Thursday, April 4, 2013

America, you Beautiful Bastard!

I love America.  I love the freedoms that we have and the unlimited refills on soda and the super wide lanes on the highways (If you've driven in any other country you know what I'm talking about.)  But I have to say, that as great a Nation as we are, we do like to get in the way of our own progress.  Before you quit reading this page, this isn't going to be a huge rant, so just relax!

But I will say I was greatly disappointed in this story about a Georgia Highschool in Wilcox County that still has segregated proms for Blacks and Whites.  A practice, ironically, which started the school became integrated.  You might think, "oh, that's just some policy nobody listens to anymore that just hasn't been erased from Georgia's rulebooks yet."  And that would be plausible, considering how deeply engrained racisim has been in the Jim Crow South.  But tell that to the biracial student who, when trying to go to the "White" prom last year was turned away by the cops!   Now, as the story states, some students are trying to fund an integrated prom.  Maybe it's my own naivete, but i'm shocked when I hear such overt racist practices can exist in this country....but then, I still get jokes about curry directed at me all the time too, so maybe I shouldn't be so shocked....

Now let's compare that to some other other countries.  Like India, where their top court recently rejected Norvartis AG's patent on a cancer drug, citing that the company made only minor changes to an existing drug, therefore they were not allowed to patent the medication, thereby making it inaccessible to the majority of the poor people it was currently helping.  Sure, I recognize the arguments that if a company can't patent, and therefore charge a crap ton and make an exhorbant amount of money on any new wonder drug (now in Blue!!), there may be less motivation to innovate and fund new drug research.  I'm not so foolish to think that private enterprise can exist without making money, but let's be real here.  The company has existing patents on the drug in like 40 other countries, so they're not hurting here.  I think there needs to be at least some level of corporate social responsibility!  I wrote my honors thesis on that in college, but to be fair, I got a C, so what do I know.

But my favorite country is quickly becoming Norway, who's education system is leap years above the rest of the world.  Norwegian students have high graduation rates, post grad degrees, and better overall quality of education than most of the civilized world.  And what's more?  They are not stuck in some stodgy environment where whatever was good for them, is good for every new student entering the school system.  Case in point, listen to this headline:  "In anticipation of the chaos that will likely ensue when Justin Bieber returns to Norway later this month, several schools in the country have preemptively rescheduled midterm exams citing fears that students will cut class and miss the test."

Taste in music aside, that's pretty awesome.  Recognizing that children may not have the necessary focus to take an important exam, the schools are being flexible so that the needs of those students can best be served.  And isn't that the most important thing?  To make sure that their students have the best opportunities possible and best chance to succeed?  Isn't an easy compromise on the timing of an exam better than exerting a show of power that school is in charge and the students are mere fodder until they graduate?  There's a lesson in there!

HA HA HA I tricked you!! It WAS a huge rant!

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