Thursday, February 14, 2013

Where My Thoughts on the Politics of the Moment Overflow: Part 1

If you don't like my politics this might be a good post to avoid.  If you scroll down past it, there are lots of cute baby pictures.  But I just need to say this, and hey... it's my blog!

It's actually the tan and red house in the picture
that was listed for 17k...
A couple of nights ago the State of the Union Address came on.  I made it all the way until they announced: "The President of the United States, making his fifth State of the Union address..." and then flipped over to Hulu.  I couldn't take it.  After visiting over half the states this past year and talking to many people along the way, I feel like I have a pretty good idea of the actual state of our union and I wince when I hear people talk about great gains in employment and the economy's "recovery" because I have yet to actually see it in real life.  

At least in a significant way. Here and there I'm sure there are people who are doing better.  And people who are doing worse.  

The house across the street just sold for seventeen thousand dollars.  I'm standing at my kitchen window and I see houses with plywood over windows.  There's another one that have signs that say the house isn't safe for habitation.  There are at least five foreclosures if you walk a block in any direction.  

But that's not really what this post is about.  It's just the starting place for the thoughts that have been swirling around in my head.  

Over the course of the past month I've been watching a disturbing trend in our government.  So many people suggested that Obama's second term would be a massive federal government power grab, but, while I worried a huge amount about what his reelection would mean for the unborn, I worried less about any sort of power grab in other areas since of our government seems rather incapable of getting anything done these past years, or affecting any sort of real change.  At least that's how it feels sometimes.  Obviously there have been notable exceptions, like the HHS mandate, but I'm still hopeful that the courts are going to rule it an illegal law when the time for lawsuits are "ripe" as one judge said.  

This week, our attorney general said that a government isn't violating anyone's rights is they ban homeschooling altogether.  The Department of Justice's argument is this:
"There is no fundamental liberty to homeschool. So long as a government bans homeschooling broadly and equally, there is no violation of your rights. This is a view which gives some acknowledgement to the principle of equal protection but which entirely jettisons the concept of fundamental liberties."
This is in regard to a German family who sought and was granted asylum in the United States since homeschooling is illegal in Germany for all but a few (if you travel constantly you might get away with it).  Attorney General Eric Holder filed to have them shipped right back to Germany with part of their argument being that not every Christian family believes their children must be home schooled.  

This is slightly reminiscent of the whole "but not all Catholic women believe contraception is wrong" so it must be okay for Catholics to pay for it.  Apparently if not every single member of a religious group makes a choice, the choice to freely exercise what they believe is best for their spiritual growth is then invalid and not protected by our right to the free exercise of our religion.

I'm also unclear on what part of the Constitution gives the government the right to declare that banning homeschooling isn't a violation of rights.  Which part of the Constitution tells Mr. Holder that he can force me to send my children to school in a city with a 51% graduation rate (the local news last night talked about how it was so exciting that graduation rates were rising in Michigan and then gave the statistics which were downright depressing).    

So I have the right to what?  Watch half of my children not graduate high school if they fit into the average here?

I remember an anthropology course that I took back in college where we talked about the indoctrination of the young as a way to change any community.  Sure, the professor said, you would fight for what you believed in but your children?  They could be bought off like that.  I think she snapped her fingers when she said it.    

Many parents are turning to homeschooling because they want to avoid any form of political indoctrination that might occur there.  As someone who drank the kool-aid at my Catholic college and self identified as a communist while working for a non-profit in Berkeley I can honestly say that it can be very effective.  

And while I've never been one of those people who says: "If so and so gets elected we're leaving the country" I'll admit that I absolutely am thinking more about where on earth we would go if homeschooling is outlawed here.  I have lived outside the US, so I do have an idea of what that would entail... but I'm clinging to the hope that our courts would smack down any of this nonsense before it gets that far.  

Homeschooling, however, isn't the only thing on my mind of late...

To be continued... because apparently I have so much to say this morning that it won't fit into a single post.


  1. Since education is still technically a Reserved Power, the Federal government shouldn't be able to do a thing about it. That technicality rides on the premise that the Constitution is still a governing document and not something that is paid lip-service too like a doddering fool uncle.

  2. Yeah, but no one much cares about the Constitution anymore. The problem with leaving the country is that most other countries are either very poor or very liberal.

  3. The homeschooling thing is so scary. If you think about it, homeschooling legally is just an exemption to the mandatory school attendance/truancy laws, which are already in effect. I don't think homeschooling will be outlawed however...not without a fight anyway. Homeschoolers are a tough bunch and I can guarantee they won't just roll over and put their kids in school. They will fight for the right.

  4. What government leaders don't realize is that there are many reasons people home school. There are families who homeschool that the government has overlooked.

    The government and many people think that people only homeschool for religious reasons. When there are families who homeschool because they want their kids to get an education that they wouldn't in public schools. Because let's face it public schools are failing, and these families can't afford private schools.

    If the government tries to ban homeschooling people will fight for their rights. Not just homeschooling parents but other Americans who still believe in their rights. There are military families who homeschool mainly because it is easier on them.


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