Copyright © 2006 Henrietta W. Hay
Make the Pie Higher
September 1, 2006
Have you ever wondered what Plato would have written if he had a deadline with the Athens Times? One week he might have written about his favorite subject, education. "The schools are straying from the method of teaching developed by my beloved teacher, Socrates. Young men need to learn how to make ethical decisions. They must be taught how to think, and the best way to teach them is to use the Socratic method of questions and answers. The schools need to pay more attention to this."
If Sir Isaac Newton had ever written anything so prosaic as a column, he might have reminisced. "When I was a boy I had a bad headache one day as a result of an apple falling on my head. I wasn't much of a student then, but I did wonder why the apple fell on me instead of falling up to the top of the tree. Many years later I discovered why the apple fell. It is called The Law of Gravity.
George Washington might advise young Americans to be careful when playing around cherry trees and he might suggest that throwing stuff across the Potomac is great for staying in shape. Then he too might write about education and include some very practical advice. "Promote then, as an object of primary importance institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge."
Abigail Adams did not have a newspaper column, but she wrote extensively. She was one of the first Feminists. She wrote John, "The men are in Philadelphia writing a constitution for our new country. I do hope they will remember the ladies, and have written John urging him to do that. But I fear the worst. He laughed and wrote back, 'Depend on it. We know better than to replace our masculine system . . . which would subject us to the despotism of the petticoat.' But we will keep trying. I do believe that it is essential that we educate women."
Elizabeth Cady Stanton was the writer. and Susan B. Anthony was the hell-racer who spoke her words. They were the first activist suffragettes. If they had b been alive on August 15, 1920, Elizabeth might have written: "We won. We won. We won. We finally won the right to vote. We can hold our heads high. Now we can say that men and women are created equal with certain inalienable rights. I told you that failure is impossible."
Eleanor Roosevelt did write a column, full of information and wisdom. One week she might write one based on her famous words, "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." She was as unpopular as is any presidential wife who is a thinker and speaks her mind. and she might have ended her column with, "Hey, "Quit whining and get on with it."
And we must have a column from our President. Washington Post writer Richard Thompson collected actual quotes from George W. Bush and arranged them into a poem, "Make the Pie Higher." Here is a portion of it.
"I think we all agree, the past is over... This is still a dangerous world...
is our children learning? How many hands have I shaked?
They misunderestimate me. I am a pit bull on the pant leg of opportunity...
Families is where our nation finds hope, Where our wings take dream.
Make the pie higher."