I Love You but You Didn’t Do the Reading

Impeachment, impeachment, impeachment. There were a few other things going on last week that need noticing. Here are a few top stories from around the interwebs:

Ouch. Review of Diane Ravitch’s Slaying Goliath at NYT.

We now have “Slaying Goliath,” in which Ravitch takes a defiant leap over the line separating reasoned case-building from empty sloganeering and ad hominem attacks. The book sets out to chronicle and celebrate the resounding defeat of what people who are not Diane Ravitch refer to as the education reform movement. . . . They are, rather, to be called “the Disrupters” — “masters of chaos, which they inflict on other people’s children, without a twinge of remorse.” . . . even if Ravitch has often been justified in raising alarms, it’s painful to see the absence of nuance she exhibits here.

It’s a big one: SCOTUS heard Espinoza v Montana this week.

Are creationists bored with the giant Kentucky Ark? Attendance drops for two months running, at FA.ark attendance FA

School quality and city maps: How Chicago divides good and bad schools. At Quillette.

Turn north on Larrabee Street and walk seven blocks to Lincoln Elementary, one of the crown jewels of Chicago Public Schools. Lincoln gets a “1+” rating from the district, the highest possible rating. And the school encompasses the prestigious French-American School of Chicago, officially recognized by the French Ministry of Education and open only to students of Lincoln Elementary. Start once again at Larrabee and North. Turn south this time, and walk five blocks to Manierre Elementary, which receives a “3” rating from the district, the lowest possible rating. Manierre doesn’t just lag Lincoln. Manierre, by any objective standard, is a failing school.

How did fancy Democrats lose the confidence of the white working class? At NR.

Now those of us with postgraduate degrees and who are in the elite of the Democratic Party live in our own Versailles, and we don’t know any working-class people either—except perhaps the name of a barista at Starbucks or the woman who comes by at night to clean the office. . . . For this group, there is only one way to do it: Imitate us, the people who are the helicopter parents, whose parents were professionals, whose presidential candidates are Rhodes scholars or presidents of the Harvard Law Review. Can college for all solve the problems of this country? Well, it worked for us. Even some of the social Darwinians were subtler in rubbing it in. . . .

In the last election, it was such political genius for Trump to say: “I love the poorly educated.” Had Hillary Clinton or even Bernie Sanders been capable of saying that, they’d be on their way now to a second term. And it was also genius for Trump to make a point of pumping up his own moral squalor. It’s as if he wanted working people to know that at last they could vote for a president who was incapable of looking down on them.

Impeachment drama got you down? Check out this story from my local paper—GOP voters cheer their Dem Rep who voted for impeachment.

Hope for Us All

Impeachment drama got you down? Then check out this story from my local paper. The tenor of our national debate may have grown sour, but people still endorse basic decency and decorum.

brindisi town hall

Anthony Brindisi: How to disagree in the Trump era.

Here’s what we know: My US Representative, Anthony Brindisi, held a town-hall meeting last night. Much of the goings-on were predictably humdrum. He posed for pix with a group of Girl Scouts; he talked about keeping the local AA baseball team in town.

At one point, though, an audience member grew belligerent. Brindisi, a Democrat in a heavily Republican district, had voted for Trump’s impeachment. The woman insisted that Brindisi had promised her he’d vote against impeachment. She grew increasingly hostile as other members of the audience and Rep. Brindisi tried to calm her.

Woman: You lied to us. I want an answer.

[hubbub in audience…]

Brindisi: I never said that. What I said was…

Woman (interrupting): You said you were…

Voices from audience: LET HIM FINISH!

Woman: …I have it on my phone. I would like to know an answer to that.

Brindisi: ..what I said…

Woman (interrupting): You represent US.

Brindisi: …what I said was I was waiting for all the evidence to come out before making a decision. And I did make a decision and I’m sorry we disagree.

LOUD APPLAUSE

Eventually, the woman was asked to leave by a sheriff’s deputy. My hunch is that plenty of my neighbors agree with her about impeachment. Trump has a lot of support around here.

However, my neighbors don’t approve of her in-your-face style. She didn’t come to listen. She came to shout. The audience preferred Brindisi, with whom many of them disagreed, to the woman, with whom many of them agreed. Not for their stance on the issues, but for Brindisi’s obvious regard for basic politeness and civil tone.

Seems like some pretty basic political virtues are still being practiced:

  1. Cheer for the home team, even when things look bleak;
  2. Love your neighbors;
  3. Be polite, ESPECIALLY when you disagree strongly.