Sunday, March 20, 2005

A Study In Contrasts

The Guru on his days in High School:

As the years pass it becomes ever more difficult to remember the feeling of national patriotism that characterized the inter-war period in America. The high school I attended boasted a battalion of ROTC cadets, plus a marching band. Cadets were in uniform Monday through Thursday, much as that may horrify current academic types. Every school morning we hoisted the colors on the front lawn to the accompaniment of two snare drums and two trumpets. The color guard, which handled the colors, was directed by the cadet battalion commander or his adjutant. At exactly 0800, the colors would sound attention and everyone then within ear-shot was expected to come to a standstill and face the colors, while the two cadet officers executed the saber salute.

-- Lt. Colonel Jeff Cooper, USMC, Retired

In present day California:

Song replaced bell used to signal lunch

"Gandhi beat the British Empire by not eating," Daniel said, so getting his school to broadcast "Slow Ride" was surely attainable. Also, the 17-year-old said, "I have a lot of free time."

He put it to use with a three-page letter that eloquently made the case for "Slow Ride." He launched a petition drive for Proposition Slow Ride and gathered 300 signatures. He secured the band's endorsement. Foghat sent him what drummer Roger Earl calls "Fogstuff" – CDs, autographed photos and the like – and wished him well.

Daniel didn't get any follow-up from Leyba after the meeting, so he and his friends devised messages in their Web design class to be delivered to Leyba daily. The first featured a photo of Daniel and an ultimatum that the principal had 10 days to play Foghat. If Leyba didn't play "Slow Ride," Daniel would go on a hunger strike. It was followed the next day with a photo of Daniel holding up nine fingers.

This is not progress.

Any attempt at coercion, especially the form of moral arm-twisting known as the hunger strike, should be treated as a hostile act.

The minimum correct response for the school administration would have been to say, "go ahead, starve yourself, stupid." Expulsion of the student is a definite option.

The answer to anyone who objects to the proper response is, "we will not accept moral responsibility, nor will we accept punishment for the consequences of what someone has chosen to do to himself."

My lack of God! What a bunch of wimps!

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