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That Flag?

  • Posted on June 25, 2015 at 8:22 pm

A couple years ago, I had some students that wanted to depict the Confederate flag on their scratch art projects.  I told them I would not allow it because it is a racist symbol.  They argued with me about that issue and did not believe me.  I said, “Let me see, how about I put racist symbols on Google images and see what happens?”   I did that and of course many images came up but the Confederate flag was smack dab in the middle of all that hate.  My students told me that just because it is on the Internet doesn’t make it true.  These are middle school boys growing up in southern Michigan with the mentality that there is nothing wrong with that flag.  I periodically have students that have challenged me on this issue, swastikas, and the KKK.  Sometimes they are testing me to see what I will accept and sometimes they are just so used to being around these symbols and seeing them that they just don’t know any better.

I know there has been more of this these past few years and it is related to the Tea Party movement and, of course, to the fact that we now have a black president.  Over the years, the more that I see of President Obama, the more I realize how much hatred there is in our country.  This is more than a Republican or Democratic issue.  Those Republicans that refuse to work with President Obama have refused from day one.  They don’t hate him because he is a Democrat; they hate him because he is a black Democrat.  I have always found President Obama to be a tad more Republican in his stances than that of a progressive Democrat.  I could not understand why the right could be so down on him.  He has done so much that they should be happy about.  Getting up the “courage” to take down this racist symbol is in my mind, is a joke.  As an educator, I know it is racist and so do all these powerful people.  I am no more educated than most of them, but so many of them, like these young boys, do not want to face the truth.

John Oliver said it right when he talked about the Confederate flag, “The Confederate flag is one of those things that should only be seen on t-shirts, belt buckles and bumper stickers to help the rest of us identify the worst people in the world.”   I laughed when I watched his piece on this because that is exactly how I see it.  Whenever I see someone with that flag, I think I know what they are about and I choose to avoid them.  It does however; make it easier for them to find each other in a crowd, if they are looking for like-minded people.  Now that it is out in the open and everyone knows it is a racist symbol, one would think that people would want to get on with the healing and remove it from any part of their lives.  If I were wearing something that I discovered was racist, rest assured, I wouldn’t want to wear that thing again.  For me, the Civil War was a part of history and should be treated as such.

What does our country stand for?  We go into other countries trying to democratize them.  We say we stand for all that is good and right in the world and for freedom of speech.  At home, we have allowed hate groups to spread their hate.  Whether it is the KKK, Neo-Nazi groups, or the American Family Association, hate groups teach hate.  They start when people are very young children to indoctrinate them with their personal form of hate.  These peoples’ rights are protected and often by groups like the ACLU.  I don’t know what we can do to stop all of this hate, but I do know that children are not born hating anyone.  Hatred is a learned behavior.  We believe in free speech so these people are still going to be allowed to spread their own form of hatred but it should be clear that anything that breeds that hatred should not be accepted on government property, whether it be federal lands or state owned, or allowed within government programs.  We, as a country, must be leaders on this issue.  It is clear to me that these flags and monuments to a time when we were a country with a master and slave population, need to be put in a museum.  It is time that we healed as a nation and worked to support each other.  Race should not be what defines us as a people.  Our spirit, integrity, and character should.

The Boogeyman Politics

  • Posted on July 23, 2010 at 2:47 pm

In our country we cling to the idea that one day we might be rich.  We should all just stop dreaming that fantasy and realize that very few will actually become “rich”.  You can buy all the lottery tickets you can stuff in your pants and you will still lose.  One ticket will take it all.  Are you really feeling that lucky today?  It’s time to let those that have unspeakable wealth step up and save this country.  I, for one, have no trouble taxing the wealthy.  It’s time we got the rest of the country to realize that there is no shame in a truly graduated income tax.  It’s also time to take care of those people that are struggling to make ends meet.  This can be accomplished if we set our priorities straight as a nation.

