Friday, September 22, 2017

The Arrogance of Youth in a Troubled Time...

The most interesting thing about the times we live in, is the degree of ignorance about simple concepts - the same concepts that were a given of a good public education as I was growing up. It's obvious to most thinking people, regardless of generation, that our public education system has failed to educate a few generations now. And the unfortunate result is that we have a nation of "millennials", the majority of which demonstrate mouths full of nonsense and brains void of substance.

Nowhere is this more evident this week (and that's saying something nowadays!) than the case of Garfield High School in Seattle, where the entire football team and several coaches decided to take a knee during the national anthem. The reason given was to "protest social injustices".  My bet is that if you took these kids into a room one at a time and asked them specifically what social justices they are protesting and how specifically disrespecting our flag, citizens and millions of dead soldiers can change that, not one could give you a coherent answer.

Some digging reveals some interesting facts surrounding the case, such as that Garfield has a history of accusations of racial discrimination, some rather dubious. Perhaps one need consider, though, that we live in a time where every sixteen year old thinks they have been discriminated against and every white adult is to blame. For example, Latino students at Garfield protested that a play about Latinos should have had a Latino cast. (Really? Then I guess every play written about white people should advertise auditions with: Minorities Need Not Apply).

Some of the players in question complained that they were horrified by the third stanza of the National Anthem, when they were exposed to that terrible song. This, according to a Seattle Times African-American reporter, Jayda Evans. The offending lines:

“No refuge could save the hireling and slave; from the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave” . . . 

Evidently, Ms. Evans, the school faculty, and these unfortunate children, can't grasp the concept of historical context. Ms. Evans giddily chirps that the lines are in reference to the blacks that aligned with the British in the war of 1812 in order to flee slavery.  Given that few "slaves" were free to be gallivanting around to join the British Army - I find that a bit surprising. Where blacks did join - and they joined both sides - I would give them enough credit to have good reasons, even love of the birth country and freedom of all men. Evans, all fluffed up because of a few lines she failed to understand, apparently feels the entire anthem - and the love of a nation behind it - needs to be scrapped. But these days, "journalism" abounds with irresponsible, underinformed people with faulty judgment.

The bigger point here is that these kids lack two building blocks of good character: a good education and a respect for those who died fighting for our freedoms.  Some argue that kids need to think about social injustices and get a taste of peaceful protest. Fine. But in an age when every yahoo is protesting some exaggerated - if not semi-fabricated - ill or another, it's hard to take anyone seriously. And there are certainly more productive, less annoying, ways of protesting. Insulting half a nation doesn't seem to make much sense.

What is truly offensive is a bunch of fresh-faced kids, inundated daily with the luxuries of the life of an American teenager, making any sort of public political statement. They aren't old enough to vote, barely old enough to shave, and they obviously lack the education - yet - to really think anything of real value. Their prime has not occurred; they have a ways to go to earn the right to tell adults how to live. We forget to teach our youth humility, on top of everything else.

If they had been raised with the humility that an educated youth was, say, in the time of Francis Scott Key, the author of the National Anthem - you know, back when an education included discussions of character and duty and honor - they would know the horror of choosing to defend an ideal with one's life. They would have some understanding of the ideals that build the country that hands on silver platter the convenient little toys that decorate their everyday lives. Not to mention the right to play a game for the public and then spit in that public's face in a very public way. That kind of education might allow them to even grasp the idea of their own ugly arrogance.

Which brings up the biggest point: Garfield is a publicly-funded school. The National Football League is apparently rife with owners who haven't the balls to reign in the idiots on their teams - their cowardice is costing them millions in tickets and weekly viewers. In the end, a professional team is a business: you displease enough of the public, often enough, your business will fail. The beauty of capitalism. However, Garfield is not a business, and not privately-owned. The administration that condoned this disgusting display forgets where their funding is generated. It seems especially arrogant that they would stick it to taxpayers.

Taxpayers - many of whom are patriots, some of whom are veterans, some of whom lost loved ones in war so that the spoiled little brats at Garfield football could take a knee during the required few minutes of respect to the country that gives them so much. The taxpayers in Seattle should be very worried. 

I am grateful to have come from a generation that was taught the cost of this country. I am grateful I come from a school system and a family that knew the meaning of respect. It's very sad that we as a nation have come into an era of selfishness, of make-believe causes for vengeance, of inability to accept one's own burdens while acknowledging that every life - regardless of race - has its injustices and hard burdens. We have brought up generations of youth who are too selfish and angry to ever fight to defend a country. Where will that lead us, except to ruin?