Scripps-Howard News Service 11.13.02
"No one gets a royal flush in life," our son said at
the age of about 12 when something he had dreamed about did not
materialize - a first sign of common sense? But President George
W. Bush got one last week. Sweeping the off-year elections, and
bending the mighty Security Council to his will was something his
adversaries will scratch their heads over for a long time.
Not only his adversaries: Republican multitudes have had upset
stomachs about the apparent concession of his every agenda point
for the sake of, or so we were led to believe, electoral victory.
To be honest, the name Carl Rove - credited with the "votes
are everything" approach - was on many lips, often accompanied
with sighs of "brother, I sure hope he knows what he's doin'!"
The votes are in and, yes, he knew what he was doing. A final resolution
to be laid before the Security Council was prepared well in advance,
for it hit minutes after the election results had been confirmed.
Similarly, minutes after the 15-0 vote of the Council, the president
was ready to furnish Iraq with the first formal ultimatum.
It was nice to hear the United States issue an ultimatum instead
of sponsoring sensitivity training for the spotted hyena.
It was nice to see the Security Council whip their right arms skywards,
as if spring-loaded, even before one heard what the question was
going to be. And if you thought they had a change of heart on intellectual,
moral, or ethical grounds, I have some seafront property in Indiana
I could sell you. They heard the American people and weighed the
So now, two questions. Are all of us doubting Thomases willing
to eat humble pie? And was that remarkable victory worth going along
with Senator Kennedy's educational hallucinations, Senator McCain's
campaign finance disease, or the continuing lack of border controls?
As for the first, credit ought to be given where credit is due.
With regard to the second, only the future will tell. Too often
have we hung our heads observing that Republican majorities tended
to be less effective than Democratic minorities.
But now the president holds a full house. There are those with
visions of tax cuts becoming permanent. Or those who busily assemble
rosters of potential judges and justices, worthy of the title. Some
pray for a restoration of United States citizenship with dignity
Given my life-long participation in education, let me dream my
We have had one "education president" after another.
We have heard pledges about dismantling the Department of Education.
The reality has been that 12 years of studying language, grammar,
math, history and sciences in our grade schools has been replaced
with round-the-clock "sensitivity training" and America-bashing.
The question is not whether we leave any child behind, but whether
we will end up a nation that has lost its ability to reason. We
are on the way.
Europeans always were ahead in discussions about fine art, great
literature, serious music. But Americans carried the day with a
gargantuan common sense that allowed for freedom of action, and
guaranteed successful action.
So here is my dream.
Now that President Bush has tasted the tonic of issuing an ultimatum
to counter a foreign threat, why not try his hand at a domestic
one? Without the slightest intention to exaggerate, I propose that
the state of our schools is as certain to bring about the downfall
of this nation as all the weapons of mass destruction Saddam Hussein
How about an ultimatum to our educational establishment, reading
"As its last act of unconstitutionally interfering with education,
the United States Government will cut off all federal funding without
further notice from any and all schools in which,
a) less than 90 percent of instruction time is devoted to the dissemination
of knowledge, as understood by generations of Americans before 1968;
b) individual achievement is evaluated through the lens of "sociological"
c) failure is excused as someone else's fault;
d) the ancestors of some students are constantly blamed for something
that happened or didn't happen to the ancestors of other students;
e) no distinction is made between right and wrong;
f) the staff fails to explain about the United States that no nation
has sacrificed as much for the good of others, and that its immense
power has never threatened anyone but the rogue, the insidious,
I know. It's just a dream.