Middle and High School math classes caused angst in many students with the question, “What is X?” The transition from numbers to letters and symbols was a leap into the unknown. It baffled and confused many. I was one of the fortunate ones who grasped algebra, geometry and trigonometry with ease. But there is another X that puzzles me and it is not higher mathematics.
Society faces another struggle with the unknown. Sadly, it is people that are source of the problem. Xenophobia in America and around the world is one of the causes of widespread strife and violence. Xenophobia is the deep-rooted hatred towards others. Sometimes there is a historical basis for fear. Often, a false rationality is created that directs a society’s focus on another group as the cause of a problem. Children imitate parental and adult behavior without any real understanding of the issues. On an individual basis we recognize people with phobic problems and attempt to treat them or find ways to change their behavior.
On a larger scale xenophobia is not easily treated. Propaganda and political machines enhance small fears and concerns and creates a shift of societal behavior that is beyond rationale comprehension. Psychologists inform us that we fear the unknown; all of us fear something, it is universal. But when that fear overrides rationality in a group then we have reason for great concern.
We can send one individual to therapy but what can we do with a large group? In the United States the political schism is fostering widespread xenophobic reactions. The absurdity of xenophobic behavior is compounded when the solutions for complex problems are reduced to a single simple solution. Immigration concerns result in deportations and the call for tighter regulations. Build a wall or have armed personnel stationed at the borders are voices that clamor for recognition. Profiling of travelers is the norm; the need for government issued identification is promoted as a means of preventing non-citizens from voting (a cure without a proven problem).
Government spending is out of control, we need to cutout waste. Both statements sound logical. That is until the solution is to eliminate funding for public television will somehow magically reduce the national deficit. The stated implication is that Big Bird is wasting our money. Big Bird is yellow, he is a bird and we know want birds do. And while we are cutting out waste let’s not educate or provide health care to children who were brought here from other countries by their parents in attempt to secure a better life. I wonder if my grandparents had the right papers. I know one of my mother’s uncles deserted a foreign army to create a better life in America; today he might be classified as a criminal fleeing justice and would be in danger of being sent back. People without the right papers better not get sick in several states.
Big Bird has helped many children learn their ABCs and basic concepts of size, similarities and values. Oh, but Big Bird is spending public money when you could send your child to a private school (with vouchers from the government) to get an education is the logic countered. Let the states do it is another suggested solution. My state ranks very low in providing services to the poor and underprivileged and I doubt it would do much, if anything. We could send our children to pre-K school to learn basic ideas but that program might be cut if “they” eliminate the Department of Education or the Head Start Program, as is proposed by some.
What I want to know is how one of the Presidential candidates would explain killing off Big Bird to his grandchildren?
“How? Why?” Would be questions they would ask and he would be hard pressed to answer to his grandchildren. Or perhaps the 1% doesn’t watch Big Bird.
Would he tell the children he would release Big Bird to a former Vice-President’s ranch to live out his life in peace or until some PAC hunter could zero in on him? I guess it is open season on Big Bird.
When he stated during the debate that he liked Big Bird did he mean how Big Bird might taste at his family’s Thanksgiving dinner? I’d like to ask that candidate, “What giant bird recipes do you have for Thanksgiving? Does it go with red or white wine?”
But I guess you wouldn't have any recipes because you really don't like Big Bird and one the 47%ers might be cooking dinner. But never forget that Big Bird is different than you.
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