Oh, What a Funny Idea!!!


I really liked being a teacher. I mean, I really, really liked it. As in, I loved the hell out of being in charge of a group of ten year olds.

I loved helping them to grow and learn in the most important ways.

If you’ve been reading this blog for any time at all, you know that I was pushed out of teaching by a cranky old guy who resented my ideas. You know that I miss teaching every single day.

I loved those kids. I really, truly did.

Even when they were making me CRAZY because they couldn’t manage to find a way to compromise with their classmates.

Oh, holy headache. I remember long, long, long, long classroom meetings where I repeatedly told two groups of kids, “Yes, you can find a way to compromise.”

I worked so hard to show them that if Team A gave up the idea of football at every recess, Team B might respond by saying they would accept football every day for those who wanted to play.

There were days when I felt like all I did was repeat the idea that ‘If you get one thing that you want, the other guys can get one thing that they want.”

I remember sitting at my deks, waiting for the two groups to come to some compromise.

I remember telling the kids, “If you can compromise, we can go outside to play. If you keep arguing we will miss our recess.”

We did miss a couple of recess breaks. We did. I clearly remember the absolute shock of both sides of the classroom argument as they realized that EVERYONE LOSES when nobody can compromise and come to agreement.

I thought it was wonderful when my ten year old charges understood that compromise was the only way to have the whole community move forward. I was so so proud of those children when they came to that incredibly powerful realization.

So you can see why I wish that Congress and the Executive could be brought under the control of a really good fifth grade teacher.

Until then? I am completely disgusted with every single person in Congress and the Executive Branch who draws a paycheck out of my tax payments.

I would be absolutely delighted if a fifth grade class could address the government shutdown in its morning meeting.

We could find a way to compromise!!! Why can’t you guys?

Well, They Don’t Look Like Me


Welp. Here we are in January of 2019. The 116th Congress of the United States has just been sworn in. There’s been a whole of news about this group of Congress people, especially the incoming “Freshman” class.

I’ve seen the group photos. I’ve read the biographies and the position statements and all I can say is this:

This Congress does NOT look anything like me.

I mean, I’m 62 years old, white, Christian and heterosexual.

They don’t look or sound like me.

But you know what?

That’s what makes me so excited and so hopeful for the future of this nation.

I mean, let’s be honest here, OK? For the last two centuries or so, the country has been run by older white Christians. Sure, they were almost all men, but they still were pretty much my descriptive demographic.

And I don’t know about you, but I don’t think that’s really done a whole lot of good.

I don’t mean to be ageist, racist, sexist or anything else-ist, but I am more than thrilled to see a new House of Representatives that actually seems to be representative. I am filled with hope and excitement when I see women of color, Muslims, Hindus, gays, transgender folks and lots and lots of young people taking up the mantle of leadership.

The United States is no longer all white, all Christian, all straight. Our leaders shouldn’t be either. My generation has had plenty of time to wield its influence.

Chalk it up to my decades of bleeding heart liberalism, but I am so excited to see what the bold, brash, unashamed young multicultural crew will bring us in the next few years.

They have my full support.

It’s way past time for somebody to shake up the power elite around here.

Progress


I am finding it difficult not to jump up and dance when I see the actions and words of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and some of her colleagues. I find myself smiling behind my hand when I read her tweets about her introduction to Congress. 

I love her posts that show the hypocrisy and the nepotism and the overt money grubbing that goes on the hallowed halls of our most esteemed centers of power.

But more than anything else, you know what has me doing the happy dance these days?

It’s the number of women who will now be representing our national interests in Congress.

I am ecstatic when I see all of those female warriors lining up to take the reigns of power.

You see, I am the mother of a woman. I am the mother who watched CNN relentlessly during the Iran-Contra hearing way back in 1988. I can remember it so clearly and so perfectly. 

