I personalize my calendars to keep track of dates that are special to me. It takes a couple hours each December. So, when June rolled around, I was aware that June 4 marked the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre in Beijing – as well as the 45th anniversary of the near-riot of Ten-Cent Beer Night at a Texas Rangers game in Cleveland.
The student heroism and bloody repression of Tiananmen Square is on my calendar. Not so in China.
CBS television reporter Elizabeth Palmer visited the site of the make-shift Statue of Liberty and interviewed people who appeared to be in their 20s and 30s. She showed them the picture of the courageous Tank Man, whose one-man stand stopped the convoy of tanks that eventually brought the Chinese bid for individual liberties to a bloody end. They had never seen the picture. They had never heard of the protests. They couldn’t believe that the incident had happened right where they were standing.
It reminded me of my days in the educational audio-visual business where much of our part-time help came from among the smartest kids in the college-town high school. One of the filmstrips – it was that long ago – that they were charged with inspecting for reusability was “The Etruscans.” I was stunned that they didn’t know who the Etruscans were.
But, one of them deflected the responsibility: “Nobody taught us.”
I’m old enough to remember Cold War reports that Soviet Russia had its own list of “inventors” to demonstrate to its students the superiority of its way of life. They couldn’t know any better; it wasn’t being taught.
What’s being taught in China today? North Korea? And, more importantly, what’s being taught in the U.S.?
I picked up a home-school “history” text at a local garage sale that featured the map: “The world after The Flood.” Yes, a many-times redacted Sumerian myth is being taught as history.
I’m guessing it came from the same mindset that cherry picks words out of context to “prove” that our Founding Fathers were fundamentalists just like themselves – and not professed deists at a time when “deist” was synonymous with “atheist.”
We have anti-science troglodytes ignoring the evidence for evolution and the innate cousinhood of the entire human race; believing in science for financial gain though not its consequences; spending millions on lies to deny the global warming that their own research showed them 40 years ago.
And, of course we have a Republican administration hiding or denying scientific evidence unfavorable to its filthy energy agenda – with the full support of Oklahoma’s own senatorial Apostles of Ignorance.
These people – good Platonists everyone – prefer indoctrination to education. Knowledge is too powerful to share with the masses; give them pacifying myths.
One of Trump’s Energy Dept.’s latest maneuvers is to “redefine” high level radioactive waste as “low level” to make it cheaper – not safer – to dispose of, regardless of its high level environmental impact.
That was reported by Common Dreams, which also cited the National Center for Science Education analysis warning “that right-wing lawmakers across the United States are working to water down science education, as students around the world hold weekly school strikes, calling on adults take action to address the human-made climate crisis.”
And, taking ignorance and indoctrination to a new low, we have the president of the U.S. of A. gutting science advisory boards and stacking them with industrial lobbyists who are paid to preach his lies and whose companies fill the GOP coffers.
It suddenly becomes clearer why Oklahoma’s GOP legislators are so reluctant to fund education – doing so only under duress and the threat of being voted out of office. An uneducated constituency is more susceptible to their profit-driven lies.
And Steve Fair, GOP District Four Chair, joins the Republican chorus clamoring to divert public education funds via vouchers to private schools, and he titled a recent essay, “Good schools don’t require compulsory tax support.”
Embracing ignorance has consequences. Diverting funds away from alternative energy options will leave us dependent upon the countries who have sized up the problems and seized the initiative.
This just in from Think Progress: “A 100% renewable grid isn’t just feasible, it’s in the works in Europe. Europe will be 90% renewable powered in two decades, experts say.”
America will not lead the world in the 21st century with 19th century science.
(Gary Edmondson is chair of the Stephens County Democratic Party)