Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Nation mobilizes, her children tread a battlefield

War of terror comes to the classrooms
Click image for a larger view

Somewhere on the Old Chisholm Trail – Set this in war type, Chief. It's wall to wall and tree top tall, coming at you in the present tense - in stereo. 

The Chinese restaurant is located in an old filling station hard by the Santa Fe tracks in a natural stone building that also housed an “emporium,” back in the Victorian day, when merchandise and communications rode the rails, roads were graveled, tires were skinny.

Just downhill, the river with its bare sticks poking a perfectly blue sky darkening for a dramatic crescent moonrise, the weather crystal clear following rains that laid the hazy dust of months of drought.

Blue plate special. Great Wall, hot and spicy Hunan cuisine, Mandarin spoken here. First rate, and the price is right – with mysterious pepper smells wafting on steam-laden puffs of airborne flavor that makes the sweat pop out of an occidental forehead.

The big screen in the corner is always tuned to the kind of talk television that sports facts, figures, business iotas and factoids. In the corner, two elementary age kids fresh from China operate computers, do arithmetic, spell each others' vocabulary lessons.

On this evening, a young family comes in for supper after a long and hectic day, the father wearing a police uniform, the mother carrying one baby on her hip, ushering a little boy and a tow-headed toddler in her wake.

The Chinese kids and the white kids ignore each other, but all is well when the mother sends her little boy to get change and the Asian boy alights from his chair at the table, goes briskly behind the counter, and stands on tiptoes to open the register, pluck the bills out of the drawer, and gives it the old boarding house stretch to count the Federal Reserve notes into the other kid's palm with utter competence, complete commercial savvy.

He is often to be seen checking his work on a calculator with an abacus, peering through enlarged spectacles, making laborious notes with a pencil. His sister draws, doodles, dreams wide awake while reading book after book after book at their special corner table with its gooseneck lamps and orderly placements of school supplies.

Iraqi children receiving backpacks from U.S. Government
As the scribbler awaits his platter of shrimp and pork-fried rice, the toddler suddenly appears at his elbow wearing his brother's back pack, comes to a cadenced halt, and turns to say, proudly, “Ba-pack!”

Yes! Indeed! “Are you going to school?”

He nods.

The young mother hovers, anxious – grinning with embarrassment. Obviously, this two-year-old has the gift of gab, garralous habits – a true handful.

He nods, proudly. So, the scibbler does a quick inspection of its many pockets, zipper compartments and buckles, straps, says, “Oh, I see! In here, you put your books, there is where you computer will be, and where to you put your phone?”

The little one looks quizzical, glances at his mama.

“He thinks he's big enough to go to school!” She gushes, holds out her arms, and he climbs aboard.

As they leave, the scribbler calls out, “Got to take your phone with you in case something goes wrong; you can call Mommie!”

The little one nods, adopts the facial expression of a sage, grins, smooches his mother while she orders for the family at the counter. And then his little mouth forms a perfect circle, he yawns, and puts his head on mommie's shouder, staring with wide-open eyes, guileless.

Just then, the school-age boy strolls by with a cell phone in his hand. He holds it at arm's length, at eye level, making a show of checking its buttons and controls, joins his mother and brother and takes the traditional position just behind his mother's hip, looking back furtively at the scribbler.

“We had a long conversation about all that this morning,” the young mother says. She peals laughter, smiles with a true radiance that says all is right with the world, and welcome aboard, mister.

It's a moment, the kind that comes to a saturnine grandpappy late in life, a little old white-headed man with a fat face riding over an enormous belly and sloping shoulders – a time to shine, to talk to the little ones while he waits for his supper, pressed into service as an impromptu Santa performing the obligatory rite of the display of presents – early presents, this year, in a tide of vicious war.

Sure enough, it's on the internet, a memo from Attorney General Greg Abbott detailing the few school districts in the state's array of thousands, 34 school districts in rural locations that do not have a comprehensive emergency plan to follow in case terrorists attack their campuses. There are contingencies, coordinators, updates, transportation plans, hospital and emergency services routes. It's all very complete. It's all very chilling, but it's all very complete.

Ain't no iguanas - photo by Graciela Iturbide
As it happens, the police officer, the father of this brood, has been busy all day; the schools have been reviewing their plans; the kids have been going through orientation, and the deal hereabouts, done to perfection.

The war of terror is afoot on new territory, the jihad, always present, now aimed at the most vulnerable of all, the target our most precious possessions of all – our children and grandchildren.

The problem? Greed. The end game: greed is good - come home to roost, and the titans fussing about currencies, exchange and interest rates. It's not just coincidental, not by a long shot.

One shudders, chilled by the fact that the people in control, the ones with that all-important quality of wealth so lauded by the mythical big screen movie character Gordon Gecko – “We're talking liquidity, here, bud, real liquidity” – cannot possibly spend it all in their lifetimes, nor in any number of lifetimes.

Here is a sampler of internet sites and topics the mainstream media is not carrying, in case you're not worried enough already.

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