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Michiana Chronicles writers bring portraits of our life and times to the 88.1 WVPE airwaves every Friday at 7:45 am during Morning Edition and over the noon hour at 12:30 pm during Here and Now. Michiana Chronicles was first broadcast in October 2001. Contact the writers through their individual e-mails and thanks for listening!

Michiana Chronicles: Eye on Education

A late friend of Sid's from college taken around 1973. Fred was putting oil in his 1966 grey Chevy station wagon at the time.
Sid Shroyer
A late friend of Sid's from college taken around 1973. Fred was putting oil in his 1966 grey Chevy station wagon at the time.

Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan has provided the folks over at College Board with a last-minute prompt for this year’s Open Argument portion of the AP Language exam. It would be one in which he says the fact that the facts in the case aren’t facts don’t change the facts in the case. It’s an opportunity for students to show what they know about all three kinds of irony.

After he voted against bipartisan legislation designed to stop illegal immigration, our own Indiana Second District Congressman Rudy Yakym of Granger sent me a survey wanting to know if I agree with his vote to impeach the Homeland Security Secretary for not doing enough to stop illegal immigration. It seems to me like the honorable Mr. Yakym should have asked me beforehand. “Otherwise,” I replied, “what’s the point?”

In another case of closing the barn door after the horses get out, the St. Joseph County Board of Commissioners last week appointed someone from New Carlisle to something called the St. Joseph County Redevelopment Authority that was created to grease the skids for the giant battery factory taking over New Carlisle area water and farmland. We’ll see how long retired mailman Dan Caruso lasts. The South Bend Tribune reported that “He told commissioners he was against the way the issues were being decided without input from the community that will most be affected by the development.”

I’m struck by the idea that adding representation after the matter is settled is like my representative asking my opinion on a vote after the vote.

I’m wondering, too, about whether my soon heading back into the classroom to speak about the Holocaust will put the people who invite me at risk. It’s good to begin with something with which American students are already familiar so I’ll start with racism and connect the Holocaust to the racist ideology that led to what really was genocide. Did you know that Iowa born, Princeton Doctor of Science Harry Laughlin was honored at Germany’s Heidelberg University in 1936 for work in the United States that served as a model for the 1935 Nuremberg Laws that removed Jews from German society? Did you know that Joseph Mengele’s Auschwitz experiments on twins like Terre Haute’s late Eva Kor began in 1937 in a Frankfurt eugenics lab that was funded by the Rockefeller Foundation? The shift from talking about “them” to talking about “us” is where I perceive there might be a problem now. One man’s connecting inhumanity to humans is another man’s blaming America for the Holocaust.

Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita has an online Indiana government site called “Eyes on Education” should you want to report me. Once there, you’ll find there’s nothing on the “Education Transparency Form” where you go to name names about having had a kid in the class I’m addressing or about having read the material you question.

While the website says students should be shielded from political ideology of both the left and the right all 32 complaints on Rokita’s tally page come from the right. No one there is objecting to objections to Obamacare.

Typical are New Prairie’s “Gender Support Plan,” and Penn Harris Madison’s “diversity activities.”

Allow me to stop and breathe here for a moment. The word “diversity” now goes before “activity.” That’s where “un-American” used to go back when I was a kid. It was “un-American” activity back when the House un-American Activities Committee was taking names and blacklisting writers and educators in the 1950s and 60s. Recognizing the perspective of a culture other than that approved by the state is bordering now on the criminal. It’s “diversity activites” in the box for the school district that includes our congressman’s hometown on state attorney general Todd Rokita’s web page.

Maybe I’m overreatcting to this, but along with a class on the Holocaust I also taught Orwell’s 1984 a few times and I’m sensitive to the notion that an authoritarian system might want to limit thought.

Music: "One Mans Ceiling Is Another Mans Floor" by Paul Simon

Sid Shroyer is a contributor to Michiana Chronicles and was a co-creator of The Wild Rose Moon Radio Hour, heard monthly on WVPE. He became a part-time announcer at WVPE in 2001 and has just recently retired from hosting of All Things Considered.