Thursday, April 12, 2007

My Daughter, My Hero

toy knightMy oldest daughter, Violin Girl, has been facing a bit of social injustice lately. She's being teased at school for being a good person. You see, she's been sticking up for the underdogs in her 6th grade class. The "popular kids" don't like being called on the carpet for being mean, so to prove their point, they've started being mean to Violin Girl.

Here's one example. The other day Violin Girl was standing in line, waiting to get her lunch. One of her friends, Miss Popular, was standing with her. Another girl, Miss Ostracized, was standing in front of them. The line got jostled by boy in her class, a brute I'll call Sick-Bully, and Ostracized gets shoved backwards into Popular.

To hear my daughter tell it, Popular stepped backwards, made a face like she'd tasted something really vile, and started saying, "Ooh, ooh! Ick! Get away from me!"

Violin Girl took Popular aside and said, "That's not cool."

"What's not cool?" Popular replied.

"Acting like that. Teasing Ostracized like that." Violin Girl said.

"But she's gross!" Popular defended. "She's got cooties."

"No she's not, and no she doesn't." Violin Girl persisted.

"Yeah, but she stinks." Popular said.

"Look. Everybody stinks." Violin Girl said.

"No they don't."

"Yeah, they do."

This last bit made Miss Popular very upset. She actually started to cry because Violin Girl wasn't backing her up on being mean to Ostracized. It got Violin Girl in trouble. Not much trouble, once it was explained, but still in trouble.

Now the other kids are being mean to Violin Girl, as well. Sick-Bully has been to worst of all. At 12 years old he's actually been making sexually explicit comments, designed to embarrass and hurt my daughter. We've talked to her teacher, and she's done what she can to minimize the damage, but it's still happening. Violin Girl is being attacked because she defends those who can't, or won't, defend themselves. All of this has really put Violin Girl into an emotional tail spin. She's only 12 years old, after all.

The bullies think she's weird. She frightens them because she's her own person, and not a mindless plebe. Because she frightens them, they make her a target for their scorn and bigotry in order to try and make her afraid. They want her to comply with their vile version of "the group" and stay down in the depths of mediocrity where they are, instead of rising above the rabble and reaching for greatness of spirit.

I have a very different view of Violin Girl. I think she's absolutely courageous. I think she's a hero.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Congressional Criminals

I'm having a rough time getting excited about anything going on in Washington D.C. these days. I'm just fed up with all of the political maneuvering, name calling, and revisions to recent history by the pundits. It's getting so bad, I'm starting to shut down emotionally and intellectually.

The Republican and Democratic Party leaders seem to be at each other's throats more than they are trying to improve the lot of our country. They're after the sound bite that makes them seem more holy and just than their counterparts, rather than actually getting anything important done.

It's not "government for the people." It's "government for politicians."

Congress is the worst offender, in my opinion. We've got people that were elected to represent the populations of their states trying to be "arm-chair" generals. They've wasted valuable time (and money) passing meaningless resolutions that will not make a bit of difference when dealing with the war in Iraq, instead of working on important issues like the economy, health care, and the environment. By focusing on Iraq, they allow stupid laws to get passed that may actually hurt us. Nancy Pelosi keeps acting like she thinks she's the President of the country, instead of the Speaker of the House.

Now they've got the Senate doing it, too. It's like every house of government has decided to quit their jobs and enter into a giant pissing match.

One of the latest fiascos is passing bills that tell our enemies when we're leaving Iraq, whether the job has been done or not, and then telling the President, "If you veto this bill, we'll cut funding for the troops. It will be your fault that the troops don't get the resources they need." That's like a criminal pulling a gun on you and saying "give me your money, or I'll shoot you. It'll be your fault if I have to pull this trigger."

It reminds me of a situation during the revolutionary war. Congress wouldn't send the funds and resources to General Washington that he needed, so he threatened to march on Congress.

How would that be today? A military coup occurring in the middle of the U.S. and placing it under martial law until our representatives pull their heads from their nether regions. Of course I don't like the idea, and I don't think it will happen, but the situation the troops were facing then is similar the threat they are facing now. They are being asked to do a job, and are now being threatened that they won't get the tools to do the job.

I feel like I'm back in elementary school. Our representatives are acting like children, not leaders.