Sun. May 26th, 2024

(Not actual school referred to in column. Courtesy Google images.)

Written by johndamos

I taught school, and I got in trouble more than a few times for speaking plainly. I remember once I said, “shit always rolls downhill,” and a kid overheard me. I caught hell for that one.

School administrators are fearful creatures. Often, they stand between the teacher and students and their purpose is to filter out any painful or realistic truth that might create problems for the system.

During the 9/11 mess, everyone was calling for going over there and “nuking those A-rabs.” One of my students who knew I was hesitant about jumping on the go-to-war bandwagon, was on the announcement team who were interviewing teachers and others on their opinions of the situation. When they showed up to interview me, I told them that I had seen war and that it is a terrible thing, and that we should think twice before jumping in. I told them that a lot of people are going to die if it happens.

Well, you would have thought I had murdered their favorite kid. The wannabe war heroes, teachers and students alike, who had never been in the military or would never have the courage to drop what they were doing to join up and go fight a war, eyed me with suspicion and even quit talking to me.

The kids came to class just after 9/11 frightened out of their minds by the news coverage of the event and all of the propagandizing. I told them to all please just calm down because the possibility of an attack happening in our rural NC community would not be likely at all because there is no strategic target that any enemy would want to hit.

Well, I guess some kid from my class reported what I said to the principal, a zealous republican. He called me in and asked me what I was teaching my kids in my classroom. When I explained what I had told the kids, he said that he didn’t like his teachers contradicting our leaders in the classroom. I assured him that I was just soothing their fear and hysteria.

Then, the asshole organized a full school assembly with patriotic music and flag waving and a lengthy PowerPoint slide show of the burning twin towers matched with loud patriotic and martial music. I watched about 1/2 minute of the show and walked out and went back to my classroom pissed off as hell at all of the warmongering and hatred being generated in the young people.

No use of reasoning facilities at all.

As far as I know, not a single school administrator or teacher was a member of the national guard or reserve, and none joined the military after 9/11. However, our school JROTC classes filled to capacity, and many kids joined the military and went to Iraq.

One of my students, Jim, who also joined ROTC, argued with me that Vietnam was a different war, and that I didn’t know what I was talking about when I told him that war is a bad thing to be avoided if at all possible.

His response was a parroting of what his JROTC teacher taught him. “Well, you either are the predator or the prey, and I want to be a predator.”

Two years later, after I retired, I was working on one of my loaders when Jim dropped by my home to see me. He was driving a fuel tanker through hostile territory daily where a rocket or bullet could make a crispy critter out of him. He began complaining about the Army stop loss program and the fact that he was going to have to go back to Iraq, and that the country just didn’t support soldiers.

I finally got tired of this and stopped working. I turned to him and told him that war is always this way. Everyone clamors for war, usually with the people who will never have to fight yelling loudest, and every soldier comes home disappointed, but nobody will listen to what they have to say.

“Jim, they really don’t care as long as it’s not them or their kids. And you might as well get used to that idea. Nobody except your parents and friends really give a shit about you. It’s always a rich man’s war and a poor man’s fight.” Never changes.

I went back to work on my loader, and soon Jim went away. I’ve not heard from him since.

Falsifying language, and taking reality out of daily life is wrong.

It’s teaching a false reality that allows humanity to be led down false paths and into trouble. In their lifetimes most people have sex of some type. People need sex. Some people screw. Some make love. Others just fuck, and they have lots of fun doing it. Sometimes making love fills the need. Other times, only some really good fucking will get it done.

Why try to cover up the realities of the world around us and the realities of our lives? If we see things for what they are without cover-ups or embellishments, we might be able to handle reality better when difficulties come along.


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Rightard Whitey
13 years ago

Great article. I was in the air force for many years and briefly taught high school. I know exactly what the writer it talking about.

When Bush was prez they had aa term for the saber rattlers who never served: chicken hawks.

Ken Carman
13 years ago

I enjoyed it too, Rightard. I subbed for a while, and studied to be a teacher in college: wound up a Mass Media/Communications major. It’s so easy to step over the line without intending to. And we have to ask what we are protecting them from. If kids hear “ass,” “shit,” or even the F=word, is that worse than having an assembly to support a war started over false pretenses when thousands are killed by our error, or the ego of a president?

I was in school during Nam and we used to have days dedicated to debating Nam. I found more education there than in many of the courses I had to take that I knew even then I’d never really use, like Trig or German.

I find the biggest “patriots” are the biggest phonies, just like those who wear their faith on their sleeves the most, wailing in public about it, are often those who are worshiping themselves. Same dynamic. If you really love a country, or believe in something, you don’t need to put on some damn show about it. The “show” only proves something else is going on, and it’s usually not something good.

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