Poem: A Good Education
At the Middle School two driveways down the street,
Hollywood safari vans tote tipsy tourists and King of Pop-culture purists
to contemplate like jurists the Michael Jackson Auditorium, whose much-lauded eponym
was sleek and slim, and boyishly indiscreet.
At this school, Russian parents take parking spots and umbrage,
when their children start to bleat
about the Czech (or Slovak?) wreck teaching home ec with no respect for Moscow discotheques, who expects to check classwork bereft of facts about the colossal crime in Crimea carried out by the usual suspects.
To my American neighbors, it sounds like the indirect vivisection of Vladimir Putin’s next election. Dollars and cents, rubles and shekels.
Garbage cans moved. Emotions operatic. Blissful harmony, discordant static.
Who’s more entitled, the white men born between borders or the white men with connections to the Kremlin? No one’s starving. No one drives a Gremlin.
When the SUVs and minivans depart, filled with strudel and abstract art, more like chariots than shtetl carts, the young ones get their education – the mental preparation we subsidize as a nation, like we do our farms and Congressional vacations.
The kiddies learn the proper things: That we’re free and brave, and therefore sing about bombs bursting in air, emblematic of our thirsting for blood and oil and the spoils of war. It’s at our core. It’s who we are. Shadow or star. We’re the world’s beacon of light – we just happen to enjoy a fight, inciting violence against despotic tyrants whose weapons of mass destruction are conclusively elusive but whose petroleum flows without interruption. The kids are taught that the battles we’ve fought have been righteous (not reprehensible), that murder is morally indefensible yet permissible in cases of national security, manifest destiny and ongoing slavery.
They’re trained to accept the foul condition known as prohibition so when they’re old enough to vote their conscience and not what their Mom says, they’ll repeat the lies prosyletized by propagandizing politicians and pedants with a pension. To smoke some weed, the law says you need testimony from a dubious doctor proclaiming you unwell. Yet to have some fun with a store-bought gun the only malady required is to feel quite sick-and-tired of almost everyone.
They’re repeatedly told to “just say no,” when “yes” might be the way to go.
Although they know the stroll is but minutes from their castle, the privileged children who live on my street don’t attend this school. They get their education where it’s more expensive, a Mensa breeding pool. But like the immigrant kids and the poor ones, the properly American daughters and sons digest the same plagiarized story about guts and glory – the sanitized version, not too gory.
For those with an aversion to perversions of history, who worry that truth becomes a mystery solvable only by the wealthy, or those who serve them, we deserve a revolution. A rapid evolution. A triumph of the healthy, citizens whose solution to the problem is to cleanse the mind pollution and reject old “us” and “them.”
We’re all in this together. Let us now commence discussions. We need to talk. We need to listen. Even to the Russians.