In reading the letter to the editor today (Aug. 24, 2021: “Soft bigotry of progressives”), once again, I bemoan the fact that there is too much stereotyping of groups based on the whims of ideology. This stereotyping needs to stop and we, the people, need to come together in a democratic nation or the democracy will fall. What inspires such anger of liberals, progressives, Democrats or what not? What is the root of this evil way? It is evil and emboldened when lawyers convince everyone there is the “bad guy and good guy.” As an educator, I have observed supposed “bad guys” turn to being “good guys.” It is also emboldened by the stupidity of thoughts that we are all born with “original sin,” not “original blessings” for which it is the actions of each individual to come to grips with being humble and open-minded enough to learn. The destruction of public education while the legal profession makes tons of money by pitting “good against bad” in auto accidents which may occur only as a result of “time and unforeseen circumstances (as the Bible says).
Enough said about these ideas from the Bible and the predicament America is in right now when “moral sentiments” (words of 18th Century economics theorist, Adam Smith used to condemn free markets because they create monopolies) are completely ignored by greed, selfishness,a and individualism which inspires the attacks on one another. The result is what was written in the newspaper this morning. An approach to a problem based solely on ideology used as the means to validate ones own personal feelings.
In fact, there are parts of what the writer says in which I am in agreement. But guess what? I also tend to agree with other components of liberal and progressive thought. His quotation of Michael Gerson demonstrates a valid point in my mind, but I do not like the attack against a group of people called liberals. There are many times I could agree with liberals. There are many times I could agree with conservatives. It is wrong to drag one group or the other through the mud. While there are many times I also agree with Mr. Gerson, there are also times I do not agree with the columnist. The intent of the remarks Gerson wrote for “then-presidential candidate George W. Bush.” The idea imparted is that “they [liberals, love the use of they, don’t you know? THEY…] consistently demonstrate racism via the ‘soft bigotry of low expectations'” does ring forth a message, but not one in which this particular liberal-conservative (me) finds good. Part of what is said here is offensive to me, as an educator.
Yes, unless the intent is derogatory, I do not like political correctness. I have read books by George W. Bush Dept. of Education staff person, Dr. Diane Ravitch. One book (The Death and Life of the Great American School System) bemoans the movement to privatize and kill public education, as well as what this letter writer says about the examples of the state governor of Oregon who prefers to “lower expectations,” based on race and ethnicity. I know many black people who don’t wish to lower such expectations, in the name of “giving their people a special chance to succeed in learning. Dr. Ravitch provides plenty of good facts behind what she says. Yet, the Republican successors to Bush are pushing privatization even harder, particularly Betsy DeVos. I must say that I have to agree with the assessment the writer gave of Governor Brown of Oregon, but not after what I read this morning with the ideological bias thrown into the equation.
Dr. Ravitch’s book, The Language Police: How Pressure Groups Restrict What Students Learn, addresses the topic at hand with the letter published in this morning’s newspaper. I am not sure, however, I have ever read anything from Dr. Ravitch which simply stereotypes all educators into one lump of liberals. She identifies some specific people. Guess what. I am a person, too, who finds what she says in line with many of my “liberal” colleagues. Many of my former colleagues are human beings who also might just agree with some of the points made by this letter writer. One is not forced to embrace fully what people say, but have the human ability to sort it all out.
However, there is no way the letter writer will convince me about the point by stereotyping and lumping us all together in a group of “bad guys.” Such a notion is as “bad” as a lawyer’s advertisement designed to validate ambulance-chasing lawsuits because such “lawsuits have to teach these bad people who are involved in an accident,” never making allowances for humans making mistakes at times (“time and unforeseen circumstances”). In the days of the horse and wagon, would a person who imbibed at a tavern and allowed the horse to find the way home, with the horse having an accident, be held liable? Would we shoot the horse or charge the horse with being “bad?” The horse may not have been drunk while the drunk person was sleeping it off in the back of the wagon.
