It was pretty incredible. My last university class today is called American Newspapers and we didn’t talk about newspapers at all today. We discussed the perceived freedoms in Germany and America, paying for national television in Germany and whether it is “right” or not, and then it got good. I made a statement of this nature:
“I think that the Declaration of Independence was the most important piece of paper in the world.”
A student close to me on the left said:
“That is so typical American.”
And then the conversation got good, with me asking the 17 or so students what other pieces of paper might be more important.
The Magna Carta, someone said. Excellent answer, I said. What’s that, a few students asked. And then the student said something about the Pope splitting up the new world between Spain and Portugal and I corrected him in saying that was the treat of Tordesilla in around 1480 or so. I explained that Magna Carta, from what I understood, forced the king to recognize the power inherent in the people (the rich) and also the right of habeas corpus, whereby you have the right to ask in front of a court what you have been charged with, something that the Military Commissions Act last year temporarily (or is still) gave the President to suspend the right of Habeas Corpus in time deemed exigent or some other silly word.
95 Theses from Martin Luther, a different student said. Maritin Luther is my favorite German, I said, and the girl talking about the television tax scoffed at the idea that I might think that. He was so pious, she said.
This was probably the first time that I kept the students over a few minutes, making sure we could finish our discussion without just leaving it hanging there.
The student who had said it was typical American said I was indoctrined: haha, I corrected her in class when she said indoctrinated and I just looked in the dictionary and she had used it correctly. I gotta tell her next week.
Anyway, I told her that she didn’t know me and she had no idea what I was indoctrinated with. And where did she think I got my information and knowledge from? From school or from books? After class, she just came to have a last sentence with me and I showed her the book in my bag, “The Founding Fathers”. We shook hands and class was over.
I got paid 42.60euros for those 90 minutes. Hell, I couldn’t almost fly to London and back for that 90 minutes of work. Yet another perspective that shows how my standard of life is better here, or no, that I have more opportunities. It helps living in an old country with an American perspective. Everything seems quaint and old-fashioned. But after awhile, like ya know 4 years, you realize that there are good reasons for how it is.
It’s one of the first times that a class discussion was something that was still gnawing on me hours later. It’s good work stress.