Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Asylum? What the Hell?

On Jan. 26, the Roemeike family of Germany was granted Asylum in the USA.

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Seems strange, since Germany is a democratic, free country and is considered an ally. I guess the Roemeikes must have been some sort political dissidents, or maybe adherents to some strange cult that is banned in Germany.

Um, no.

They're home-schoolers.

Home-schoolers. Given asylum in the U.S. Asylum to avoid being persecuted for home-schooling.

This can't be right.


Well, according to TIME Magazine:

The Romeikes are not your typical asylum seekers. They did not come to the U.S. to flee war or despotism in their native land. No, these music teachers left Germany because they didn't like what their children were learning in public school - and because homeschooling is illegal there.

I guess Germany still holds to that antiquated notion that children are entitled to a decent education.


"It's our fundamental right to decide how we want to teach our children," says Uwe Romeike, an Evangelical Christian and a concert pianist. . . Romeike decided to uproot his family in 2008 after he and his wife had accrued about $10,000 in fines for homeschooling their three oldest children and police had turned up at their doorstep and escorted them to school. "My kids were crying, but nobody seemed to care," Romeike says of the incident.

So, that's fine. If you don't like the laws in your native land, you're certainly entitled to go to the nearest US Embassy and fill out an application to come here and wait your turn along with the other would-be emigres. But how do you get bumped to the front of the line with a ridiculous asylum plea?

Romeike's wife Hannelore tells TIME the family was contacted by the Virginia-based Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), which suggested they go to the U.S. and settle in Morristown, Tenn.

Wow. Some kooky group of anti-normal-society religious fanatics puts in a good word for you and you get granted asylum?

Hey, I don't like the law that says I can't smoke pot! Can I get asylum in Amsterdam?

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

"Adults are just obsolete children and the hell with them."
Dr. Seuss

Theodore Geisel may have passed away in 1991, but Dr. Seuss lives forever.

Today would have been the 106th birthday of Theodore Seuss Geisel, perhaps our most under-appreciated national treasures.

Dr. Seuss taught generations of children that:

"a person's a person, no matter how small."
--Horton Hears a Who


"down here at the bottom we, too, should have rights."
--Yertle the Turtle


"You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go..."
--Oh, the Places You'll Go!

Dr. Seuss taught all us kids to not be afraid to try new things (Green Eggs & Ham), the importance of preserving the environment (The Lorax) and that discrimination is stupid (The Sneetches)

But maybe most importantly, he gave us the keys to the worlds inside our heads. He made us think that maybe there was more to life than the grownups would have us believe.
Maybe there was an alphabet that began where Z left off. An alphabet that begins with the letter "Yuzz."

"My alphabet starts with this letter called yuzz. It s the letter I use to spell yuzz a ma tuzz. You'll be sort of surprised what there is to be found once you go beyond Z and start poking around "

And of course, he was right. If you go poking around beyond what you are supposed to know, you might just find a whole new universe.

Dr. Seuss did.

He created his own universe in which houses like this:

could be the norm, and trains could careen down rickety tracks like this:

and that would be just fine.

And why couldn't a talking cat drop in to entertain you on a rainy day?

These things were all in your imagination, you just had to know how to let them out.

"Think left and think right and think low and think high.
Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!"

(for another interesting side to Theodore Suess Geisel which a lot of people don't know about, click here for some of his political cartoons)