Archive for September, 2005

25
Sep
05

STOP ADAPTING! (after this post)

Start calling a spade a spade. If someone lies, call them a liar. If they steal, call them a thief. Either way, don’t call them a President. Forget shielding people’s feelings from the harsh reality of life. We’re all adults here. We need to stop softening terms to make them sound nice. If someone is wrong, don’t just say you disagree. Tell them they are wrong. Say, “You have the right to believe what you want, but you are WRONG!” Facts are not merely opinions. That’s why they call them FACTS. Leading to my next point…

Don’t be afraid to let it get ugly. We’re not playing a game here. This is the only life you get. Don’t you want to live it in the best conditions possible? Then why do you allow these conditions to be compromised by every politician that comes along? This is your country. This is your life. Don’t let someone else control such a large portion of it. You’re going to have to argue, debate, and maybe even endure some things you’re uncomfortable with, but imagine the pay-off. You can’t just hope things will get better. You have to make it happen. If not you, then who?

Be aggressive. Pick one issue and stick to it. Talk about other issues if you want, but decide what is most important and defend it. Talk to everyone about it. For some reason Americans have stopped discussing politics. We don’t talk about it with friends or family. We discuss it with strangers because there’s no risk. We don’t have to deal with the consequences of offending anyone. Politics is not religion. You’re not trying change someone’s entire belief system, you’re only trying to educate them on one issue. You are giving them information they didn’t have before to illustrate a point. You are not trying to convince them that an invisible man controls the universe. You are not crazy. You are passionately defending FACTS.

Don’t get distracted. Now that you’ve chosen an issue, don’t get sucked into arguments about others. Relate them back to your issue because that’s what you’re most knowledgeable about. If you can’t, opt out of the discussion. You’re smart, but you don’t know everything. You lose credibility when you aren’t 100% sure of what you’re saying. Trust me, anyone in opposition will attack you, and they’ll try to catch you off-guard. If they get off-track, bring them back around. Control the terms of the debate.

Buy carefully. Do your homework and don’t buy from companies who support things you disagree with. If you don’t like the bovine growth hormone, only eat Ben & Jerry’s. If you think Mormons are stupid, don’t shop at Albertson’s or Acme. If you have a conscience, stay away from Halliburton and diamonds. Trade-in the SUV for a hybrid. Better yet, get a bio-diesel car and invest in vegetable oil. If you can afford it, buy organic. It’s better for you.

Run for office. You don’t have to be the President of the United States if you can make a difference by being the President of the School Board. Thee are hundreds of local positions just begging for educated people to run for them. You don’t need a law degree, though it always helps to study it a little. Make a difference in your community by running for a position in the area of your pet issue. Don’t run for Head Dog Catcher if you would be of better use on the School Board, City Council, or Chamber of Commerce.

Tell people what you care about. Get into the practice of checking facts, especially when it comes to politicians and the media. If you find discrepancies, write them down and record the facts. Write a letter to the person who was at fault. Send the letter to local, state, and federal politicians, local newspapers, friends, family members, and anyone else you think should know. Invest in stamps.

Network with friends. Talk to people who are like-minded. You won’ regret it. If you haven’t heard, we can learn things from each other. That’s why discussion and debate is so important. When you talk to someone who is on the same page, you learn new ways to defend your position. Benefit from the experience of others. Organize into a group and build a bigger network.

Be visible. Make T-shirts and do things together in support of your issue. Don’t forget to call the media. Sponsor sports teams. Hold fundraisers. Get involved in local campaigns. Recruit small-business owners and publish a list of your issue-friendly services. Support people who support you. Recruit lawyers and hold protests. Recruit teachers and hold seminars. Get people from all walks of life and make sure they’re actively involved. No one gets to throw money at the organization and stand idly by. Adopt a do-something-or-get-out-of-my-way attitude and stick to it. Demand that those around you be active participants in their communities.

20
Sep
05

Same-Sex America

We watched a heart-wrenching documentary last night about same-sex couples and their fight for civil liberties in Massachusetts. I was impressed with the filmmaker and how well he illustrated the inequalities between same-sex and heterosexual couples. What really got to us was that if a same sex couple wants to adopt a child, both names cannot be on the adoption certificate. This means that if the adopting parent dies, that child will be put in foster care rather than remain in the care of the living parent. Also, same-sex couples are not eligible for any of the benefits afforded to heterosexual couples. This indicates a clear bias against same-sex couples, and a definite violation of their civil liberties. There is no way around it, and nothing is going to convince me otherwise. As for the infidelity argument, one of the couples begging for their right to get married were together for 49 years. The others featured in the documentary had all been together for 10 years or more. It broke my heart to watch my fellow Americans fighting so hard for rights that many of us take for granted, and failing again and again.

