STOP telling me what we think!!!!


I seem to have stumbled upon a blog post that can be trotted out every few years.

Cool.  Or not.

I first posted this one, titled “We the People” in October of 2011.   I trotted it out again in June of 2012.

And tonight, as I studiously try to avoid the FIFTH Republican debate of this cycle, I just have to pull it out again.

Enjoy.   And vote.


“We the People”

….the American people,  are a really big group.  There are lots of us.  We tried, but we couldn’t all fit around the table at Dunkin Donuts.  There are so many of us that we can’t even fit in a big conference room. Or Yankee Stadium.   Or the Grand Canyon.

Do you get it?  We’re a big, big pile of folks.  We come in a whole bunch of colors, shapes and sizes, too.  If you could somehow manage to cram us all into one place, we would hardly recognize each other!  Some of us are chubby middle aged white women with plastic bifocals on.  Some are tall, skinny black men wearing three piece suits. We’re brown, we’re pink, we’re young; we’re old enough to remember when Truman was in charge.

We like baseball, except for those of us who don’t.  We adore country music, except for the huge group of us who hate country music and only listen to metal. We have PhD’s and we dropped out of the eight grade.  We have ten different words for a big cold cut sandwich on a long piece of bread.

We all live within these borders. That part’s true. But we are NOT a club. We aren’t all Democrat or Republican.  We aren’t all liberal or conservative.  We don’t all agree about the best way to solve the debt crisis, how to tax big corporations, how to fix Social Security, who will win the next election or the World Series, or how to grill the perfect steak.  Hell, a lot of us don’t even eat steak!!

So…..American politicians.  Please pay attention.  You really, really, really have to STOP saying “The American people” in sentences like “The American people understand that the Conservative plan put forth by the House is the best way to go forward.” (Yes, I did just hear those precise words on CNN.)  Or, “The American people agree that we need to increase revenues.” (I heard something just like that from the President yesterday).  Stop trying to quote us.  Stop trying to convince us that we agree with you.  We can’t agree on one single thing!!

Wait, that’s not true.  Here is one statement that you can use in any setting, no matter which party you belong to:

“The American people are sick and tired of the sniping, moaning, name calling and finger pointing. The American people, the whole big noisy bunch of us, are overwhelmingly in favor of having government officials act like grown ups who actually know what they are doing. The American people want the government to stop shouting, start listening, make some compromises and get the damn job done.”


Karen, self appointed spokesperson for the American People.

Resolving to find my “glittering eyes”.


I guess I am basically a simple person, looking for simple answers.  I like ideas that can be wrapped up as neatly as a little burrito and held in my hand.

I also like ideas that are expressed both clearly and beautifully.

So as I sit here on this frigid last morning of the year, I have been searching for a quote that can guide me through 2015.  I know better than to make resolutions at my age.  There is no chance that I’m suddenly going to get in shape or embrace an exercise plan.  I’m pretty sure that I won’t actually learn to knit or teach myself Italian, although I’d love to do both.  I already work hard at being a kinder, more patient, more accepting person, so there’s no need for a resolution about it.

Instead, I have decided to look for the perfect quote. Something that I can print out and hang up on my classroom wall. Something I can keep in my wallet and pull out when I’m feeling overwhelmed or frustrated or just plain crabby.

I started with political quotes, but I already strongly agree with all the best ones.  Like this one, from John Adams:

“There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution.”

Pretty cool to find that John Adams said exactly what I’ve been saying!  I felt smart, but didn’t think that was a quote to live by, you know?

Then I thought maybe I could find a quote from song lyrics.  Maybe Bruce Springsteen could help?  Alas, in the end I decided that its a little bit too late to “get out while we’re young”.   I kept looking.

And I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I found the perfect quote from one of my favorite authors.  Roald Dahl, author of so many magical, whimsical, powerful children’s books, said this:

“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”

Isn’t that wonderful?

So this is what I will try to do this year.  I will try very hard to watch the whole world around me with glittering eyes. I will try to look past the ugliness and the violence. I will try not to focus on the drudgery or the sameness or the repetition that is such a big part of everyday life.   I will keep my eyes on the children in my care, those children who are so very good at seeing magic, and who all have those glittering eyes.  I will look for the small sparks that inhabit the icy winter world, and those that come with the emerging spring.  I’ll try to appreciate the heat of summer and the crispness of the fall.

Most of all, I will try hard throughout 2015 to find the secrets and the magic in the people around me, even the grownup people.  I will try to keep myself open to them, and see that they all hold great beauty inside them.

Happy New Year, my dear friends!  May you keep your belief in magic, and may you find it in the most unlikely places!