Late last month, Teachers of the Year representing the states of the union gathered in the nation’s capital to be recognized for their outstanding achievement. While waiting for the arrival of President Bush into the Rose Garden off of the West Wing of the White House to receive their award, a door swung open, sending the Secret Service into a flurry of activity, questioning who had opened the door.
“The dog ate my homework,” blurted out from a door opening to the garden where the teachers were waiting.
Who would sling such a remark at Americans’ whose lives are dedicated to service? The answer: Karl Rove, the maestro of political strategy for the Bush Administration. What’s more, he even had the audacity to follow his disrespectful comment with a snicker of laughter as he slid from the doorway and went about his daily goings-on. Perhaps even more unsettling was that he offered no other acknowledgement, uttered no other words to the teachers.
Frat boy humor? Hee-hee-ha-ha.
It just isn’t funny.
How is it that a man in such a position is able to say such things without rebuke? Why would Mr. Rove find humor in saying this classic excuse for not doing your homework while teachers, guests of the President of the United States of America, are patiently waiting for the President to bestow upon them an honor they earned? Or, perhaps the better question is: How? How does Karl Rove decide that that is what he is going to say when he opens the door to a garden where some of the best teachers of the country are standing?
He could have opened the door and said: “Congratulations!” Simple. Easy. Recognize the group’s presence.
He could have said: “Thank you for the service you provide our country every day.” Nice. Heartfelt.
Or, “Welcome to the White House.” Friendly.
But, no, Karl Rove decided that the best thing to say to Americans’ who have dedicated their life’s work to educating the children of the country he gets to live freely in by saying, “The dog ate my homework.”
Who is Karl Rove? And if he is able to insult our nation’s teachers, who else is he capable of showing clear and obvious disrespect towards?
Of course, we know the answer if we look around the proverbial nation’s house over the past half decade or so. And maybe that’s it. Maybe the dog did eat Karl Rove’s homework.
Maybe Mr. Rove didn’t do his homework when planning the strategy on Iraq, and the recent district attorneys firings, among numerous other debacles over the past eight years. Maybe he didn’t do the math correctly when he calculated how long the Iraq war would last, how many Iraqi and American lives would be lost.
Maybe he didn’t check his English grammar book to see that when you say “Mission Accomplished,” the “ed” on the end the verb means that the action took place in the past, meaning in this case, that the Mission’s goals had been completed (or not).
Maybe he didn’t do his homework on the broke No Child Left Behind program, or better yet, he could have asked the Teachers of the Year gathered in the Rose Garden for their professional opinion of the Administration’s education policy. He might have learned something from those working in the trenches of today’s classrooms.
What Mr. Rove said to our nation’s teachers in the Rose Garden during their day of honor is inexcusable. He should publicly apologize to them for his unkind words. To not do so would make apparent that this Administration will not stop at disrespecting anyone, not even our nation’s teachers. Like a bully in the schoolyard, this Administration continues to do as it wants, and says as it wants.
JAMES MURREN is a freelance writer living in Hanover, PA. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org