I don't know whether to be prouder of my return to liberal cant or the photo of myself that graces this blog appearing in today's Washington Post, but I thought I would share what I sent the newspaper, whose motto is "if you don't get it, you don't get it."
This is about the county school system ranked fifth in the nation by Money magazine in terms of "bang for the buck;" The "bang" referring to cost efficiency, not to the subtext of the issue at hand. And that issue is the recent kerfluffle in which the school board held off the witch hunters who objected to teaching 8th and 10th graders about sex in a way that deals with actual facts.
Here is the letter:
What's All the Fuss About?
The question of whether schools should present factual material about a subject that the average teenager thinks about every couple of seconds kind of answers itself. To think that the presentation of scientifically solid information about sexual orientation and the use of condoms will turn a straight youth into a homosexual (or modest behavior into debauchery) confers superpowers on mere teachers and belittles our children.
I would ask those who oppose the curriculum changes: "Did you move to, or choose to remain in, Montgomery County because of the housing prices, the traffic congestion or the school system?"
Ira R. Allen
Now, letters to the editor don't just happen. In this case, a friend of mine who led the battle to bring the school curriculum up to date sent out an e-mail to those he knew to be on the right side, saying that the opponents certainly will gin up responses to the Post's public call for letters. How can you say no when frightened that the Forces of Evil Who Shall Not Be Named might terrorize your curriculum?
He knew whom to call on, I say immodestly, because among my few talents in life, writing and getting letters to the editor and op-eds published is a snap. It has to do with writing tersely, pointedly and in a manner that will tickle the social sensibilities of the poor editor who is desperate for something readable to print.
I have been published before in similar formats, but never had I been asked to submit photo of myself. The crown point of the day came when I found a copy of it in the barbershop and subtly, as is my wont, pointed to the photo and asked my Persian barber "Sue" if she could make me handsome like "this guy." For the sizable tip I usually leave, she did just that.
The upshot is that one of the other letters in the paper is from a woman with whom I had lost contact since I was a senior on the high school paper and she a brilliant junior and a nice kid, too. I spent much of the morning Googling her and learned that she is now a world renowned "sex coach" who works with "women, people over 40, fat people, those living with disabilities, and LGBTI - lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people. She is polyamory and BDSM-friendly; supportive of all kinds of loving, consensual relationships and family groups."
Whew! She was a such a nice kid, too!!
And if anybody would like to explain what "intersex" people are, I'd be grateful, just out of curiosity. Meet me at the intersexion of Connecticut Ave. and R St.