Monday, January 31, 2011

An opportunity

Back when I taught writing classes, I had to teach persuasive essays.  My students breezed through the "easy" ones, those that persuade an unaware audience -- just list out your arguments, slap an introduction and a conclusion on it, and you're done.  My students had a lot more trouble when they had to persuade an opposing audience -- when they had to predict the arguments of "the other side" and show how they were wrong and my students were right.

I've got a really big meeting tomorrow.  I'll write about it afterwards.  Right now, I'm slightly queasy.  It's not that I'm not in the right -- I am.  It's not that it isn't worth it -- it is.  It's not that it doesn't need to be done -- it does.  It's that I have to promote a set of recommendations to the very people who ought to have understood the situation long ago, who ought to have fought for it themselves, who ought to have championed the cause.  Instead, collectively and individually, they've denied it's a problem or have by their inactivity allowed the problem to exist and continue or have knowingly chosen to set up roadblocks.

I can understand being unaware of a problem; unless you've encountered it yourself, it's hard to know it exists.  But the people involved are paid to be informed and to address problems.  And I can't understand presenting wrong and even prejudiced information as fact, particularly when you're in a position of authority and, moreover, your position is to help the people you're hurting.  Why would you do it?  What do you get from it?

I know I'm painting with broad strokes here.  I know not everyone or everything is bad; it's not all black and white.  But the end result is.  Do you teach my son what he needs to know, all of it, or do you not?

I've got a chance to make a difference tomorrow.  Please, God, help me.

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