I was a young mother of one little girl. We lived in an old rented house that needed quite a bit of work. I remember the day when I was removing old paint from the bannisters that lead from our first floor up to our second. I remember that the TV was on, and that my little girl was sitting beside me with a paint scraper in her hand as the hearings were shown.

The talking heads were opining about the seriousness of the events. The camera panned across the hearing room. My little girl saw the people who were assembled, knowing that they were our national leaders.

I will never forget the moment when she looked up at me with her deep brown eyes, a frown on her innocent face. “Mommy”, she asked, “where are all the ladies?”

In that moment, I had no answer for her. I didn’t know where all the “ladies” were. I didn’t know what to tell my girl about the powers that ruled our country, our lives, our world.

Now that little girl is a woman. She is a teacher, an activist, and a mother of her own little girl.

A little girl who I love more with every breath I take. 

And that is why, when I see the incoming freshmen in Congress, and note the rows of powerful young women, I have to rejoice. I have to stand up, raise my arms, sing praises to the goddess and to all of the powerful women figures who have lead us to this moment.

This time, when I sit with a little girl and watch the actions of the Congress of the United States, I rejoice in the fact that I will not be asked, “Where are all the ladies?”

HERE are all the ladies. At last.

 

Those Marching Migrants


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I’ve been thinking a lot about the people who are walking from Central America to the US-Mexico border.

I’m really fascinated by the way they are being described. I know that words have power. Words shape our beliefs and our opinions.

Words can be weapons, and words can speak truth.

Are the people walking across Mexico a caravan intent upon invading our country? Or are they desperately poor families making a nearly hopeless attempt to save their children from violence and starvation?

Are they criminals with evil intentions, some of whom have arrived inexplicably in Honduras from the Middle East? Or are they completely innocent, loving, kind families with beautiful babies who need us?

Let’s see if we can find some actual facts to help us figure out what is actually taking place to our South.

According to the Heritage Foundation, Honduras is the second poorest country in Central America, and has one of the world’s highest homicide rates. The government is unstable and corrupt, and often works in tandem with drug dealers and gangs.

The same foundation reports that Guatemala is in equally poor shape economically and politically. It, too, suffers from an unstable government, poor infrastructure and low quality education and health care. Drug trafficking is rampant there, as it is in Honduras.

So it is a fact that many families in these two countries are living in poverty, with little hope of improvement. There are few educational opportunities and therefore little hope of improved economic conditions. Got it.

Are some of them criminals? This one is a little tricky to fact check. I can find lots of information on news sites that have their own political agenda. Fox News assures us that there are loads of gang members and criminals in there. They say that this information comes from our own Department of Homeland Security, although there are no real specifics in the DOH report.

Other sites focus on individuals within the migrant group, exposing their stories of suffering and fear. One Nicaraguan family was highlighted by US News & World Report. The story is powerful, gripping and incredibly sad.

There are hundreds of photos of children from the migrant group. Those photos will break your heart, no matter who you are. Little babies crying from hunger, toddlers crossing flooded rivers in the arms of their parents. We know that there are in fact truly desperate people in the migrant group.

So.

Where does this leave us?

We know that there is a group of human beings of various ages walking all the way from the southernmost border of Mexico to it’s northern border with the United States. We know for sure that some of them are true refugees who want to seek asylum. We know that some are kids. We know that a lot of them just want jobs, any jobs, here in the land of relative safety and decent education.

We are told that some are criminals. I haven’t seen any actual factual information on this, like a story that gives locations, ages, names, histories. But you know what?

I’m willing to admit that it is very likely that SOME of the migrants coming our way have criminal histories. It seems to make sense to me, that if you have a large group of adult humans in one place, some of them will have criminal tendencies.

But does that mean that ALL of them should be stopped, kicked out, lumped together as a group of bad guys because of the company they keep? Some people (like Sen. Chuck Grassley) seem to think so.

I’m not so sure.

