Where You Stand

Facebook is full of opinions. The angriest right now are against those football players and teams who are making a political statement and exercising their first amendment rights by kneeling during the national anthem.  They are unpatriotic, anti American,  against the military and veterans.  Facebook is filled with loving couples posting sweet pictures of themselves with the slogan like: ‘I stand for the anthem and kneel for the cross.’… sweet.  They are proving that THEY are not only real patriots but real Christians.

Showing respect for the flag and our anthem is the way we show we are patriotic.  If you don’t stand you are sending a message… but wait… I think you should have your hand on your heart… take off your hat… know and sing all the words… maybe even have a small flag tattooed on your body somewhere… oh, and donate a small percentage of their earnings to a local VA.  When the anthem is played on t.v. are you standing at home? Are you pulling over and removing your hat if you hear the anthem in the car? THAT would show you are a REAL American.

And those people kneeling for the cross… they should actually be prostrating themselves, kneelers are not really devoting themselves… they should be saying the Lords Prayer… going to church every Sunday and a bible study on Wednesdays…. they should have a cross in their front window… and maybe donate a percentage of their earnings to their local church… and that tattoo… hmmmm…

Maybe we should publish in the paper the names of people who donate their time and money to that VA and local church… then we could really see who is patriotic and Christian.

Is that going too far?

Once we begin to decide who is patriotic and what people need to do to show that patriotism we are taking away their freedom to speak out against injustice in our country.

I don’t care if the men on the field are making 100 times more than I make, many of them probably are… they are also 100 times more likely than I am to be pulled over for driving in the wrong neighborhood… they have to talk to their sons and daughters about how to behave when the police stop them on the street… they have to endure people locking their car doors with their elbows when they are seen walking by with friends on the sidewalk …

Protesting systemic injustice to black Americans was where this protest began BUT people are upset that this protest is against the lashing out of our current president against those who protested last season.  Our current president thinks that the NFL is a government run program that he can influence… take that in… OUR PRESIDENT WANTS TO DECIDE HOW AN INDIVIDUAL CAN PEACEFULLY PROTEST

Really? He is deciding what is respectful and patriotic? He who name-calls with the best of any 10 year old, he who grabs women, he who rates women on a numerical scale, he who tweets at 3am, he who says he likes people who don’t get captured… he is your moral compass?

I am only bringing up the religious aspect of this because of those pictures on Facebook… their message is clear… ‘Good people are standing for the anthem and kneeling for the cross… good people are patriotic and religious.’ They tell me that you must prove to others what is in your heart by making a public display that they recognize and agree with.

If you ask many Veterans, who actually fought, they may say they did it for our country, but they didn’t fight for our flag, or for our anthem… they fought for our freedom.  And Jesus didn’t die on the cross so that you could kneel… he died so that you could live, giving YOU the choice… FREE WILL, people!

For me, I stand with the people who are kneeling… it is not about being unpatriotic, or disrespecting our flag and anthem, it is about exercising our freedom to disagree with how our country is being led, it is about the first amendment, it is about injustice, AND it is about those pictures on Facebook of loving couples who think that by standing for the flag and kneeling for the cross they are proving something… they are… they are proving that they don’t really understand what our country and those protests are all about.

 

 

 

Advertisements

Stop Looking Up and Start Looking In

Many of us have heaps of criticism about the daily (often hourly) assaults on our moral sensibilities by the president.  Yes, he is horrid, racist, misogynistic… and at least five more labels that go against all that I hold dear… But, many are picking apart, not just what he says, tweets and does, they are picking apart the efforts and commentary of those who oppose him.

Tina Fay did a comedic piece on SNL with a sheet cake… It was great. I loved it.  And yet, here come the haters who didn’t get it. They are critics who suggest that her piece was serious and that it encouraged us to join a ‘sheet cake-eating movement’… Really? They obviously missed the point, the frustration, and the anger of the segment.  If you missed the piece on one of the platforms you follow, here it is again: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/tina-fey-sheet-caking_us_599675d0e4b0e8cc855cce85

Instead of looking to criticize people who are putting their opinions out there, we should look at what we are doing ourselves to push back against Trump.  Send postcards, write e-mails, have those difficult conversations where you listen as much as you speak, march, boycott, make a statement, help solve this crisis, resist…. criticizing people who are trying to do something is counter productive… YOU do something.

