma of not living in the right "neighborhood" in Kingwood Texas, and also did not associate with any church affiliation either. I belonged to an Edgar Cayce "search for God" group that met Wednesday nights for about a year, but we remained sequestered under the illusion it was one of those Wednesday prayer group meetings.My daughter did not drive her own car in high school and she did not buy all her clothing at Abercrombie and Fitch, she worked part time jobs at the grocery deli and Subway when from ages 16-20. She did not really fit in.
My son was in the fourth grade when the proverbial "crap" hit the fan. It was at this time that he came home and told me has needed to pledge allegiance to the Texas flag. Make no mistake, I am an American and reasonably proud of it, although there are many travesty's we Americans inflict upon others in the name of patriotism. I am no flag waving, proud patriot. I pay y taxes, but consider myself a world citizen who happens to live in the United States. Many citizens are so ethnocentric they sicken me. We are no better, no worse than any other nation. But I digress..............
I asked Alex how he felt about pledging to the flag of Texas, and he told me honestly, he did NOT like it. Texas was a state after all, not a country. (But Texas should secede and have done with it). I told his teacher that he would not be saying this pledge in class, and she told me as long as he stood while the others did, it would be ok. First hurdle now crossed.
My son had asthma from the time he was 2 years old. And if you know anything about asthma, you know it can happen quickly, and time is of the essence to get relief from bronchial swelling. He missed days fro school when this happened. After missing 10 days of school (not in a row) due to asthma complications, I received a notice form the school board to come to a "trial" since I was now deemed to be non-compliant in getting my son to come to school. This made me SO angry, Iremoved him from school to home school him and later put him in a private "Christian school". Although we are not Christian, if he was out there was no "penalty" involved. Alex did well in smaller classrooms and even was the only boy in his class to earn the coveted "christian character award" from his school. Not too bad for a self proclaimed atheist, eh? (He was, not me)
I finally escaped from my "sentence" of living in a place where I was the odd woman out and I have never looked back. And although I miss my college friend Melinda, and my old boss at an income tax office where I worked for any years, I do not miss being in such a stifled and judgmental atmosphere. There is a whole different feeling about living here than anywhere else I have ever lived, save Kentucky perhaps. I cannot and will never understand the mentality of the Christian conservative base in this state. I am overly tolerant of many things, but there is no tolerance of my being different. People wanted to convert me to their way of thinking. Educare means "to lead out" and I was led out of Texas none too soon.
Enter this article well written by another blogger online. His expose of the Texas Board of Educations decision to take Einstein and other things out of the curriculum is unconscionable! He writes:
" In Texas, you could be forgiven for thinking The Enlightenment never happened: which, again, is ironic, as the Texas Board of Education want references to it (the Enlightenment) dropped too - and that, at least for the kids seeking an 'education' (that word will now have to come with caveats where Texas is concerned), this presents potentially huge and far-reaching problems."
Well now. And do no t forget the amount of students that ARE home-schooled in Texas and we can be reasonably CERTAIN they are not schooled in much more than what the author mentions in his article. Sadly, we will have even more people without the vital critical thinking skills that are so necessary for them in their adult lives. I realize not all people are going to be stifled and am not trying to make hasty generalizations, but it does give me great concern that this is what we are going to be dealing with in the next few generations of adults.
Texas has always felt they were their own sovereign nation since they annexed from both Mexico and the US in the past. I worry over the intolerance that is rampant however and question the idea that these people really are thinking about what Jesus would do in all these situations. Again, it is not all Texans who are guilty of said behavior, but when it reaches the School board, it does impact all people there with children that receive public education.
I often think that when people bring up the idea our forefathers were conservative men that they need to read up on the history of the words used in our Declaration of Independence. These men were "enlightened men" who were members also of the Masonic order and read the French Enlightenment ideas espouse in their documents. Many of them even went to France to be involved in discussions in salons at the time. And when someone says they would be upset at the way the country is headed, I say how do you know? They lived in 1776. It is 2010. Would we feel the same way about something in our past than we do today? Given our education and experience, we might have very different spins on how we feel. When we are allowed to think critically, analyze and synthesize ideas, we may change our minds completely.
One thing that seems evident to me is that the intolerance espoused by others and vitriolic name calling and hate mongering do nothing to further a debate. Another blogger on this site blogged that he thought Obama was the antichirst. interestingly enough, he was from Texas. When several posts asked him if he was serious, he took denied the comments and posted he only wanted people to post comments that added to the discussion. Hello? Did he mean we were not adding to it by being offended with his name calling?
Whatever happens you can be sure I wish only the best for my Texas friends, and hope the others will have some sort of epiphany that having a closed mind is not conducive to their growth. To stay mired in the opinions of our uneducated selves leaves us stuck in a high school mentality. We need to allow our children the ability to make their own choices and think for themselves as they tone their own critical thinking skills. If we don't, it is no wonder many of us are beginning to be embarrassed to be Americans. The argument some offer is "if you do not like it here, then leave". But it is they who are not following the founding fathers wise counsel. We are "free" to make our own way, but with respect for the opinions of others.
Land of the Free and Home of the Brave? All over Texas the following sign is posted:
Don't mess with Texas.
And it is not just a sign to remind people not to throw trash on the roadways!
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