I mean, yeesh. If every group of people in our country had to be held to the lowest standard, what would happen? If every teacher was judged by the few who dressed up as a wall for Halloween? If every doctor was judged by the few who steal drugs? Where would we be if every religious leader was judged by the actions of Catholic Priests?

Yikes.

And….well….what would happen if every member of Congress was thrown out because some of them have been convicted of crimes???

Welp.

We’d pretty much be ruling ourselves, wouldn’t we?

#AnthonyWeiner #TomDelay #JohnEdwards #MikeCrapo #JesseJacksonJr #TreyRadel

 

 

I Think I Know Why Nothing Gets Done


We’re constantly wondering, we Americans, what exactly has gotten into our government leaders. We watch them bluster and blather. We hear them pontificate and pander.

But do they ever actually accomplish anything? Pass any new laws? Set some clear policies? I don’t know, maybe figure out an actual workable year long budget?

Nope, nope and nuh-uh.

Don’t you wonder why?

Well, I think I’ve figured it out. It’s actually pretty simple.

They don’t have time to govern! These are very busy people!!!

I mean, look what our leaders are up to at the moment.

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Yup. The big boss of our duly elected House of Representatives is doing his best to prevent his opponents (also our duly elected representatives) from working to get our votes.  He doesn’t have time to legislate.

Then there’s this:

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See? They don’t have time for insignificant details like keeping the lights on, or protecting our Social Security. They can’t be bothered with the minutiae of approving or disapproving of the bombs we drop overseas. They’re busy with pre-emptive actions to prevent something that hasn’t happened and might never happen.

These people are BUSY! They have important work to do!

For example,

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Oh, sure, Mrs. Clinton LOST the election that took place almost a year and a half ago. Comey has been fired. But our Congress is busy trying to root out any possible infraction of any possible law that one of them might have committed at some point in the past. They don’t have time to work together to reach a compromise on little things like the impending death of the planet.

So it’s easy to see that our members of Congress are so busy trying to poke each other in the eye that they can’t be bothered with keeping the country going.

I suggest that we lock them all in a big room and let them play a killer round of “Words With Friends” or “Trivial Pursuit.”  Or maybe “Cards Against Humanity.” The winning team gets to run things for six months, then there’s a rematch.

It would save us billions of tax dollars in “investigations” and, God willing, we’d never have to hear the words “Benghazi” or “Pee-pee tape” ever again.

 

 

 

 

Don’tch Wonder Who’s Concealing and Carrying?


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Not long ago, I went to my local grocery store on a busy Saturday morning. There was a man there who was blocking the aisle. He looked angry. He looked scary. He was dressed in scruffy clothes, had scraggly gray hair and a day’s worth of stubble on his scowling face.

I stood there awkwardly for a minute, but I wanted to get buy him and be on my way. I told myself not to be so judgmental. I cleared my throat and said, “Excuse me….?”

He looked up and smiled, revealing beautiful blue eyes and a disarming dimple. We had a short, friendly chat about the virtues of low fat ice cream, and I finished my shopping feeling great about the interaction.

But ya know what?

If that same thing had happened after the passage of the “Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act,” that whole thing would have gone far differently. You know the bill I’m talking about, right?

The latest bit of NRA inspired insanity would allow anybody who can legally carry a concealed weapon in their home state can carry one in mine.

Which, of course, means that when strolling through my local store, I will have no idea if my fellow shoppers are armed.

So in the best case scenario on that recent shopping trip, I would have turned around and gone the other way. I wouldn’t have dared to talk to that scary looking old guy.

In the worst case scenario? I might have been carrying a concealed weapon myself. A loaded one. I might have felt threatened enough by his big bulky self blocking my way. I might have reacted with a jolt of fear, especially if the guy had his hand hear his pocket.

I might have feared for my life and I might have shot his face off.

Call me naiive, but I would very much like to continue meeting new people as I go through my days. I’d like to take my grandkids to the mall without worrying that the young guy with the shaking hands isn’t about to pull out his gun and start shooting us up.

#GunControlNow