19
Sep
05

Partisanship

I can’t help but notice the US versus THEM tone that has penetrated the internet, the media, and the government. It seems we don’t have anything we can come together on anymore, and the public is just as divided as everyone else. People think that it’s Republican vs. Democrat, but it’s not. They are ALL corrupt and hey ALL need to go. The Republicans may have made the latest mistakes, but the Democrats haven’t done a whole lot to try and stop them. There are two or three honest politicians at the federal level, and far too few in state and local governments. NOTHING is going to be done until the people arise from the contentment of complacency and actually DO something. But is there anything that can be done? Are we headed for another civil war? Will it be over religion this time, or money like it was last time? This type of division cannot lead to good things.

17
Sep
05

200 Billion

The President announced that the government will be spending 200 billion of our tax dollars on rebuilding New Orleans. I won’t mention that he’s already spent that amount in Iraq, or that the deficit at the end of this quarter will be 333 billion dollars. It’s not important that 84% of the displaced say they will not return to the city. Let’s forget about the fact that it’s not the best place for a city to begin with. There is more than enough money in the private sector to rebuild New Orleans, and I’m sure plenty of motivation goes along with it. Why should my tax dollars pay for it?

14
Sep
05

CompUSA

We needed to get some electronic equipment today. We went to Bust Buy and would have been better off staying there, but my husband thought what he needed may be cheaper at CompUSA. We tend to stay away from there because employees tend to follow my husband around the store. (Shhhh! Don’t tell anyone. He’s brown.) We weren’t really in the mood for their particular brand of racism, but it was enough savings to warrant the trip. I wanted a computer program, so I wandered away to get what I needed. About five people approached me in the course of my 20 minute visit to ask me if I needed help. Though an employee was never more than five feet away from my husband, no one approached him. They stared at him. They followed him. But they didn’t ask if he needed help. While we walked to the cashier, my husband and I were discussing the marked differences in our shopping experience. We passed by a manager on the way who asked if we had a problem with the service. We related how many times each of us had been approached and the manner in which he had been followed around the store, all the while, the Hispanic cashiers behind the manager nodded in agreement with our story. We also mentioned that we didn’t like to shop at CompUSA because we had the same experience every time we went there. The manager went through great lengths to try to convince us that they didn’t practice profiling, while the cashiers made expressions to indicate just the opposite. How can anyone say that we are living in the “land of the free” when some of our citizens experience racism in some form on a daily basis? Why hasn’t our education system corrected the problem of stereotyping the races? If a Russian, Israelite, Palestinian, and Korean all live on the continent of Asia, aren’t they all Asian?

09
Sep
05

All I Want is a Room Somewhere…

What do you do when you are the minority in a country and you know you will never be truely free there? The Pilgrims would suggest you cut and run, form your own country, and do as you wish. Considering that there are few Nations available now, what would be the current equivalent? In a so-called Democracy like this one, where the Republicratic party is in charge, shouldn’t you assume that the government, with all its failings, are a direct reflection of the people? If people really care about their government, do they ever let it descend into this pit of inadequacy?

Do you find a country that shares your ideals? Do you pretend that things will change? How long should you wait to see if they do? Do you raise your children in a country where you know the majority of people they come into contact with will have moral values drastically different and from yours that are definitely highly questionable, most certainly turning them into social outcasts? Or do you take them to a place where you know you can raise them well, with a sense of personal and social responsibilty that will carry them through the rest of their lives? Logic, sel- respect, and self-preservation would seem to dictate the latter.

06
Sep
05

REVOLT

At this moment, 47 states are launching some kind of revolt against the No Child Left Behind Act. For those who are not familiar, the Act demands a large amount of standardized testing which takes a substantial amount of time away from instruction. Teachers have spent more time preparing their students for the testing because their salaries and evaluations are partially based on how student perform on the test. A lot of instructional time is being used for this purpose, and as a result, our students are less and less prepared for life outside of the school system. Besides all of that, though the Act is a federally mandated program, states must pay for the tests themselves, causing significant strain on already tapped-out education budgets. As a teacher, I have always been a proponent of public education. Unfortunately, teaching in public school has become a canned, scripted experience. I need more creativity and autonomy in my classroom. Homeschooling and teaching in private schools is quickly becoming a more viable option. What will happen to the children left behind by the No Child Left Behind Act?




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I am not perfect. I do my best to practice what I preach, but I am human. My mantra is, "DO NO HARM". I may not always succeed, but I will always try. My goal is to be a better person today than I was yesterday.

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