I am tired of the boogey men that we continually chase as a nation.  For years we were afraid of the “communists”.  They were the boogeyman and we had to hide under our desks at school because they were coming to get us.  Since the world trade towers were destroyed and a couple thousand people were murdered on September 11th, 2001 we have feared the terrorists.  They have been, for the last nine years, the new boogeyman.  As President Bush said many times, “We are fighting them over there so we don’t have to fight them here.”  Franklin Delano Roosevelt famously said, “The only thing to fear is fear itself.”  However, politicians have kept us in a constant state of fear for most of my life.  This fear is used to control how we think and essentially how we vote.  It determines how we view the world and whether we trust our neighbor, both those next door or those who border our countries.  In the past couple of years we have been led to believe that we are all closeted “racists”.  This, I believe, is another form of control over our thoughts and especially our actions.  The boogeyman is the fear of racism.  Since President Obama began his run for the Whitehouse, it has been difficult to separate the fact from the fiction in terms of the racial divide in this country.  While I know there are racists that think they are better than another race, I believe there are far more people that don’t really care about the issue of race.  I have said a thousand times, “Poor is poor. It has no color.”  It is time we bonded together as a nation and realized that much of our fear is man made, created by an establishment of politicians that must find a way to control its masses.  Racism is the new boogeyman.  If we don’t think exactly as predetermined, as we are told we should, we will be labeled a racist.  I really think this is all to control us.

This week we heard the ridiculous saga of Shirley Sherrod.  This woman was taken out of context and we spent the week once again defined by racism.  During this time much else was happening.  Congress finally passed the unemployment extension.  However, they did not include the tier 5 people in this extension.  These are people that have been unemployed for more than 99 weeks.  http://all247news.com/unemployment-extension-calls-for-tier-5-addressed-to-obama-congress-growing/1979/

There is no real sympathy for these people other than platitudes of praise for their on going strength in adversity.  We also didn’t hear much about this sad statistic.  http://mentalhealthnews.org/suicide-rates-among-soldiers-increases/841674/

The suicide rates in the military are on the rise.  How can our country be at war continuously for the past nine years and not expect this breakdown in morale?  While we are busy contemplating the ridiculous story about Shirley being a racist this is going on.  http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gLEgHCUafX_i3fRDvfq626CUAyWgD9H4R3LO2

It seems that we must cut funds for education and every other thing in this country so we can continue to spend money on these two wars.  The troop surge in Afghanistan is costing our nation and our children.  Just today I saw the news that Western Michigan University is upping their tuition by 7%.  While this is all happening did you notice this week when Hillary Clinton went to give aid to Pakistan?  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/07/19/pakistan-aid-hillary-clin_n_650776.html

The point of all of this is if we are kept busy with the current boogeyman, we will be kept out of the loop of what is really happening in our country.  We must stop fearing the boogeyman and force our country to step up and do the right thing by its citizens.  So, yes, if this means more taxes for the rich and wealthy to help pay for these things that must be done, then I am all for it.  If politicians truly can’t find a way to extract our soldiers from these two wars, then let the rich pay for it.  If politicians can’t find a way to fund health care, then let the rich pay for it.  If politicians can’t find ways to fund our schools, then let the rich pay for it.  If the rich pay enough, maybe we will get out of the wars.  If the rich pay enough, maybe they will work harder to open some factories here so they can benefit from some special tax break and hire more workers.  I’m all for taxing the rich because the rich will make sure some things get done when they feel the pinch that the rest of us feel on a daily basis.  I’m tired of hearing about yet another rich person’s wedding before I hear about real news.  Aren’t you? Today we are bombarded with the Clinton wedding garbage.  Who really cares?  Not me.  I want real news and I want the wealthy to step up and save our country.  I think if you start to have some sympathy for the wealthy, just check out what these athletes get paid and think about your own hard earned paycheck.  http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/more/specials/fortunate50/2009/index.html

Do we really need to see the wealthy and yet another of their many weddings?

