The adventures of Phil and Mike

Phil and I have lunch out in town once a week or so. We decided that talking about good lunches we have experienced was almost as enjoyable as the lunches themselves.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A dear friend of mine, Professor Joe Eitel of Folsom Lake College, has been branded with the scarlet R and dragged to the scaffolds for public flogging with a news media.

Professor Joe is the kindest and gentlest man one could ever meet, a mentor to the less fortunate and a benefactor to the arts. Professor Joe is a man who abandoned a lucrative Silicon Valley career to teach mathematics in the California junior college system. The only complaints to be heard are that Professor Joe is not a pushover. Some students go into a tiff when they cannot bully their way to a passing grade, because … well often they can get away with it. Joe however sets the standard, and toes that line. Recently an Afghani interpreter imported into the US enrolled in one of Joe’s math courses. Unhappy with his failing grade, the student proceeded to make lots of fuss, and when he could not bully Professor Joe, the student threatened to douse himself with gasoline and set himself ablaze. This being California and what not, Joe did the right thing and report the threat to his supervisor.

Now we have an upright citizen, who is not a pushover but instead holds to an academic standard, and for his crimes, he has been labeled a heinous and evil critter, flogged and hanged outside the city gates for the ravens to pick over.

Has anyone considered the Pandora’s box we have opened? For what reason do we resume witch hunts and inquisitions? We must have forgotten our sordid past, we must not realize that words have meaning, and accusations doubly so. With what scarlet label shall we pin onto the breast of such an inconsiderate society? Perhaps a “B” for BLIND, because we have blinded ourselves to the hurt we cause when we chip at one of the pillars of our society, or is it a “C” because we have devolved into a pack of CONCEITED brats selfishly feeding on the kindness of our betters. I think we deserve a “U” for UNWORTHY, because we are unworthy of the time and attention of a great man like Joe. We are unworthy of the love we have received from such a perfect soul.

I try to build the image in my mind that we are a beautiful society. But I never get half-way completed before my vision is shattered as once again our pet inquisitors have stabbed an honest person through the heart.

Have we no restraint? Have we no love for the kind, the gentle, the good amongst us? Can we slam the door on our inquisitions and witch hunts? Today it is fashionable to denigrate the Taliban, when in our past we possess many periods when our own Talibans terrorize our own lands. The Talibans in our past carry the guilt of heinous crimes against humanity. The Talibans in our past are guilty of tortures, beheadings and even more horrendous endings too gruesome to be named.

Every common scoundrel is immune to the most vicious of labels, because scoundrels do not love our society, scoundrels don’t have hearts to break. We owe a great apology to Professor Joe. A millennium of penance cannot repair the broken heart of a kind and gentle man. We remain unworthy of his love and dedication, unworthy of the gifts he has bestowed upon us. For this I am truly ashamed.


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