Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: TOURIST TRAP (08/20/15)
TITLE: Museum of Government Innovation
By Gary Ritter
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His wife, Nancy, examined the marquee. “This is fabulous.” She grabbed the hands of their two children, Danny age ten, and Angie age nine, to hustle them up the steps of the imposing red-brick building on K Street.
The family, fresh in the nation’s capital on vacation had scraped, scrimped, and saved for over five years to make this journey. The parents figured that only in Washington, D.C. could they teach their children the value of big government and how it benefited equally all peoples under its control. Mark and Nancy had had many discussions as to how free markets had distorted the values they believed sacrosanct. Only by the even hand of government could everyone get a fair shake. To have overlooked the presence of this museum as they planned their trip was almost unimaginable.
The thirty-dollar entrance fee per person was rather steep but it was tempered by the children receiving a one percent discount for being under the age of twelve. They stepped into the cool interior, which left no doubt as to their location with an eight-foot sign that prominently displayed: Museum of Government Innovation. A smiling young woman approached them and said, “My name is Teri. I’d be happy to be your guide today.”
“That’d be great,” Nancy said. “Let’s go.”
“Wonderful,” said Teri. “That’ll only be forty-five dollars for the tour.”
“Um, okay,” Mark said, and began digging for his wallet.
“I can run your credit card,” Teri cheerfully said, and proceeded to help Mark in caring for this small detail.
Teri was chatty and friendly, keeping up a running commentary on each exhibit. First up was the one on Common Core, which extolled the virtues of conformity in education throughout the land. Teri explained how teaching to the test increased scores dramatically compared to what they had been versus test scores of children in other nations. “We’ve skyrocketed comparatively with North Korea, Chad, and Zimbabwe. In the eyes of the world we’ve taken giant strides.”
The climate change exhibit was of particular interest to the children as Mark and Nancy had long extolled the efforts being made to combat this global scourge. They had made sure that the children’s teachers at every grade level were well versed in this scientific endeavor, and through recycling and extreme water conservation at home had taught the kids many vital principles. The rule in their house was to use no more than one sheet of toilet paper and never flush the toilets more than twice a day. Nancy each month tallied up the savings and proudly announced the totals to the family during their monthly splurge eating at the local veggie burger establishment.
The family exclaimed in unison as they observed the original “hockey stick” chart made famous by researchers at East Anglia University in England that proved the veracity behind global warming claims. Little Danny caused a moment of consternation when he said, “I heard the data behind this was all made up, Daddy. Is that true?”
Poor Teri, their guide, had to sit down and take several deep breaths when she heard Danny’s scandalous heresy. She fanned herself until the sweat dried on her forehead.
“I apologize for my son,” Mark said. “Boy, for that when we get home no video games for a week!”
Danny pouted and said, “I’ll be good.”
After a stern look from Nancy they passed on to the next display: It Takes a Village (not a family). It featured the smiling face of Hillary Clinton as the originator of this innovative technique. Teri explained that the concept had led to the initiation of government-run schools in which parents gave over their children to these institutions led by child rearing experts. “Parents really have no idea what they’re doing. We have learned scholars who have spent years studying the psychological responses of children. Kids in these phenomenal, nurturing environments are flourishing because of the structure, the pedagogy, the anthropological affinities.”
The child Angie frowned and haltingly asked, “What about the kids’ parents? Who gives the children love?”
This proved too much for Teri. She threw up her hands. “What have you done to these brats? They need the Village. Look at me. I was raised there and I’m perfectly fine. Love! What’s love?” She huffed off.
Leaving the museum Mark mused, “Perhaps the Village will take the kids this fall?”
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