This comes from the “Who Rules America” website.  http://sociology.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/power/wealth.html

In terms of types of financial wealth, the top one percent of households have 38.3% of all privately held stock, 60.6% of financial securities, and 62.4% of business equity. The top 10% have 80% to 90% of stocks, bonds, trust funds, and business equity, and over 75% of non-home real estate. Since financial wealth is what counts as far as the control of income-producing assets, we can say that just 10% of the people own the United States of America.

If you still have sympathy and feel that you can trust the political system check out this article and think about how these people vote for their own best interests.  http://www.cnn.com/2003/ALLPOLITICS/06/13/senators.finances/

It is time for the wealthy to step up and help our country climb out of this recession, get out of these wars, fix our infrastructure and take care of our economic problems.  Let’s stop fearing the political created boogeyman and start working together for logical solutions to our many problems.  Let’s stop putting the rich on a pedestal by watching their weddings, lifestyle, games, movies and start living our life elevated by being educated to what is really going on in this country and what we might be able to do to set things right.  FDR said, “The only thing to fear is fear itself.”  The truth is the only thing to fear is an inactive electorate that is uneducated and over stimulated with the lust for wealth and afraid of the current boogeyman.

I just had to add this list of the richest members of Congress….both Dems and Repubs:

http://www.businessinsider.com/the-richest-members-of-congress-2009-11#olympia-j-snowe-r-maine-1

Women in Politics and What’s in the Fridge?

  • Posted on March 6, 2010 at 2:22 pm

How to Keep People From Stealing Your Food at Work

I was having lunch with a couple teachers in the teacher work room.  Another male teacher walked in took bottled water out of a bag in the bottom of the fridge and said, “I guess it’s unclaimed, so I claim it.”  This made me think about the differences between men and women.  There was another female teacher there and I said to her, “You would never take anything out of the fridge that didn’t belong to you, right?”  She said, “Of course not.”  So the other male teachers in the room pointed out that if something has been in there a long time and it’s unused, they would all eat it.  I told them, “So that’s why I was losing my bottled water a couple years ago.  I now drink it at room temperature and keep in my office.”  What this discussion meant for me was there is a vast difference between men and women and what they think about their place in the world.

The men felt entitled to take whatever was in the fridge as long as it had been unclaimed for awhile.  It almost sounded like they look in the fridge daily and make a mental note of what’s been in there for awhile.  Women on the other hand would never take somebody else’s food for several reasons.  One, they think it’s stealing.  They know it doesn’t belong to them and they don’t feel “entitled” to it.  Two, they don’t know what’s in it, who has touched it or how old it is and finally there is that whole germ phobia thing!

All of this made me think about men, women, politics and living.  Living with ten brothers I know the women in our family took second place at best.  The men always came first in everything.  When my oldest brother brought his future wife home she couldn’t believe all of the baked goods my mom had laid out on the counter tops.  She wondered what they were all for.  She thought maybe a bake sale or something.  By the end of the night she knew it was for all those boys.  They ate until the cows came home, all kinds of pies, bread, kolaches, all of it was gone.  My mother was a saint cooking for them.  When the boys were young we lived on a farm and they worked out in the barn.  My older sisters worked in the house trying to keep it clean with all those boys.  One day my parents were gone and my older sister Colleen was in charge.  She had just washed the kitchen floor and Paul, who was younger than my sister came in with his dirty boots from the barn.  She told him not to walk on her drying kitchen floor as she had just mopped it.  He ignored her as men are apt to do and walked on it any way.  Colleen took a broom and cracked him on the head with it.  I think she thought that was the only way to knock some sense into him.  I think the broom broke but that defiance that my brother showed came out in many ways from the males in our household.  One of the boys was five, who will remain nameless to protect him from adult embarrassment, just in case he finds this blog, was too lazy to go inside to take off all of his snow equipment; you know the old snow suit, etc.  So, he would soil his pants so his older sisters would have to clean him up when he came in from playing.  Luckily for me I was the youngest in the family.  He also had the nerve to tell mom that he would kick in the china hutch glass if he couldn’t have his way.  He didn’t get his way and the glass was gone.  None of us girls would ever have acted that way.  Now plenty of those ten boys would never have done that either but it’s interesting that some boys grow into men that feel “entitled” to certain things that don’t necessarily belong to them.