I am tired of hearing that ‘This is not who we are’ from all sides… sorry folks, it is.  We elected him and WE need to sort this out.  WE need to grow, to listen, to make it right.  I know that this is who we are because we are a country where an angry few can terrorize the many, where one bad apple CAN spoil the whole bunch… 20 cars can give me plenty of room when I am out riding my bike ~ it only takes one jerk to buzz by me honking and yelling for me to get off the road to do harm.  Our town is working on improvement but over and over people hatefully complain about what is being done… Our town and our country is being terrorized by hate ~ that is what racism, anti-semitism, homophobia and misogyny are really about… we could say it is fear but that just makes you feel sorry for the haters… we need to combat hate, we have elected hate to our highest office and hate has been given a license to flourish with the protection of the first amendment.  Hate is on the rise and we must rally against it.

So, when you turn on your ‘feed’ make sure you are not contributing to hate… make sure you are being constructive and helpful… and to all of the teachers out there beginning your school year, make sure that you are teaching the most important lessons of our time… teach kindness, understanding, love and peace… let’s raise a generation where hate dies a quick death because it is drowned out by US… let’s become what we wish our country was now… sadly, what’s happening in our country IS who we are, but it doesn’t have to be…

 

 

What Next…

Every day, EVERY DAY, it is something else.  A new affront to the moral sensibilities I hold dear… they are said, left unsaid, tweeted, or alluded to by our ‘leader’.  Although he has continuously proven himself as anything but a leader, once again today he showed his complete lack of leadership ability.  After two days of being called out by fellow republicans and democrats for his unwillingness to name white supremacist, Nazi, neo-Nazi, and alt-right groups, terrorist groups, he begrudgingly spoke the words that were lost to him two days ago… of course, those words were tucked into a speech that began with a commentary on how well our economy and stock market were doing, obviously written by someone with a far superior vocabulary than himself… hence his use of the word repugnant.  I am sure his base was confused by the omission of  the highly sophisticated term ‘very, very bad’, which he often uses when speaking of ideas he dislikes.  He admonished those groups by name because he was forced to do so… his admonishment is as hollow as is his ability to lead this country.  Our country is caught in the tornado that is his twitter storm of self-serving, ego-centered, and volatile statements on whatever catches his attention.

Who are those speaking out against his madness? Now there are many, perhaps more people will begin to listen.  Today they were there at a very small rally in a highly conservative town… they were the educators, social workers, doctors, medical professionals… they were people chanting for love, for peace, for tolerance, for justice, for equality…

What next?  Fight and stand for what is right… do not sit silently by just shaking your head… join a group, speak out, mail a postcard, call your elected officials, show up…

A Right to Complain

I know many people are irate at the way our president is …. just is…. speaking, tweeting, lying, perhaps even breathing… you know, that whistling sound some people make with their nose… but, I digress…

Many people are rightfully complaining, loudly, about the leader of our country and his loyal followers. You can complain to whomever you choose, but your complaining means nothing if you only complain to those who chime in and spur you on.  Living your life as the ‘good guy’, the upstanding, decent, charity contributing, liberal means nothing if you are not willing to say ‘I do not support Trump’, ‘I am a Jew’, or ‘I am a liberal Democrat ‘…. only then will people who hold you in high regard perhaps think twice about their own ideas… when you are respected you MUST be willing to be honest about who you really are… allowing someone to believe that you are a ‘good Christian’ or a staunch Trump supporter does nothing to enlighten those you may have the power to impact.

IF you care, IF you disagree with the direction  our country is heading, IF you are irate…. YOU HAVE AN OBLIGATION….

If you are not willing to stand up… then perhaps  you should just suck it up and hang on for the next 3 1/2 years… otherwise the time has come to say ‘No, I did not and do not, support Trump’…

 

Building An Effective Wall

I just read that the ‘Wall Proposals’ are due on Wednesday.  I had this picture in my mind of people all over the world sitting in little teams contemplating materials and design.  Suddenly I had a flash of a children’s story I read to my first grade class every year: The Three Little Wolves and The Big Bad Pig by Eugene Trivizas.  From the title you can see that the classic tale is flip flopped and the sweet little wolves are terrorized by this big mean ugly pig.  The wolves like to play games like badminton, hopscotch and croquet … they try to protect themselves by using not straw, sticks and bricks, but iron bars, metal plates, concrete block and a video surveillance system… each time the Big Bad Pig blasts their home to bits with dynamite, sledgehammers, or his ever ready pneumatic drill.  Finally the wolves give up trying to build this fortress against their enemy….

