Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Team USA Soccer

That's right, citizens. Here comes the Red, White & Blue. When the rest of the world was cringing in fear --- too afraid to board the Mayflower --- our ancestors were staring adversity in the face with that American Resolve the rest of the world envies. America. The land of the free. The home of the brave. And the Team that believes in miracles.

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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Winning the Heisman

Two years ago my youngest had to go to a new elementary school when he entered 5th grade. Never mind his old school is 1/10th of a mile away & his "new" school is 4 miles away. Not important.

What is important is what something means to a 10 year old. And this is a Biggie.

His first day of "new" school. Didn't know a soul. Recess. Boys play football. He was the =last= pick. That is a killer. Dead last pick. The kid with narcolepsy & 12 lb cowboys boots holding up a 175 lb frame, who barely runs the 40 yard dash in 4.4 hours =&= had the flu was picked ahead of my son. First day. Knows no one. Last pick for playground football. Devastating. Heartbreaking.

After week two of "new" school, he comes home beaming. Grinning from ear to ear. What does he say? Well, a different tune.

Dad, guess what?

What, son?

You ain't gonna believe this!

What is it, son?

At recess I'm now 1st pick every day in football, soccer, kickball =&= in PE class dodge ball.


Yep. I'm the 1st Pick in the 1st Round in every sport. It's kinda like winning the Heisman every day.

Ah. The simple magic of being a child.

Now fast forward to last week. June 3, 2010. Awards Day. 6th grade. A whole 2 years of "new" school. Now 12 years old. My son was voted by his fellow 6th grade classmates as the "Most Athletic." That means the majority of 350 students voted my son what is equivalent to the 6th grade Heisman. Sure, he also was given the Social Studies Award, the Technology Award & the Honor Roll Award, but he is most proud of his "Heisman."

I guess looking at things through a kid's eyes puts life in a whole new perspective. Not a big deal to me or you or to anyone else in the world. It won't change the economy or make life better for anyone, anywhere on the planet. But for one 12 year old kid at "new" school, he thinks he's won the Heisman.

And that's a big deal.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

California Stands Up To Texas Politics in Textbooks

I will say one thing for California other than they have some fine wineries & the great town of San Diego: they are doing the right thing in standing up to the Reich Wing extremists on the Texas Board of Education who are trying to revise history to fit their politics.

Here's the article from The Raw Story.

My hat is off to California in this. Thank you.

I will be the first to admit that I wish history sometimes told a different tale than it does. I wish the story of America was always noble, just, honorable and kind. But it is not. History is never like that. Instead, history is a record of ideas that "won" the minds of the people, usually by war, politics, good fortune or just plain old manipulation. The latter is what the Texas Board of Education is attempting to do regarding what is taught to the school kids in one of the two largest public education systems.

Trying to make our Founding Fathers a group of 21st Century-minded evangelicals is simply manipulation to present a falsehood. OK. Let me say it more plainly: It is a lie. It is flat-out, wrong. The Founders were at best men of the Enlightenment --- Deists at best, Unitarians at least --- and were nearly all secularists when it came to the relationship between the church & the state. These men were more influenced by John Locke's views on the secular side but also the theological view of Baptist leaders like Roger Williams and John Leland who insisted that even God wouldn't invade the conscience via the worldly means of human government.

The Texas School Board wants us to believe the First Amendment's principle of Separation of Church & State is a myth promulgate by "liberals" and atheists. Not true! The statement is a summary statement, just like the phrase "right to a fair trial" is a summary statement of what is in the Constitution, though those actual words aren't there in either case. The Founders saw what happens when the church & the state meld & they did not want that any longer. It is true that he early colonies were founded with a state church & for the purposes of advancing a religion. Sure it was. England had a state church & the church was used as a tool of the state to keep people in line with the Crown's Mercantile Option for the colonies. If a person wouldn't stay in line with the laws of England, perhaps the laws of God --- enforced by the local church under the threat of eternal torment --- would do the trick.

By the time the Constitution was adopted, the Founders wanted neither a state-run church nor a church-run state. Both options were abandoned. And to ensure there was no doubt, the amendment to simply ban a national denomination or church or religion was voted down three times. The theocrats that wanted a national church were thwarted and the Congress decided to adopt an even more expansive amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.

No law. Not even the force of law. Nothing that even respects or hints of it. Not THE establishment, but ANY establishment. Not even something that hints there might be any religion getting a Most Favored Status.

And yet, those people on the Texas Board of Education are convinced that the Separation of Church & State is a myth?

I think those people in Texas need to admit they are letting their politics interpret history instead of letting history tell the tale & learn from it. We've already tried their version once. We fought a Revolution to rid ourselves of the Crown & the Crown's version of faith over the people.

Dare we forget that lesson?