My brothers as youngsters and even as adults have never shown great respect for their sisters.  I don’t know why.  I just know that I have been disrespected in many ways by them over the years, not all of them, but a lot of them.  I don’t think they are so different from most men.  Some men from a younger generation that are growing up today may be different.  They help out in the house and all of that but from my stand point I still see them as thinking certain things can belong to them after a certain amount of time.  You know if it’s unclaimed or something.  I think when boys are young the whole world revolves around them and they grow up thinking that the world is their oyster for them to pluck whatever they want from it.  Women on the other hand are usually brought up to nurture.  We don’t think about our needs like most men do so it affects our choices.  The effect of all of this is that women do not feel that they are entitled to anything that they don’t work for themselves.

If you think back to the 2008 election many of us saw the bullying of both Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin.  Both of these women seem to make men a little bit crazy.  I can’t quite figure out why.  Even though their basic politics are different, they are both strong women that carry themselves in a confident way.  They both are competent politicians that have proven records of that competency whether you agree with them or not.  So why were they able to be bullied by the press and the other politicians?  Why in this age was this allowed?  I’m still scratching my head over it but I have a better understanding after the male teachers were able to take what they wanted from the fridge and justify doing so.

I think that male politicians will take what they want from the election because they feel entitled to it.  Who is this woman, you know Hillary or Sarah, who so daringly tried to take what rightfully, belongs to them?  She’s just a woman.  Men know the difference because they have been entitled all of their lives.  When Hillary Clinton thought she could run for the office of the president she didn’t count on the male “club” of senators and congressmen that secretly went to Barack to get him to run.  She wasn’t part of that male club so no matter what kind of networking she was used to she could not possibly be part of that club.  The club allowed a few women in only because they could “control” them.  One that comes to mind is Claire McCaskill who openly admitted to supporting Barack because her teenage children wanted her to do so.  I remember my teenage son wanting me to do a lot of stuff, you know because everyone else is doing it.  I was a real spoil sport as a parent!  This boy’s “club” used their powerful influence to make Barack president.  They didn’t want a woman and they surely didn’t want Hillary Clinton.  They allowed Barack Obama and his cohorts to treat Hillary with much disrespect by using everything from music to racism.  Nobody screamed, “Foul!”  On the other hand Barack could do anything he wanted from playing foul music about “bitches”; you know that was secretly Hillary, to hanging out with Reverend Wright to having Bill Ayers host his first fund raiser for getting into politics.  Nobody cared because “boys will be boys”.  That attitude has let many men stay in politics when women can’t even get their shoe through the door.

After the primary and Sarah Palin was brought on the scene much energy was spent trying destroy her character.  Men were scared of this woman that could draw crowds bigger than Obama.  She was made into a cartoon figure.  Men acted like they would like sleeping with her but wouldn’t want to have her as Vice President.  She was totally disrespected by the media and the other male politicians and even the people John McCain supplied on her staff.  Is there any wonder why more women aren’t in this dirty game of politics?  Personally, I think our country is sick of the same old politicians and maybe it’s time to get some women in that don’t necessarily feel like they are entitled to everything they see.  Maybe more women of the caliber of Hillary and Sarah would think twice about spending my money because they wouldn’t feel entitled to it.  I’m just thinking out loud here.  The men have been running the show for years whether they be Democrats or Republicans and frankly I don’t think they’re doing all that well.  I would love to see more women in politics.  I know they will think twice before they get us into some stupid war and they’ll think twice before they send my kid to war or your kid to war.  They will also think twice before they waste my money on some stupid program that some lobbyist dreamed up.  They will do this because they don’t feel entitled to anything they see in the fridge.  No, women will think twice before they grab anything free out of our fridge.  That’s the kind of person I want to see in politics!

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