That lovely library, and looking down the street to Copley Square
Our Boston hotel room overlooked the finish line for the Boston Marathon, and faced the north side of the Boston Public Library. On the north side of the old McKim, Mead and White section of the Library was the following, carved into the limestone of the frieze:
THE COMMONWEALTH REQUIRES THE EDUCATION OF THE PEOPLE AS THE SAFEGUARD OF ORDER AND LIBERTY
I thought about this statement a lot as we watched the Republican convention coverage in the evenings. If I have a bias toward anything, I would say I am avowedly pro-education. Whether in the hands of the state or in private hands, it is my belief that access to a solid, well-rounded education for all citizens will cure most of what ails us as a country. A lifelong love and quest for knowledge, likewise, is what we as parents and as people should expect for our children and ourselves.
So it was with some dismay that I watched the governor of Alaska’s speech on Wednesday: her finger-wagging prettiness will go far in a country where style trumps substance. She, of the six colleges in five years, she, mother of the teen daughter whom she’s goading into early motherhood and shotgun matrimony. Do you think she had education as a topmost concern in her own life, in her daughter’s life? Good God the woman doesn’t even believe in sexual education.
Perhaps this is petty of me. John McCain’s choice of running mate should be seen as what it is: a purely craven choice, a hard-right pander to an ever-shrinking base of religious white folks. And my bias plainly shows, as not everyone has the educational opportunities I have had, or is as knee-jerk a card-carrying liberal as I am. But in this country, and it is one of the things that makes it so great, education is available to anyone who wants it. Education, more than class or gender or race, is any American’s ticket to a better life for themselves and their families. We have the best post-secondary education system in the world, even if we don’t value educating our elementary and high school-aged children as much as we should. And we (still) have LIBRARIES, even if Sarah Palin actually tried to get her own town’s librarian to ban books.
I worry for this country, I do.
Addendum: I love this woman.