Friday, March 26, 2010

Real Americans

I've written about this before, but it's worth repeating, especially when backed up by an eminence gris of the Grey Lady:

"Linda Zhou, Alice Wei Zhao, Lori Ying, Angela Yu-Yun Yeung, Lynnelle Lin Ye, Kevin Young Xu, Benjamin Chang Sun, Jane Yoonhae Suh, Katheryn Cheng Shi, Sunanda Sharma, Sarine Gayaneh Shahmirian, Arjun Ranganath Puranik, Raman Venkat Nelakant, Akhil Mathew, Paul Masih Das, David Chienyun Liu, Elisa Bisi Lin, Yifan Li, Lanair Amaad Lett, Ruoyi Jiang, Otana Agape Jakpor, Peter Danming Hu, Yale Wang Fan, Yuval Yaacov Calev, Levent Alpoge, John Vincenzo Capodilupo and Namrata Anand.

No, sorry, it was not a dinner of the China-India Friendship League. Give up?

O.K. All these kids are American high school students. They were the majority of the 40 finalists in the 2010 Intel Science Talent Search, which, through a national contest, identifies and honors the top math and science high school students in America, based on their solutions to scientific problems. The awards dinner was Tuesday, and, as you can see from the above list, most finalists hailed from immigrant families, largely from Asia."

The dumbing down of America has not happened by accident. It's resulted from an unrelenting effort by Christian conservatives and, by way of cynical vote-pandering to that group, the Republican Party over the past few decades. For the religious right, it's about not having to think about stuff that challenges their beliefs: stuff like science, stuff like the historical record of The United States. For the Party of NO, it's about the Rovian realization that the less educated the public, the more easily peddled are lies. It's about his brainstorm that religious fundamentalism equates, in large measure, with gullibility. It's about his party's satanically disingenuous -- and very successful -- manipulation of those folk.

Thankfully, God has seen to it that we still have immigrants coming to our country: people in whom the American dream remains alive; people born of parents who value education nearly above all else. People with that old-fashion and newly-diminishing ethic of working for a goal. For the U.S., it's a literal life-saver.

Now, I have no problem with the idea of immigration reform, with shutting down (to the extent that it's possible) all illegal immigration. I don't even take issue with limiting access to our tax-paid social network (although I think a little situational compassion is called for, along with the making of distinctions between those who came illegally for illegal purposes, and those who came in desperation and who've been working and doing right.) There was a time when such luminaries as George W and John McPOW were reasonable on the issue: closing borders but stopping short of wholesale deportation, especially of those who've been here a long time, assimilated, paid taxes, pitched in. Unfortunately, such reasonableness has vanished from the Party of NO, who, fueled by the hate-filled teabaggers and their RWS™, seem always to need some new earth to scorch.

My concern is that in our seething xenophobia (well, not "ours." Theirs.) we'll close the doors to such people as those listed above. We need them. And until and unless we reverse the trend of willful self-destruction of our educational system by the same people whose voices are loudest, at the moment, in that Party of NO, and who, if they had their way, would bar the door forever, we'll need them more and more.


  1. “Standardization of our educational systems is apt to stamp out individualism and defeat the very ends of education by leveling the product down rather than up.” - Harvey Cushing

    You make a valid point that immigrants contribute a lot to this country. I'd argue that it has more to do with the work ethic created by the hardships they or their parents have endured rather than a political affiliation. No silver spoons in their mouths and no entitlement attitude. Kind of refreshing....and....American.

    Do you feel the teacher's unions shoulder any blame for allowing apathetic teachers to keep their jobs? What about the breakdown of the nuclear family's effect on education? How about those little hellion's who give the nerdy kids wedgies & wet willies?

    By the way, I don't think I've ever heard a politician of either party recommend "closing the doors" to immigrants. The message is that all are welcome so long as they come here legally and pay some taxes.

    If the government could really shut down the borders and only allow legals in, I think the American people would overwelmingly be for granting some type of amnesty and graduated use of our social programs for those already here.


  2. I don't get it Sid,
    "Dumbing Down of America"???
    Aren't all those Highschool Eggheads Americans???
    I mean, just cause they have Furrin Soundin names doesn't mean there Furry Furriners...heck, Look at our President..."Barak Obama"?(Peace be upon Him)one of these days he'll screw up and drop down on his knees facing Mecca at prayer time...
    and is there ANYTHING you don't blame on Christian Conservatives??? I mean, they don't blame us for killin Jesus, not to our faces anyway...If it wasn't for that Stu-pak-Stab-in-the-back kids with preexisting conditions wouldn't be covered ever, instead of 4 years from now...
    So open YOUR mind Sid, just cause Americans with names like Smith, or Jones, or Bush don't get involved in worthless Science Talent Searches(How many Chang's you see startin in the NBA/NFL/MLB??? Try "0") doesn't mean we're any stupider than when you were a kid doin the Charleston and driving that crazy chopped 32' Ford...
    and let me know how you feel about immigration the next time a Mexican without insurance runs into your Lexus...
    I mean a Canadian without Insurance...
    Seriously, have you ever SEEN a Mexican where you live?? and I don't mean the guy on the Dos Sequis Commercials...
    I think I've said enough,


  3. Not sure about your last statement, PT, since that was what McPOW was saying before he (per usual) changed his position to pander to his "base." Base, all right. But I hope you're right. Do you really think if Obama proposed such a policy (which is pretty much what he'll do, I bet) the Rs would support it? (Or, for that matter, ANYTHING he'd propose about ANYTHING -- other than making war?)

    I completely agree there are many problems with our education system, and many to share the blame. But the deliberate attempts by the religious right and their Republican enablers to change history, to deny facts and to make that the basis of education (hardly the thing Harvey C was championing) is, in my view, a much bigger threat than any of those other factors. And at least that's easily fixable. Families, bad teachers, wedgies: hard to fix completely. Having science texts with science in them? Not that hard. Except in Texas. Or anywhere in the South. Or wherever school boards are dominated by religious conservatives.

    Oh well...

  4. Two words, Frank:

    Yao Ming.

    Is there anything I don't blame on Christian conservatives?....


    I'm thinking...


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