The Tacet Underground

What if He didn't exist? At all. What if long ago, visiting ETs decided that the easiest way to keep these creatures (us) complacent was to chisel out some stony rules and promise a heaven and a hell, much like a kindergarten teacher promises stickers for good behavior and time out for bad behavior? Sure - it's crazy. But just for a minute, what if?

What if the bible is not the 'word of God' as it is so flippantly called while held up and venerated? What if you discover that it is a collection of stories jotted down by the fallible and earthly predecessors of Aesop and the Brothers Grimm, later bastardized and edited and tilted to meet the selfish needs of a corrupt church hierarchy?

What if you woke up tomorrow and none of it made sense anymore? 'Why would an all-seeing and all-knowing god be vengeful?' 'Why revere a book that promotes misogyny, revenge, slavery and killing?' 'Am I a thinking person, or was I indoctrinated before I had a chance to make a choice?' What if it all seems so remote and unbelievable that when someone brings it up, your brain has to click into gear: "Oh yeah! - I forgot that people still believe in that!"

Imagine how truly looney it would then seem if you heard the DOJ's very own Imp of Darkness justifying the cruel and inhumane treatment of emigrating children by quoting a bible verse. Imagine how genuinely frightening it would be to hear former White House aide Omorosa Manigault Newman report that Vice President Pence thinks Jesus tells him to say things. For the almost one out of four Americans that do not believe in God, it is chilling.

The Founders were very clear about the need for separation of church and state:

"The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe in blood for centuries."

In this, one of the most fatherly-feeling quotes from our Founders, James Madison and the other framers are looking out for us in the way that parents try to impart hard-learned wisdom upon their children. How many times have we wished our kids would listen to us?

There is a musical term, tacet. This tells the musician to do nothing - still pay attention to what's going on, but do nothing. To make a sweeping and reckless generalization, atheists know how to tacet. It is simply easier to nod and smile and say nothing than it is to get into it. Sure, there are atheists at every turn that have no problem declaring their non-belief, but they didn't get there without also learning how to deal with feelings of disenfranchisement, ostracization and condemnation.

It isn't always easy to say, "I don't believe in god" when those around you do and when the indoctrination you've received makes you feel many emotions - but primarily guilt - just for entertaining the idea. Even for the loud proclaimers, it is usually easier, quicker and less trouble to tacet.

The approximately 25% of Americans that make up this Tacet Underground form a much larger subset of the population than the 1% that are Muslim, the 2% that are Jewish, the 2% that are Mormon, the 4% that are either LGBT or Q, the 12% that are Black or the 19% that are Hispanics/Latino, yet these other groups are constantly protesting, demanding and making themselves the news while atheists are mostly content to tacet and pay attention.

In 1795 John Adams said, "The government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion."  Atheists take this seriously and are deeply offended when ignorant people like Donald Trump pretend that it is.

The Vice President's proclamation that he is a Christian first, a conservative second and a Republican third is deeply offensive to the (at least) eighty-some million Americans that do not believe in his god and consider that statement alone to be grounds for him to be removed from office. On the other hand, even nonbelievers may sometimes hope that hell exists, comforted by visions of Jeff Sessions roasting marshmallows with Beelzebub.

As has happened over a long period of years with the LGBTQ community, 'coming out' as an atheist carries less of a social stigma with each passing day, although small town folk and conservative communities may still find a way to disparage anything out of the norm. Time passes and the number of people that distinguish themselves as atheist will increase as the stigma lessens and the dark side of religion is continually revealed by people like Jeff Sessions, Dana Rohrabacher and Donald Trump who insist on evoking the Bible and Jesus for evil.

By 2020 the Tacet Underground could include not one in four citizens as it does now, but one in three. That would be over a hundred million Americans that don't want to hear religious dribble or quotes from the bible, but instead want logical and well thought-through plans based on research, testing and evaluation. At some point our politicians are going to have to grapple with the fact that one out of three Americans think the bible-thumpers and scripture-quoters and evil-doers are more than a little nutty and start giving us more than the incessant stale rhetoric about abortion, guns, gays and God.

Teachers and Guns

"I want to tell you about my idea for assault rifle vending machines" is a quote from Fester Trim, one of the candidates for City Council in Pawnee, Indiana. Fester's solution to car theft is that we should all mount shotguns on our dashboards that kill anyone that tries to steal our car. Fester also believes that the way to end schoolhouse slaughters is to arm our teachers. Thank Goodness Fester is just a character in a sitcom; a caricature of an NRA Gun Nut, and that his over-stated suggestions would never be made by real politicians in real life.

