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The compromised wherewithal of the new progressives

By Frank Salvato
web posted June 19, 2006

Hillary Clinton was jeered by those among the progressive-left who attended the "Take America Back" fantasy-fest because she dared to employ common sense when talking about why establishing a timetable for US troop withdrawal from Iraq was a stupid idea. While many conservative pundits maintain that this illustrates Clinton's attempt to paint herself the moderate, and that may very well be, I contend that it highlights the lack of vision and cerebral wherewithal of those who meander among the anti-war, progressive-left.

It never ceases to amaze me how stunted the progressive-left's logic has become. On the issue of troop withdrawal, common sense mandates that if you announce when the most effective and lethal fighting force in the world is going to "vacate the premises" the miscreants who like to toil in terrorism will simply wait until after their moment of departure to capitalize on the void. It doesn't take a professor of ethnic studies at the University of Colorado or a New York Times editorialist to figure that out.

The question that came to my mind as I watched Hillary try to slough off the boos and hisses directed her way from the pierced, the dyed and those of the Church of Unwarranted Self-Esteem, was how did this come to be? How is it that many among our country's youth are so completely devoid of the ability to employ reason, vision, logic and common sense?

Last Tuesday I attended an eighth-grade graduation ceremony for my wife's son. He attended an upper-middle class public middle school and is slated to attend a predominant high school here in the Midwest. The one thing that struck me as I left the ceremony was that the speeches given by the students were infinitely more grounded than that of the one given by the school board president.

As I listened to the school board president's assortment of opinions and suppositions my thoughts about the problems within our education system were once again validated.

While the students' speeches had been about thoughtful discovery, the school board president's speech, better suited for a 1980's John Hughes movie (complete with glaring grammatical errors), centered on her version of the students' educational experience; her editorialized perception of what these children's educational journey had been and what they would become.

In essence, this elected official, who oversees those charged with educating our children – some elected, some professional and others volunteer – was more concerned with her own version of what had transpired and her own vision for the children's future than in highlighting the educational process which they had just been through; their accomplishments.

What we didn't hear from this member of the educational ruling class was how the education system had succeeded in developing and refining the children's ability – a natural ability – to employ reasoning skills, logic, vision and common sense, all tools required for being an intelligent, well-rounded human being and for being successful in today's world; all tools required for being able to chart life's course.

I remember saying it when I was younger but perhaps now I understand it better looking from the other side; the "adult" wasn't listening.

Throughout her speech she repeatedly – and I mean repeatedly – spoke of how she thought each and every one of those graduates on the stage was special and important but not about how they had developed. She spoke of how she believed each and every one of them contributed so much to the community but not about how they had learned to be good citizens. And she spoke of how she just knew they would all go on to do great things with the superior education they had received but not about their academic accomplishments. It was a self-esteem fiesta, maybe warranted, maybe not.

She ended her speech with an old standard of the progressive-left. She had everyone in the audience who had every worked or volunteered in the school district stand up so that the rest of us could "appreciate them." She then ended with, "It truly does take a village to raise a child."

I am not one to withhold credit where credit is due. I am sure that many of the fine young people on that stage did some very good and thoughtful things during their time in that school. But in its current form our education system is creating a "Stepford class" of young adults whose overriding achievement is an elevated and most often unwarranted level of self-esteem without the wherewithal to employ reason, common sense or vision when dealing with critical issues facing the world today. This creates entire generations that believe they are owed something and who champion causes not based on a thorough understanding of the facts and consequences of the issues but because charismatic speakers pontificate – many times disingenuously – that "it's the right thing to do."

By promoting unwarranted self-esteem instead of a thorough, grounded, fact-based education devoid of special interest propaganda, our education system fails to teach our children about civic responsibility; that good deeds and community service shouldn't result in being considered "special," rather that they are simply part of being a good citizen. Our current "progressive" education system fails to teach our children where true self-esteem comes from – from tending to our country, our fellow citizens and our children rather than from falling prey to the hollow promise of a politically correct brainwashing.

So, as I watched Hillary Clinton squirm under the weight of the "Stepford class's" ignorant ridicule for having employed logic and common sense where troop withdrawal in Iraq was concerned, I couldn't help but think that she had created the monster she was now facing; her village of idiots.

No, Hillary, it doesn't take a village to raise a child; it takes a village to replace a parent. And even then the village does a pretty poor job.

Frank Salvato is the managing editor for The New Media Journal. He serves at the Executive Director of the Basics Project, a non-profit, non-partisan, 501(C)(3) research and education project. His pieces are regularly featured in over 100 publications both nationally and internationally. He has appeared on The O'Reilly Factor, and is a regular guest on The Right Balance with Greg Allen on the Accent Radio Network, as well as an occasional guest on numerous radio shows coast to coast. He recently partnered in producing the first-ever symposium on the threat of radical Islamist terrorism in Washington, DC. His pieces have been recognized by the Japan Center for Conflict. He can be contacted at oped@newmediajournal.us. Copyright © 2006 Frank Salvato.

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