Utopia Denied: Part ll
Progress, Politicians, and Political Correctness work very hard against any ideas we may have of finding and holding onto our own personal utopia. Progress is inevitable. The only thing that doesn’t change is the fact everything changes. This is part of life and if we don’t progress and go forward the only other alternative seems to go backwards.
es it’s bad, but it is almost always painful; and it is not always easy to differentiate between what is good and what is bad. Cell phones, computers, cable TV, the Internet, and on and on and on for a long list of “advantages” we now have in the 21st century are all part of progress and we could make an excellent case as to whether they are more good than bad or vice versa. One thing sure is the fact they have certainly changed our life. For better or for worse? You can make that call.
Politicians and Political Correctness are another matter. But then again they seem so embedded as to be impossible to root out, however we must keep up the good fight or perish. In my lifetime there has been a long, almost endless stream of politicians from both parties who have worked against every utopian idea we may have ever had. They often promise Utopia but deliver the opposite.
Many in my age bracket have found their retirement utopian dreams wiped out by the actions of politicians. What has been done to the value of our money borders on criminal and our national debt can only be described as insanity. How can the richest nation on earth be in such a financial hole? Our grandkids and their grandkids utopias have been destroyed. Have you noticed both how many politicians and how much political correctness works to keep us divided? Divide and conquer is a tactic they employ very well.
Thanks to both of these terrible “Ps” schools have become gun-free zones, for law-abiding citizens only of course. Criminals could care less. Anyone with any age on them knows this has not always been the case. In the past many kids took their rifles to school so they could hunt on the way home. It was not unusual for a kid to get on the school bus carrying his rifle scabbard and then check it into the cloakroom when he arrived at school. All this is gone. Any kid trying such today would be arrested on the school bus.
During my early years of teaching I took guns to school as I was invited to share in the history classes as they studied the move of our country westward. My school was right on the edge of the city limits and each year we had a special full-day celebration with the graduating 9th graders consisting of an awards assembly, chuckwagon cookout, rodeo, and games, and I also received special permission from the Chief of Police to shoot right out behind the school. We were able to show kids how muzzleloading rifles and cap-and-ball revolvers worked and what important tools they were in opening up the country. PC will certainly deny any such thing happening today.
All of these thoughts started as I was in the local gun shop, Buckhorn Gun & Pawn, awhile back. We got to talking about guns in schools and the political correctness that has invaded what should be the education process. One of the countermen, Chris, has a young daughter and he spends much time shooting, hunting, and fishing with her. It has always been this way as soon as she was old enough to participate. She has her own guns and shoots regularly with him. After summer vacation one of the first assignments when she got back to school was to write a paper on her summer experiences. Now this was a 10-year-old girl who thoroughly enjoyed outings with her dad. So naturally she wrote about shooting, hunting, and fishing. The teacher was totally appalled and immediately turned the paper into the principal. Now realize this is in Idaho, a gun-friendly state. Guns are still a way of life out here and while the percentage is not as high as it was 50 years ago, most homes do have guns.
The principal called the parents to school to express his dissatisfaction and let them know their daughter’s paper was totally unacceptable. A 10-year-old girl writes of her wholesome activities with her dad and the principal takes it upon himself to label such activities as unacceptable. What could be more acceptable? You can bet those parents, and especially the mother, laid into him and made it perfectly clear his job was to teach the three “Rs” and they as parents would take care of the rest.
As I talked to Chris I found out the owner of the store, Matt, had a similar experience. His boy was a 9th grader at the time and wrote a paper on buying a gun. He started with the background of the responsibility of doing so and then went through the steps including filling out all the paperwork to buy a firearm. By anyone’s standards it was an “A” paper; anyone’s standards that is except the teacher. The boy got his paper back with a grade of “0,” not even “F,” but zero. The teacher took it upon herself to judge the paper not by educational standards or writing ability but by her distorted view of political correctness.
Matt was upset, his wife was incensed. Down to the school she went, however no matter how much she talked the grade was only raised to a “D”; again this was an “A” paper. I don’t know if this was a tipping point but Matt’s wife Christy decided to run for office. I’m guessing in the back of her mind she knew something had to be done to fight stuff like this. This is one politician that is in our corner and now serving in the state legislature. I’m sure for the teacher this was definitely an unintended consequence.
Sometimes It Still Works
Fifty years ago neither of these situations would ever have arisen in Idaho. However, that was then and this is now and the reality is we are infected just like every other state, just like every other area, just like every other utopia. There will always be those seeking to destroy what we enjoy. Fortunately, there are still bright spots. My granddaughter graduated from Boise State University 2 years ago. When she was a senior one of her assignments was to write about a character. Now who could be more of a character in her life than her grandfather? So she wrote about me.
Her 12-page paper was filled with shooting and hunting and all the things I do along those lines including teaching her to shoot. She brought it over for me to read and I warned her she might have problems with such a subject. Most university professors are even more PC than public school teachers and I told her she would probably be graded down. Fortunately, whatever the teacher’s political stance he was fair-minded. In fact, he not only gave her an “A,” he read the paper to the class as an example of what a good paper should be. I still don’t know what he thought about the subject but he graded her on performance not political correctness. We need more teachers like this.
Another bright spot is a grade school principal, a woman who took quite a chance. She invited my friend Ray and I to come to her school and spend the day not only talking about guns but also actually bringing them into the classroom. We spent the entire day talking to grade school kids about buffalo, and American Indians, and the frontier, and definitely about guns. We took in both sixguns and rifles, talked to kids about them and how they were used and also were able to talk about whether guns were actually good or bad. Some of those 2nd graders showed a lot of insight. The teachers had them write notes to us and it was obvious they really enjoyed having us come out and share with them. The principal took a major chance, however as far as I know she never suffered any repercussions. Definitely a woman of courage, and a rarity in today’s public school system.
Have you found your utopia? They come in all sizes, shapes, and situations and our attitude has a lot to do with it. Whether or not we actually find heaven on earth has a lot to do with our own thoughts. I could never turn my years of working in the tire factory and going to school into any kind of utopia. I would have been much better off if I could have at least tried.
Not only have things changed around me, I also have changed. I cannot do the things I used to do. I spend a lot more time resting than I do getting tired. However, one thing I’ve learned is the fact if I can’t do all the things I enjoy I can at least enjoy all the things I do. I’m never going to get any closer to Utopia than that.
By John Taffin