Shelly Aldean: A tribute to Dr. Seuss

 

I do not like their “wokish” plan

I won’t be canceled Sam I Am

My stories teach both young and old

Of truthful things both new and bold.

With artful words, I weave my rhymes

To lift up hearts in troubled times.

For generations, children and their parents have enjoyed the wit and wisdom and quirky rhymes of Dr. Suess (otherwise known as Theodor Seuss Geisel). His wonderful world of fanciful creatures and cleverly concealed commentary on the political issues of the day, have made him an institution during story hour at libraries and in the quiet corners of children’s rooms across the globe.

According to author Neil Morgan, Geisel was driven by a desire to be useful to the world. “He sent those wacky warriors he created out to wage the battles of the underdog, with whom he always felt a kinship – the battles against illiteracy, against environmental ruin, against greed, against conformity, against the arms race ….” The story about the Sneetches,” for example, was a clear denunciation of antisemitism and a rejection of social stratification in general.

It is reported, by those who knew him best, that Seuss spent a large portion of his life striving to improve what he perceived to be an inherently flawed world. Described as a man with deeply held convictions, he was rarely reluctant to share his opinions or to castigate bullies and hypocrites. It is, therefore, ironic that the company that is allegedly trying to preserve his legacy has stopped publishing six of his books in an attempt to be more “inclusive.”

How long will it be, I wonder, before other books by Seuss are relegated to some dusty archive because of perceived offenses? Surely Thing One and Thing Two, who are forced to tidy up after the Cat in the Hat, are being shamelessly exploited and need to liberated from their abuser!

I have always wondered what motivates people to seek out the worst in others. Is it to compensate for their own feelings of inadequacy or to make themselves feel superior in the eyes of those around them? With all of the truly significant issues confronting this world, to worry about the caricature of an Asian man using chopsticks because of implied stereotyping, seems trivial at best. Perhaps when President Biden failed to reference Dr. Seuss when proclaiming March 2 (Seuss’ birthday) Read Across America Day, he forgot the image of former First Lady Michelle Obama reading a story by the iconic author to a group of mesmerized elementary school kids.

According to an article by Emily Ekins with the CATO Institute, in a 2017 survey, 71% of Americans believed that political correctness had silenced important discussions our society needed to have. Since I believe that most Americans are sensible, fair-minded and support the value of free speech, it is not surprising that while the majority of those polled agreed that hate speech was morally unacceptable, they opposed hate speech laws.

Given that the definition of “hate” has now metamorphized into anything a person says with which a certain group of supercilious people disagrees, I suspect that percentage is even higher today. It is hard to respect a movement that has paralyzed social discourse to such an extent that the people it purports to protect (those of color) are being demeaned and irreparably harmed.

The latest proclamation by the militant left is that mathematics is now somehow inherently racist. This assertion is supported by a program known as “a pathway to equitable math instruction,” funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. According to Princeton mathematics professor Sergiu Klainerman, there is now an attempt in our educational institutions to “deconstruct” mathematics, “deny its objectivity, accuse it of racial bias, and infuse it with political ideology.” The program promoted by the Gates argues that “white supremacy culture shows up in the classroom when the focus is on getting the ‘right’ answer or when students are required to show their work.”

As Klainerman correctly observes, if mathematicians don’t get the “right” answers, “bridges would collapse, planes would fall from the sky and bank transactions would be impossible.”

Since Egyptians, Babylonians, Greeks, Chinese, Indians and Arabs all played an essential role in the evolution of mathematics, it is insulting and historically inaccurate to imply that people of color don’t have the ability to get the “right” answer.

In the words of Theodor Seuss Geisel, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right!”

Shelly Aldean lives in Carson City.

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