I imagine our wall as their final house, a wall of flowers (or better yet edible plants) swaying delicately in the wind, having a similar effect on boarder dwellers, as the wolves flower house had on the Pig…. as one draws near our wall “they are filled with the fragrant scent of flowers”… their hearts grow and they begin to dance.  At my wall they may pick a strawberry or snack on an apple before shaking hands with the boarder control, who tend the wall, take selfies with the crossers and welcome them to America.

Gone are the people dying in the desert, gone are people dying in storage containers or the backs of overheated trucks and gone are those profiting from human trafficking…

I am sure there are holes in my dream… but if you don’t have the dream nothing can ever change…

Disturbing Visit

It may not have gone unnoticed, but it hasn’t gotten the response it deserves.  The very first school our president went to visit was a private Catholic school.   This should have made headlines, drawn criticism from the National Teachers Union, and the separation of church and state should have been part of the discussion around the CNN newsdesk.

I am not against private school or private religious schools. If parents want something different than their local public school and a non-secular education based on agreed upon standards and curriculum, they can pay for it and make that choice.  They have the choice to take their child to a public school out of their district out of their area and still have that education paid for. That is very different than our government paying for private schools. His  visit sent me, a public school teacher, a clear message. Our president is going to follow Betsy DeVos’s lead and work to funnel some of our meager education dollars into private religious schools. Where is the separation of church and state?

The idea that somehow this will make education better, that the students of my little rural school will reap the benefits of this potential change in policy is ludicrous.  Unless the parents of these children are willing to drive  their child long distances each day they will be educated in their local school.  Who are those parents willing to make  that drive? Families who can afford the gas, families who care deeply about their child’s education, and parents who are involved.  Not to say that many lovely families who value education will choose to keep their children in their local school…but there may be an exodus of many of the best and brightest to schools where they can screen out children who struggle to behave, are low academically or demand too much attention from a teacher.

Who will be left in public education? If Trump has his way, I fear for public education, where we will have to make do with less and less while educating an increase percentage of those most difficult to educate.

This voucher system has not been thought through, but someone needs to start doing some serious thinking and stand up for our children, all of our children… and in standing up for all our children we ARE standing up for public education.

This disturbing visit should have sent shock waves through advocates of public education but instead we were freaking out over 3am tweets.  Don’t let him shift our focus on what really matters…if we become caught up in his distractions we may just miss what is really happening…

No Intelligence – Give Me A Break

No intelligence… I heard CNN newscaster, Don Lemon utter these words.   As he was interviewing a Trump spokesperson about the claim that our former president ordered a wire-tap on Trump’s phone at Trump Tower, he simply asked the spokesperson if President Trump had any ‘intelligence’… and then “So, what your saying is that he has ‘No intelligence’.”  I laughed out loud and I am sure that once he said it he knew what it really meant.

Of course our president has no intelligence.  Conspiracy theories, die-hard supporters, poor judgement, and a quick finger when it comes to Twitter – he has those in spades… but intelligence he is lacking.  He is surprised at the complexity of our healthcare issues, shocked that people are concerned about his connection to Russia, and has mentioned our former president more times in the past six weeks than Obama mentioned Bush in his entire presidency.  He is becoming more unhinged as the days pass.

We have weathered more White House scandal than we have seen in decades… and he is just getting started.  Wait until he gets on a roll!

Intelligence is the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills, the ability to deal with new or trying situations.  Intelligence is what is required to process and synthesize information, to sift through a problem and come up with reasonable solutions.  It is the ability to rise to the occasion, use clear language and speak to a topic.  It is what we need as a nation.

A man who leads without intelligence is a danger to us all! We are being led by someone with no intelligence… and those who surround him are continuing to make excuses for him and cover it up…  Those who surround him need to take his phone at night… give us all a break!