24 February 2009
Down With Creamed Peas
Kevin Levin recently linked to a story about some Maryland 4th graders being upset about the lyrics of Maryland's state song which goes, in part:
The despot’s heel is on thy shore, Maryland, My Maryland! His torch is at thy temple door, Maryland, My Maryland! Avenge the patriotic gore That flecked the streets of Baltimore, And be the battle queen of yore, Maryland! My Maryland!
Seems the little crumb-crunchers were so traumatized by the lyrics that they just up and decided to write the legislature to complain and now Maryland lawmakers are considering a bill to scrap the song. Good for them, maybe they could replace the state song with the Barney theme:
I love you. You love me. We're a happy family. With a great big hug and A kiss from me to you. Won't you say you love me too?
If I were an enterprising young fourth-grader, I wouldn't waste my time on such endeavors as protesting state songs--who pays any attention to state songs these days anyway? Really--have you sung your state song within the last 12 months? Personally, I'd be lobbying for longer recesses, more ice-cream choices in the cafeteria, and a free laptop for every student via the stimulus package (with free Wi-Fi included, of course).
Kevin subtly suggests by the sarcasm in his comments that these children were not influenced by political correctness (and by extension, the educational system). Forgive me if I'm just a little skeptical. Now seriously, does anyone really believe those 4th graders came up with the idea for the letter and the opinion on the song all on their own with no guidance, prodding, or encouragement?
"They took action like any responsible citizen"
Right. I remember being a 4th grader. Being a responsible citizen wasn't at the top of my to-do list at that age. How 'bout yours? Maybe there's a course in political activism for 4th graders now in public schools, I don't know. I do know this: If I'd protested anything in the fourth grade, it certainly would not have been some stupid state song. It would have been creamed peas. That's right, creamed peas. My school cafeteria used to serve them once every month or so. I hated them. I still hate them. They are a tool of the Devil. They look like giant boogers floating in snot soup. Now what do you think is more offensive to a 4th-grader; nasty creamed peas or a state song nobody sings? It's no contest. Down with creamed peas!
When I was a little crumb-cruncher in the fourth-grade, the only thing I protested was the homework Mrs. McKinney assigned. And she assigned plenty of it since she was not wasting time encouraging political controversy and activism in the classroom - she was too busy teaching us the assigned subjects which we would need to function and become productive members of society. In those days, teachers tended to leave any controversial or political subjects for parents to deal with, or leave them alone at least until students were old enough and mature enough to fully comprehend the subjects and complexity of the issues involved. Maybe this is why literacy rates among young people in the United States continues to decline--teachers are spending too much time instructing children how to protest and become political activists instead of teaching them how to read, write, and cipher.
Now in all fairness, I don't know if the teacher or other school official put the kids up to this or some how gave them the idea. The article does not say. But, again, I am most skeptical of the typical 4th-grader coming up with something like this on their own. If they did, I apologize and stand corrected. If not, then the question is: Should these children be used as political pawns? No, they shouldn't.
Now, you must excuse me as my 2 year old granddaughter is picketing in the kitchen. She's carrying a sign which reads: "Hey, Hey, Ho, Ho, Those Nasty Creamed Carrots Got To Go."
This could get ugly.
(Regular programming will resume tomorrow. I just got off the phone with a well known Civil War artist about the possibility of collaborating on a book. More as that develops.)