Back to school



When I think back on all the crap I learned in high school

It’s a wonder I can think at all

                                        –Paul Simon, “Kodachrome”

There’s crap, and then there’s crap.  Christian brought home this smoldering turd from his social studies (now “Growth of America”) teacher this week:

“Some day your generation will have to pick up the mantle of battle just like the generation before you, and just like the generations before them.”

Apparently it no longer suffices for those who don’t know history to be doomed to repeat it (Edmund Burke).  Here we find a history teacher simply skipping the first clause altogether and proceeding directly to prognostications of eternal warfare.

It is quite true that we have not yet broken our war addiction.  The US has been in a perpetual state of war for 13 of Christian’s nearly 16 years.  The Middle East is demonstrably more fucked up now than when we started, and instead of cutting bait, we are recommitting troops to Iraq.  Still–can’t we hope and instill hope that the next generation would refuse to perpetuate the cycle?  Einstein famously quipped that the definition of insanity is to do the same thing again and again, expecting different results.

I hope the teacher was simply making a provocative statement to kindle a dialogue, secretly hoping that one student would have the guts to say “bullshit”.  Whatever the thinking, Christian was clearly disturbed by the statement, having taken it as a flash of nationalistic bravado.

I suggest that we teach our children about the war–the hundreds of thousands killed, the dismal track record of “nation building”, the trillions of dollars spent with no end in sight.  Then, we should ask them the question that our generation has failed to address:  “Is it worth it?”

2 thoughts on “Back to school

    1. rmaddy Post author

      Yes, the style is coming along nicely. I probably better put a bit more effort into the substance, but I have a propensity to scribble in the wee hours.


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