Our Republican Substitute Teacher

Posted: Jun 18, 2004 12:00 AM

I?ll never forget the day that Mr. Wright came to teach our kindergarten class while Ms. Simpleton was out having surgery. The day before she left for the hospital she was teaching us how President Bush was giving tax cuts to the rich instead of ordinary Americans. That was during our math lesson.

When Mr. Wright came to our class, he taught us about taxes by using Oreo cookies. We had used Oreo cookies in class once before when Mrs. Simpleton was talking about Clarence Thomas. She said he was black on the outside and white on the inside. I didn?t really understand that. My mom told me it was a crude joke and not to repeat it.

But here?s how Mr. Wright used the cookies in our class:

?Okay kids, the first thing you have to understand about taxes is that rich people pay more taxes than anyone else in America. They also pay a greater percentage of their income in taxes than anyone else in America. So, let?s say that a rich person pays five cookies to the government in taxes, a middle class person pays one cookie, and a poor person pays half a cookie. When it comes time to cut taxes, would it make sense for everyone to get back a whole cookie??

That?s when Johnnie raised his hand and said, ?No.?

?That?s right, Johnnie,? said Mr. Wright. ?The poor person doesn?t deserve a whole cookie because he never paid a whole cookie in taxes in the first place. And the middle class person wouldn?t be paying any taxes at all if he got back a whole cookie. So class, remember, Mrs. Simpleton doesn?t really want a fair tax system. She just wants to reap the rewards of government programs and services without having to pay for them.?

Then Johnnie raised his hand again and asked, ?Are you a Republican, Mr. Wright??

Mr. Wright wouldn?t answer that question. Instead, he told us a story that he once heard, which he said could be used to teach anyone to distinguish between a Democrat and a Republican within minutes of making their acquaintance. It went something like this:

?A woman in a hot air balloon realized she was lost. She lowered her altitude and spotted a man in a boat below. She shouted to him, ?Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago, but I don?t know where I am.? The man consulted his portable GPS and replied, ?You?re in a hot air balloon approximately 30 feet above a ground elevation of 2346 feet above sea level. You are at 31 degrees, 14.97 minutes north latitude and 100 degrees, 49.09 minutes west longitude.?

She rolled her eyes and said, ?You must be a Republican.?

?I am,? replied the man. ?How did you know??

?Well,? answered the balloonist, ?everything you have told me is technically correct, but I have no idea what to do with your information, and I?m still lost. Frankly, you?ve not been much help to me.?

The man smiled and said, ?You must be a Democrat.?

?I am,? replied the balloonist. ?How did you know??

?Well,? said the man, ?you don?t know where you are or where you are going. You?ve risen to where you are due to a large quantity of hot air. You made a promise that you have no idea how to keep, and you expect me to solve your problem. You?re in exactly the same position you were in before we met but, somehow, it?s my fault.??

We learned a lot from Mr. Wright that day. Before we went home, Mr. Wright said that he was going to come back the next day and teach us about school vouchers. But for some reason we never had Mr. Wright as a substitute teacher again. And Mrs. Simpleton stopped buying us Oreo cookies.

Mike S. Adams (www.DrAdams.org) is a professor at UNC-Wilmington. He is author of the new book, ?Welcome to the Ivory Tower of Babel.?