Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Let the record show that I do not want to beat a dead horse, but I just have to share this true story with you. It happened just today, in my class, during 7th period.
My English Language Arts students are working on a project, putting the finishing touches on things as they prepare to make presentations to the class on Friday. As the period is winding down, a student approaches my desk wearing what seems to be a slight smirk covered in solemnity. He opens his mouth to announce the troubling information he's acquired.
"Did you hear about Sarah Palin?" Okay, now what? Whatever the breaking news, no doubt he's telling me because he knows I would care, and because just a week prior, I've shown the class pictures of her trip to Auburn, NY, including ones I took with her and with her husband, Todd. He's connected.
Okay, I bite. "What about her?"
"Her daughter's pregnant." He pauses. Then as if he knows her, he adds, "Willow." I must admit that for a second, I think, huh? But I know something with this kid has gone terribly awry, so that second is a quick one--a New York one, if you will. "By Alex Rodgriguez," he continues, nodding his head.
I just look at him for a moment before I briefly explain to him all the pieces he's missing. I end with, "So no, she's not pregnant. This was a disgusting joke that David Letterman told. It's been going on for a week, and after people were outraged about it, he finally apologized."
"Oh! he says. I just heard about it on the news." He goes back to his group.
Now, let's examine this. Granted, this is a 7th grader. And granted, because of his talent for zoning out, he can't tell you what I tell him face to face half the time, but when he walks away, I just sit there like, What in the world?!
Isn't his misunderstanding so like what goes on everyday? Isn't it utterly indicative of how things have gone in terms of the press attention Sarah Palin and her family have received since appearing on the national stage less than a year ago? You know what I mean: Somebody hears half of something, tells somebody else half of that, and that person only gets half of what's left. By the time it gets to you, the result is something so false it couldn't resemble truth if it could speak for itself. But it's that final piece that remains real in the minds of the feeble-and most people don't bother to do any research for themselves.
I wonder how many people he would have told his "juicy" piece of news if I hadn't cleared things up. And that's what I feel like I'm doing sometimes as I deal with people about Sarah Palin, as I take it upon myself to clear up some falsehoods out there and set some records straight, as I attempt to live out the name of this blog, Motivation: Truth--because my sole motivation here is the truth. As I've taken on this battle, some days I feel like I'm dealing with a bunch of 7th graders in grown-up bodies who either don't care about truth or are convinced that what they've heard out there is the truth, who smirk--or laugh outright--at a story the media planted in their brains, who can't wait to tell somebody else about it.
Unlike this kid in my class, however, many of the adults I deal with won't believe the truth no matter how many times you correct them. Case in point: There are still some who refuse to believe that Trig is Sarah Palin's son and not her daughter Bristol's. Unbelievable, isn't it? I'm glad my student came to me, which enabled me to correct him, and I'm glad he received the truth rather than insisting on believing a lie. I wish all were as willing to embrace truth...and then take it back to their group.