Bully on the playground

Today Palmer and I were talking about a song their teacher plays for them sometimes in class, an uber-patriotic version of the Pledge of Allegiance set to a rock ballad tune. This is one of the songs the kids performed at the musical on Tuesday morning, and I was pretty surprised by the way the kids and the audience reacted to this song. Several of the children were tearing up, and so were some of the parents. The kids did sign language to the song, while this video was projected on the screen. So today I asked Palmer how often the teacher plays this version for them, and he said not too often. Then he asked me what the line meant, about people dying for their country. So we talked about soldiers and wars, and I told him about his uncle, my brother Erik, being in the Navy for a while. He asked if Erik was in a war, and I said no, that there was no war when he was on active duty. So Palmer asked if there was a war going on right now. And I told him yes. I told him right now the United States was waging war in three countries.

Palmer was really, really surprised. And I could see why. Walking down the streets here in Moraga, California, where everything is really peaceful and prosperous, it is inconceivable that each of our citizens is actually engaged in a war, in as much as we all pay taxes and those taxes support the military. So he asked if the United States was winning, and I said that we had the biggest and best military in the world. It went downhill from there.

Comments

Jon said…
Maybe Palmer will be the one to find a better way.
William said…
Add "war" to the list of things that are awkward to talk about, which include religion and politics. Come to think about it, any discussion about "war" usually includes religion and politics. How awkward is that?
Valdimar said…
I started out expecting one of those stories about how kids behave.The title, the discussion of military might and the ambiguity of "it went downhill from there".
Artful.

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