What? The last suggestion isn't from Fester? It's from whom? Are you sure?

America's best, by and large, do not go into teaching. There was a time when the smartest of half the population became either a teacher or a nurse. Women that wanted to and could work had few other choices. For America's kids, it wasn't a bad deal - competence at school and at the doctor's office. As the 70s dissolved into the 80s and female presence in the workplace gradually expanded, many women began to choose not to teach, instead pursuing more money, prestige or both.

In a world of self-made billionaires and IPO fortunes and T-shirt bonanzas, going into debt to get a Master's Degree in order to land a low-paying job in which
  • you will have to work many more than forty hours per week,
  • you will sometimes be appreciated but just as often be really hassled by selfish parents,
  • you will never be given enough time to do the job as you'd like to do it,
  • you will be constrained from seeking to achieve excellence because all kids must be treated the same, no matter how dissimilar they are
is less and less appealing every day. We don't have enough good teachers as it is! We need to find ways to incentivize our best and brightest to become teachers, and adding target practice to the curriculum is most surely going to steer them in the opposite direction … and they will be running, not walking. To add insult to probable injury or death, you can bet your sweet bippy that if teachers were given guns they would be required to buy their own ammunition!

It has been said many times, but it is worth saying again: The person in the White House is not out of touch, he is out of his mind; truly. And a puppet.

Nothing small is going to change things. We need a massive social uprising. The NEA must declare a general strike. The NEA must send a message to Congress that our teachers will not return to work until they are provided a safe work environment. Everyone in this nation is entitled to a safe work environment except our teachers, where are kids are. How messed up is this? Is there not one mention of 'safe work environment' in teachers' contracts that some hotshot lawyer can use to figure out a way for these teachers to strike without losing paychecks?

If teachers don't go to school, kids can't go to school. If kids can't go to school, parents can't go to work. If parents can't go to work, the country starts grinding to a halt. How long do you think that will go on before Congress opens a dialogue? Be forewarned that even if a miracle happened, and stricter regs were put into place, it would only be a first step, because laws aren't always enforced. But it would be a giant step for America's Mankind.

You have the power NEA, and it looks like you are the only group that does. Use it.



A graduate of Portland State University, Steve (Reeno) Kloser is the author of Beginning Band - A Guide to Success and Let's Make Music - Classroom Recorder Course. He is also an accomplished teacher, conductor and composer, having penned numerous pieces including La Vida and Fly With Me.

Teacher, cook, Packers fan and proud American, Reeno's usually slanted outlook often presents an unlikely perspective on issues old and new.

Reeno currently lives in Portland, OR.


Follow Reeno on Twitter

Some Will Go To College - All Will Go Through Life complete as a .pdf
School is for Winning
as a .pdf

All Hail the Chancellor
posted Jun 15, 18

Trump and the Big Leagues
posted Jun 11, 18

Bogus Commission on School Safety
posted Jun 08, 18

To Insure Promptness in the Age of Entitlement
posted May 31, 18

LBGTQ Housing
posted May 27, 18

Timeless Trump
posted May 24, 18

Being Mean to Kids!
posted May 22, 18

R.E.S.P.E.C.T. for Professors and Teachers
posted May 20, 18

School is for Winning
posted May 16, 18

The League You Need
posted May 12, 18

Just Login
posted May 09, 18

Seven Words
posted May 04, 18

Some Go To College - All Go Through Life pt1
posted Apr 20, 18

Some Go To College - All Go Through Life pt2
posted Apr 19, 18

Some Go To College - All Go Through Life pt3
posted Apr 18, 18

Zombie Pedestrians
posted Apr 18, 18

Leaders in School
posted Apr 04, 18

Opiates - Hey Doc! A Little Help Please
posted Mar 19, 18

The Grass is NOT Always Greener
posted Mar 14, 18

Teachers and the Sun
posted Mar 13, 18

Can Social Media Contribute to Mental Health Issues?
posted Mar 08, 18

Hope - A Beautiful Sight
posted Feb 28, 18

All You Need is Love … and enough money
posted Feb 24, 18

NEA or NRA?
posted Feb 21, 18

I don't (k)NO(w)
posted Feb 20, 18

Dear ESPN
posted Feb 18, 18

Helmet to Helmet HIts Must Go
posted Feb 06, 18

Software Abuse
posted Jan 15, 18
Alphabetical Listing

All material posted within this website ©2017 - 2018.
Unauthorized duplication or reproduction is forbidden.
Please with questions or comments.

For reliable information about marijuana, click to TruthAboutPot.org

Image of the moon by Central Meridian Photography