Once again this little piece of disturbia comes to us courtesy of EM. Nothing to do with art this time. Though, honestly people. I don't think you all are appreciating the piercing insight of my interpretation! You call me Freudian? Me? When clearly it is her who is struggling under the weight of Freud's leering, subliminal misogyny! Pfft. It's not like I'm the one who drew the giant squiggly sperm, and the sad brown uterus now, is it? This is not Rorschach! I assure you my psychology has nothing to do with it!
Norway--in case you weren't aware--is gearing up for its national elections in just a few day's time. I will not bore you with the particulars. Most of you don't live here, don't care, and thus, don't particularly pertain. And those of you who do...well, I'm sure you've already formed your own learned opinions. Far more learned than mine, in fact, since, as a non-citizen, I'm ineligiable to vote, and therefore, incapable of processing enough of the political narrative to interpret and describe it here. Also--I'm lazy, and the whole multi-party coalition/parlimentary thing baffles me a little.
There. I've said it. For the most part, I just don't get it. Plus, it turns out that the one party with whom I am most ideologically opposed (as all decent, rationally minded liberals should be) is the one party that speaks any sense at all when it comes to a plan for correcting the sorry state of education in this country. It seems that FrP (the fuckers) know what it takes to actually educate a child, as opposed to merely socializing one. Once I figured that out, frankly, I didn't have the stomach to investigate further.
Wait. Why did I even start down this road?
Oh yeah, EM.
This afternoon we were at the kitchen table talking about this and that--dinner wishes, homework left to be done, plans for the weekend, that sort of thing.
"So," said I, "We'll have time to finish up this spelling chapter next Monday since you'll be off school, and we'll have extra time for English that day."
"What?" says she, "What do you mean off school?"
"The schools are closed for the election. You know that."
"The election, EM. Norway's nation elections."
"Does that mean Kong Harald won't be king anymore?"
Surely she jests. And yet, she seems serious enough. "No! I mean...obviously...just....No!"
"Mmm. What does it mean then?"
"You know what an election is. Don't you?" I'm not asking, so much as pleading.
"It's when you get new presidents and stuff."
"Right. Or in Norway's case prime ministers. Do you know who Norway's prime minister is?"
"Ummmm. Kong.....no. Ummmmm......no."
Wondering if she's been paying any attention to anybody for the past year especially, I ask tentatively, "Do you know who America's president is?"
"And what does congress do?"
"Make laws!" Phew, that's my job done.
"So have you ever heard of a parliment? Or the Storting?"
Anyone else disturbed by this? I mean, here she is in the 4th grade. The whole country is in the throes of a nationwide, political debate leading up to national elections next Monday, and she knows NOTHING about how her government works. NOTHING. It would seem her teachers have used ZERO class time to use this opportunity to discuss civic awareness. ZERO.
Do I expect too much? I swear I knew the basic structure of my government by the time I was in the 4th grade. Executive, legislative, judiciary. President, senator, congresscritter. Surely I knew that much by then. Didn't I? At the very least I could tell you the name of the president. I mentioned "Jens Stoltenberg" to her, and she looked at me like I was spinning sticky webs of misdirection and subterfuge....again.....
Democracy. Republic. Periodic popular elections. Sounds like a pretty decent afternoon lesson to me, but apparently not. Much too much like real learning. Although, I can't help but think, that if Americans find the President speaking directly to their children so damn scary, they'd really be better off following the Norwegian model. Presiwhat?