From the time of infancy, we all learned from failure and mistakes. Learning to walk on two feet was a major part of it, but there are other means of learning from mistakes throughout our lives. Is the mistake a deliberate one or the result of “time and unforeseen circumstances?” Take it one step further. Should we sue God because of a boulder in the road, resulting from a landslide or some other part of nature? According to lawyers and their lawsuits, perhaps they wish to sue God, too? Therefore, we all are learning how to deal with a non-homogeneous society of people, due to a strong over-riding factor of mixed race and ethnicity. Some people have learned to deal quite well with it. But those who do not make a deliberate attempt to sabotage society. The black educator who finds it totally off-base when a white person uses rap music to demonstrate Bach or Beethoven is another example of the ridiculous nature of what this letter-writer was attempting to say. What would he do? Attack this liberal black woman? She was using reasoning and rationality. Oh, yes, that’s another part of what I am discussing here. Reasoning and rationality, which is parallel to “time and unforeseen circumstances.”
And I have yet to “tar” my “ideological opponents with the ‘racist’ label. If I “tar” someone with a “racist label,” it’s because they are racist, not on an ideological trip somewhere. I “tar” those who use the “N…..” word in a derogatory sense because they don’t like black people and have never lived in an inter-racial environment to learn how to coexist. They think it’s funny to put on a KKK uniform or other types of crap. They play favorites with corruption and thus favor white folks only. And furthermore, such people are usually the ones who stereotype all black people as being the same because a white relative was murdered by a black person. Let the white person who murders another white person get off free, right? It is not the ideology in which I use to “tar” them. it’s not stereotypes. I observe and are concerned with the facts, the circumstances, and the unforeseen time with the circumstances.
One final thought. When living in Florida and finding the Republican Party becoming rather repugnant Humour anyone? Republican is found in the dictionary between the words, reptile and repugnant. As a Republican, I simply laughed at the humour, I might say. Why? Because I knew I was NOT repugnant and I was not a reptile. In fact, a very racist person calls black people “lizard people.” I would say she is very repugnant, but should I? During this time of frustration with those in the Republican Party to which I served, I mentioned my feelings to a long-time friend and Republican from New York. Her reply? “Well, then you don’t like me, do you?” I had to explain that if that were the case, I would also not like myself, would I?
People are working with too few brain cells which leads each one to a lack confidence and self-esteem. They are insecure about themselves, so they lash out with stereotyping and other means of attacks, thinking that makes each person more powerful over the other. That is what I am saying about the person who wrote this letter. Insecurity and stereotyping has to end or it will be the ruination of this nation.When I say something like this, I can only hope the nation does not head to ruin. But to stop such ruination, it takes a collective effort of action to make the proper changes. If you don’t believe this, then you are insecure and listen too much to pessimistic people who have an agenda to destroy this democracy.
Professor Douglas Willet Cornwell (Retired)
Newark Valley, NY
———————————“Love your neighbor as yourself.” “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” “The problems of the world are not that some people love in a different way. The problems are that so many people don’t know how to love at all (CGA, 1970).” A Puritan is someone in fear that someone, somewhere, is having a good time. “Liberty and justice for all [not priorities on individual and selfish rights].” “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” “We the people, in order to form a more perfect union [and overall wealth of American society]…”
Benjamin Franklin: “Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are affected.” Stacey Abrams: “Compromise about actions, but not about values.” Oscar Wilde: “I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best.” Oscar Wilde: “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” Benjamin Franklin: “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” Whoopi Goldberg: “To handle this COVID-19 pandemic effectively, we all need to get on the same page.” Note: To be clear, I do not like being patronized. I do not express my disdain over what happens to my fellow humans just for my own sake and to pursue favors and handouts. I do it in order to gain R – E – S – P – E – C – T for me and for millions of other Americans of any race, ethnicity, religious belief, or sex and sexual identity who try to walk in integrity as they attempt to achieve, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. PERIOD. One nation under God [our Creator] with liberty and justice for all.
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