Dave Paxton

So let me get this straight. In New York City Mayor Bill diBlasio has established a permanent get out of jail free card for anyone rioting, looting, beating up old ladies or accosting people attempting to eat in open air restaurants.

At the same time, a senior in high school, Maverick Stow, is first suspended, then arrested for attempting to attend his high school in person. It just can’t get weirder than that, unless you’re in the Des Moines Public School system where administrators and the teacher’s union are holding out against state law, the governor and a district court decision that demands the school do at least hybrid learning where kids are in school 50 percent of the time.

Their completely convoluted reasoning, supposedly based on science, says it is too dangerous for faculty to meet face to face with students. Actually, science is telling us that school age children don’t pick up COVID-19 very easily and if they do get it, they don’t suffer serious effects and don’t really spread it that easily.

Of teachers across the nation who have have contracted COVID-19, there is zero proof that they picked it up at school.

The Des Moines Public Schools are acting on either unfounded fear or craven political motives. While administrators go it alone (all other Iowa schools are either doing five-day in person learning or the hybrid 50 percent in person learning), students at the DMPS high schools are being deprived extra-curricular activities. Football games have been cancelled along with other fall sports, band, dance team and the like.

And I’m pretty sure if a senior at Roosevelt or Lincoln were to show up at the high school demanding to go to school, they would likely be arrested.

This is what is so bizarre. Unions representing teachers demand ever increasing salaries and benefits while supporting 100 percent online classes, which could, theoretically, be taught by a handful of educators statewide. If online classes are so great, a new model of education could be established where one math teacher, one English teacher, one history teacher and one science teacher, could produce online learning from their basement and teach every high school kid in the state.

By their refusal to take some minor risks of COVID-19 infection, they are stating that educators are non essential to education. And this, I believe, is completely nuts. The science behind learning will show that students only attain their highest levels of achievement when they are being taught face-to-face by educators they have established personal relationships with.

As Joe Biden would say, “Come on man!” use your head. We’ve already proven from last spring that on-line learning is a colossal disaster. Maybe colleges and universities, particularly those appealing to older, non-traditional students and graduate students, can get along with on-line learning. Students in pre-kindergarten through high school need teachers in classroom settings.

I watched NFL football on Thursday, partly because UNI running back David Johnson is now with the Houston Texans and partly because I was remotely curious about how the networks would handle all the social justice nonsense involved now with professional sports.

It was predictable, although only one Kansas City Chief kneeled and the entire Houston team stayed in the lockerroom, preferring a moment of “unity” following the coin toss.

The most irritating signage is “Say her name” on shirts and “Breona Taylor” on the backs of helmets. How about “Say his name” for black retired police chief David Dorn murdered helping defend a friend’s store from Black Lives Matter looters. Or “Say their names” for the dozens of African American children killed at the hands of black gangs in cities across the nation.

The network also wasted valuable words from Tony Dungee, who was relegated as a black man doing analysis on the social justice aspect of the game as opposed to the game itself.

Here’s the deal. Few if any players on either team, black or white, has any idea of being down for the struggle. These world elite athletes have been coddled since grade school because they were destined to the NFL. I’m not saying they don’t have incredible work ethic to hone their gifts. However, many had tutors shouldering their college academic load, they rarely went back home where some of their not so talented high school teammates are actually on the front lines of racial injustice and now they’re all multi-millionaires playing a child’s game in exchange for riches beyond the imagination of most of the people in the world.

There are a few, mostly players of faith, who give back to the impoverished communities they came from, but most live their lives happily in multi-million dollar homes in gated communities. Their children are living beyond the American dream of the best private and public schools money can buy.

I kept shouting at the TV, “It doesn’t mean a thing!”

What was meaningful, however, was the actual playing of the game, watching black and white players compete as a team, existing together as friends, working for the common goal of winning and consoling each other as the Texans did in a losing effort.

Why any president would sit down with Bob Woodward for an interview for one of his books is beyond me. Since gaining worldwide fame as an investigative reporter during Watergate and the fall of Richard Nixon, he has become the world’s foremost hack and journalistic hit man.

Anyway, the big news from Woodward’s new book “Rage” is President Trump admitting he downplayed COVID-19 in its earliest stages so as not to panic the nation. Democrats have taken that to the idea that Trump lied to the American people and thousands died because of it.

Really. Presidents are paid not to over react and cause mass panic in everything from financial markets to the general populace. Franklin Roosevelt said, “the only thing to fear is fear itself” in the darkest days of the Great Depression. John Kennedy had little kids (myself included) ducking and covering under our school desks in the event of nuclear attack. The very sound of Ronald Reagan’s voice did much to calm a nation in near panic post Jimmy Carter. George W. Bush never blinked in front of a classroom of children when he was delivered the news of the 9-11 attacks on the World Trade Center. And he famously and foolishly landed a plane and announced “mission accomplished” when it really wasn’t.

The presidency is a juggling act and Trump’s job last winter was to keep all the balls in the air. He was reassuring the nation we would get through what ever it was we were facing while shutting down travel from China and Europe, following his science advisors and gearing up production for respirators and PPE.

The Woodward “revelation” is a whole lot of nothing.

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