Last Tango in Loudoun
Regular readers might note that I haven’t, up to now, mentioned the controversy surrounding the inclusion-exclusion-return of a book to the LCPS library system called “And Tango Makes Three.” One of the reasons I haven’t is – the primary reason, in fact – is that I hadn’t actually read the book nor had I heard the entire story of how the book came to be. More details have come to light on the matter, details that call into question the entire notion of the book’s premise, the handling of the situation by the LCPS and the actions of Superintendent Hatrick. Then, of course, there’s “the public.”
Let me deal with them in a more-or-less inverse order. Hatrick ordered the book pulled and then reversed himself. You see, it was initially reported that a parent made the complaint about the book. Then, it was “discovered” that the “parent” was was a teaching assistant at the school and, while she has kids in the LCPS at other schools, her children do not attend the school where she works and with regard to which she filed the complaint. This “discovery” is reported as if she were hiding any of this and as if it’s relevant that none of her children attend that particular school. (Note to the Loudoun Easterner, who published the story I’m using for this post: putting the scare quotes around the word “parent,” as you’ve done in the story, tells us what? The fact that she’s a teaching assistant doesn’t negate her status as a parent of children in Loudoun’s school system, so why the quotes? Unless you’re editorializing in what you purport to be a news item. Nice journalism.)
As I’ve mentioned, the fact that the woman who filed the complaint is a teaching assistant at the school does nothing to advance or detract from the complaint. The fact that her kids don’t attend that particular school is irrelevant. The book is approved for inclusion at all of the LCPS locations, including those attended by her children. And even if it was not, her taxes are paying for the schools, the libraries within those schools, and the books contained within those libraries. So are mine, which means I most certainly have a vested interest in the kinds of books being placed in those libraries regardless of the attendance of my kid at a given location. If the book in question were a compilation of essays by David Duke I don’t think Loudoun citizens would sit still too long over being told their opinions didn’t count because they didn’t have kids in attendance there. Their complaints would be taken quite seriously regardless of that status, and as well they should. They’re the ones paying for the book and the shelf space and their opinions should matter to our elected and appointed officials. That Hatrick’s policy and procedure places taxpaying citizens in a second-class position and dismissed their complaints simply because they don’t have a child attending the school in question is an affront and should be fixed, right now.
The book, apparently, is recognized by everyone in the debate as advancing the notion that same-sex parents (and if you were going to put quotes around “parents” it would be far more appropriate to do it here, considering that there’s no question that 2 people of the same gender are most certainly not the parents of a given child as the term has been historically understood) are to be considered a completely normal situation to have in a student’s home. Students living in such a household are not to be considered “weird” or any other undesirable thing because of that condition in their home. In short, the book advances the idea that gay parents are to be considered by the kids as being completely equal and as proper as hetero parents. The book seeks to equivalize the gay lifestyle of same-sex parents and straight lifestyle of heterosexual parents.
So, tell me: how is the parent’s complaint in this situation not accurate? As reported, her complaint was that the book promoted a gay agenda. Apparently, everyone agrees. The sticking point appears to be that the book is deemed by our academia to be “age appropriate.”
At what age is it appropriate for our taxpayer funded schools to be indoctrinating kids as to a values and morals judgment as opposed to educating them regarding facts, proper language, scientific methodology, and history? And who said it was their call as to what age was appropriate to even bring up the concept of gay-vs-straight lifestyle in the first place, most especially without providing for parental input before they include such topics in the school libraries?
Which brings me to the book. Much has been made that the story is based on a true story, that 2 male penguins in a New York zoo hatched an egg together. The notion of using that event to promote the idea that same-sex parenting is all fine, dandy, and natural conveniently sidesteps the fact that we’re dealing with animals completely unable to make the kind of moral judgments being attributed. It’s a case of anthropomorphizing a million-to-one event, of hijacking a coincidence and bending it to the breaking point to make a political argument to an audience totally unequipped to rationally analyze it. It’s wrapping up an adult conversation in kid’s colors and cartoon stuffed animals and slipping it in front of children under their parents’ radar. And when caught doing it, the response is that the parents are now being blamed for the problem and – this is the best part – being slapped with the “homophobic” label for having the concern at all.
I’d have the same issue if the abortion debate was being tossed about at an elementary school level or if the topic of illegal aliens were being addressed in the 1st grade.
I note, too, that the book appears to carefully trim out the larger context of the actual event upon which the text was based. The 2 male penguins came to the zookeepers’ attention in the first place because of their efforts to hatch a rock. Yeah – a rock. Only when the zookeepers’ stepped in and took an egg laid by another couple of penguins and replaced the rock with it did the male penguins’ efforts actually produce anything. Were it not for their interference in the event, the 2 male penguins would have dedicated time, effort, and energy to a useless exercise. At the zoo, it cost them nothing because food and shelter are provided for them. In the wild, expending that kind of resource pool on a rock would likely have been seriously debilitating, if not fatal. Starting the story at the beginning, with the penguins’ efforts to hatch a rock, and mapping the event over to human analogs paints a much less pleasing picture. What we’re left with is the state placing a baby into the care of a couple whose activities to that point could only be labeled as insane. Think of a couple working diligently to feed, bathe, and care for a plastic doll, fully expecting it to grow up. That’s the couple the “child services” team placed an infant with.
Were those 2 penguins nuts? I don’t think that’s an assessment we can make because our notion of “insane” suggests sentience and those birds aren’t sentient. Again, we’re dealing with animals here. What they did doesn’t provide any relevant input into our very human debate on the merits of the gay lifestyle. And while it’s a fascinating story – the real life story, I mean – it doesn’t provide justification for bringing that debate into our elementary school classrooms, particularly with no ability for the other side of the debate to present its case to the intended audience. I’ve been down this road before and my opinion hasn’t changed. Our school system isn’t where adult-level debate should be presented.
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