The first and biggest mistake that people make about my beloved country is that it is one country, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
I realize that there is this pledge that we ourselves use to perpetuate this misunderstanding. But seriously, you know you can't take these advertisements literally. I mean, think of food photography, for example.
When you buy those little frozen meals (and I do...I'm like a Lean Cuisine-a-holic), do they come out of the microwave (because we all know nuking food is the healthiest method of preparation) looking as pictured?
They do not.
For one thing, I don't even own that style of plate.
For another, notice the little caveat on the image: Serving Suggestion.
I found out about food photography ages ago when I first began my career. I was working for the production company and we had a professional photographer on retainer. In fact, we had two. One who specialized in people and one who specialized in objects. These are very different skill (and tool) sets. So the object photographer was taking photos of hamburgers one day for a client, in the studio. These hamburgers looked gorgeous. But I was curious about the Elmer's glue on the side.
"Oh that's for the mayonnaise," the photographer explained, "It photographs better, whiter. Mayonnaise comes out slightly yellowed. That's not appetizing."
Back then people still used film and actual brushes for photography, instead of digital and software. So the image itself had to be perfect.
Upon further investigation, absolutely nothing in that hamburger was real. Lettuce wilts, tomatoes run, mayonnaise yellows, etc.
To look perfect, it must be fake.
So there you are---through food photography a big life lesson: Nothing real is ever perfect.
Thus the nature of our nation must be imperfect. The object, of course, is that we strive to do our best, right? The trouble, of course, is that we disagree what is best.
I'll tell you two things we need to quit disagreeing about if we want to at the least appear to be a fresh, appetizing hamburger:
* health care
Let's take on education. No Child Left Behind. Drop it.
I give you a quote about standardized tests:
1. "They reward the ability to quickly answer superficial questions that do not require real thought. They do not measure the ability to think or create in any field. Their use encourages a narrowed curriculum, outdated methods of instruction, and harmful practices such as retention in grade and tracking."
Source: "What's Wrong With Standardized Tests?" December 17th, 2007, Fairtest
Is that your educational goal for yourself or your child, or the children of the US?
It's not mine. I expect my children to learn how to think, critically think, reason, logic, and pull from a mass of across-the-board knowledge in a variety of subjects.
Where will they get this?
In private school. That I can't afford.
(Speaking of recessions and depressions, I think the musical Annie should be remade, and let's update the song, "We'd like to thank you, Herbert Hoover," to "We'd like to thank you, George W. Bush." I'd like to know where the Republicans who spend money like it grows on trees get off criticizing the Democrats for potential "fiscal irresponsibility" and call them spending fools. Hello pot!)
Standardized tests can do good. They can be measurement tools, comparable measures, and good tools of assessment. Even private school use them as such. They can also be good indicators of situations in which student learning isn't up to par, for one reason or another. But I caution against using them as we are now. Relying on one factor, overrelying on one factor, puts unhealthy weight on that factor. And it becomes harmful rather than helpful.
Let's get back to comprehensive education.
Next up, health care.
Today, Bon wrote an absolutely fantastic post about universal health care. It's incredibly persuasive. A must read. She touches on the very reasons why I support universal health care.
Plus there is also Kyla's tale of her struggles to get necessary health care and treatment for her daughter KayTar. There's today's post about how she isn't at the doctor and why, how her journey affects those who care about her, what it's like to know you lose your health care the next day, and more.
Karen of needs new batteries made a very poignant comment on Bon's post---a comment I think is applicable to every discussion about universal health care. She wrote, "Sadly, sadly, sadly for many of my fellow Americans freedom = freedom from, freedom from tyranny, by which many seem to mean freedom from obligations to have their money help others. I know it is more complicated than that, but I’ve boiled it all the way down a few times now & it keeps looking back at me, ugly in the bottom of the pot- just plain selfishness b/c those claiming freedom from, already have freedom to."
Think about it.
Who are we, how are we, able to say it's not for us to support government sponsored programs that help our fellow citizens?
We sponsor state prison, state education, state murder, state welfare, and more.
We are a chain. One nation. Under God. Indivisible.
Chains are only as strong as their weakest links.
Now is the time, time for change we can believe in, change that strengthens us all, by providing a basis for the ability to be intelligent and healthy.
Copyright 2008 Julie Pippert
Also blogging at:
Julie Pippert REVIEWS: Get a real opinion about BOOKS, MUSIC and MORE
Julie Pippert RECOMMENDS: A real opinion about HELPFUL and TIME-SAVING products
Moms Speak Up: Talking about the environment, dangerous imports, health care, food safety, media and marketing, education, politics and many other hot topics of concern.