Posts tagged ‘politics’

Hoping for Paradise

In my musings this weekend, going about my daily business, I have come to this conclusion:

The two main problems in the world today are: 1. Fixation on possession, and 2. Negative labeling of critical/divergent thinking.

Problem #1: Fixation on Possession.

Why do we have so many people dying of starvation or living below the standard of living, while others have the freedom to go shopping and to the movies every weekend? And still others have expensive cars, summer houses, yachts, and personal planes? Because people believe they are entitled, and they don’t like to share.

What drives me craziest about this mentality is when it comes to class differences. I’ve come to realize that I differ from people politically because I do not believe anyone is entitled to more than anyone else. I still envision an ideal society in which there is plenty to go around, and everyone shares in the wealth. If that were to mean that I would have to give up some of my trips, gadgets, outings, etc, so that there would not be a single person starving, I could understand and live with that. (But then again, I’m a fairly frugal person to begin with.) However, society seems to have the opposite philosophy. If you are poor, it’s because you don’t work hard enough. If you are rich, you earned it, and it’s not fair to take away the fruits of your labor. Now, as a teacher, I’ve come to know some parents who are at that bottom of the social class totem pole, and they are certainly NOT lazy. In fact, I would say they work HARDER than the average person, sometimes paying for it physically in their packing job, factory jobs, cleaning work, and the like. Besides the difficulty of these jobs, some adults work more than one job to make ends meet, having limited time off and very little daily free time. And they are fortunate compared to others!

Another area of possession that I’m particularly passionate about is land possession. Why does land need to be possessed? The Native Americans were comfortable sharing with us (until we began pushing them aside). If land can really be “owned”, then we are skilled thieves. We, the United States in particular, have stolen land from many people. We’ve stolen it from the Native Americans, first and foremost, which was one of the biggest crimes of our history . We’ve also stolen from Mexico in the Mexican-American War, and from various European countries. And that’s just our past. Every year our corporations are stealing resources from around the world, and then sometimes trying to sell them back to its own people!

I am amazed when people get upset about those “illegals” who are “taking over our country.” Who are many of these “illegals” they are referring to? Mexicans. Many of native descent. So, yes, think about this. They were here before we were. Switch perspective, and now we’re the illegal ones.

Problem #2: Negative Labeling of Critical/Divergent Thinking.

Think about this for a moment: What do you call an idea that challenges a conclusion established by societal authority? A conspiracy theory. What kind of connotation does that term have? What are people called when they challenge the established government? Socialists. Anarchists. Communists. What connotation do those words have?

We live in a society that claims to support and encourage critical thinking skills. It’s even thrown in our Language Arts objectives. But that’s not what society really wants. (I know, I know. This is a “conspiracy theory”, right?) What society really wants is a people that will fall in line. Lemmings that will follow the masses. That’s why our media have all begun to merge into clones. And that’s why our government wants you to pick a side, shut up, and stay behind the line! Don’t forget our rigid two-party system and rigged candidates. (If you’re a supporter of Ralph Nader or Ron Paul you know what I mean. If you don’t, check it out, anyway.) And if we want to get involved in another country, it’s always their fault, never ours.  So, think of it this way, if you were a parent, and you kept getting phone calls about how your child was involved in yet another fight, what would you think?  (Unless, I suppose, you’re one of those parents who thinks “Not my child.”)


So, yes, I believe the poor will always be with us – if we are not willing to share. And yes, we will continue to have a population who cannot think critically, as long as we tell them what to think. Our perfect world is out there, as long as we learn to look at what we have and what we think in a whole different way.

Image: digitalart /

Why My Students Are Not, and Will Never Be, My Children

Someone once told me at a workshop, or in some other sort of “Rah! Rah! Be a great teacher!” situation, that you have to treat your students as if they were your own children. I think this is a ridiculous suggestion. I will never be able to do that. This is why:

1. I will never be her real parents, and I would never presume to take that position away from her parents.

2. I can’t tell her that she had better not talk to an adult or other student in a disrespectful way or (insert other problem behavior here)  or she will lose her favorite privileges, such as time with friends, time at the movies, etc.

3. I can’t read to her every night before bed and read with her by my side — me in my big rocker, and her in her mini-rocker.

4. I can’t make sure her homework is done, that she’s reading and studying a bit every night.

5. I can’t show her how much I love to read and write (I don’t want it to  look like I’m slacking off at work!)

6. I can’t keep an eye on what she does at night and make sure I know her friends and where she goes in the evening.

7. I can’t make sure the TV stays turned off and the videogame system is hidden (or doesn’t exist!).

8. I can’t take her for a bike ride or a walk with the dog.  I can’t play board games and card games with her every night.

9. I can’t take her to parks, museums, shows, or take her with me on vacations and traveling.

10. I can’t talk about her day during dinner and rub her back when it’s been a bad one.

11. . I can’t show her the importance of recycling.  (Only paper is recycled at the school.)

12. I can’t make sure she lives in an environment that is limited in chemicals, using natural cleaners and limiting plastics.

13. I can’t make sure she has a healthy breakfast, lunch, and dinner and forbid her to eat school lunch or breakfast. I can’t make sure she takes her daily vitamins and gets daily fresh air and exercise. I can’t discourage her from drinking milk (lactose and antibiotics, and RBGH!) and juice (synthetic sugars, such as sucralose) – the only two beverages offered by the school, unless she buys water.

14. I will not be able to encourage her not to say the pledge of allegiance and tell her why. I can’t encourage her to pursue her own interests during the day, at her own pace, at her own schedule. I wouldn’t feel comfortable telling her not to trust the government and corporations because they are interconnected and shouldn’t be. I can’t share my political feelings at all.

15. She will never know and adore my cats and dog, nor my boyfriend, my sister, my mom, my dad, and my grandparents.

16. She will never see me cry, will never see me at my very worst, nor see me at my very best.

17. I can’t talk about how I live with my partner.

18. I can’t talk about sex, what it is, what it can mean to a person, when to have it, and how to safe.

19. I will never be able to tell her that I am perfectly fine with her being gay and that it doesn’t matter what religion she chooses or whether she picks a religion at all, because really, all religions and spirituality are leading to the same place.

20. I will never be able to be affectionate in the way that I would want to be with my own children. In this day of “don’t touch” and “leave the door open” and “never be alone with a child”, can you imagine me, a teacher, making up a student’s hair? Giving a student a great big hug and kiss any chance I got (let alone once), holding the student against me and telling her that she is wonderful and the best thing that has ever happened to me and that I love her more than all the world, no matter what could possibly happen?

21. I will never be able to tell my student that she is perfect, just the way she is, and that it doesn’t matter what grades she gets, what she gets on state tests, and whether or not she goes to college, as long as she is happy and at peace with herself and the world.

Image: David Castillo Dominici /

Let’s get together. . .

Do most of the problems with our country (the good ol’ U.S. of A.) revolve around our two-party system?  Do we all have our panties or boxer briefs tied up in a bunch because we live in a system designed to work against itself, designed to pit us against each other, just as Patriots vs. Loyalists, Native Americans vs. settlers, North vs. South, Axis vs. Allies, Democracy vs. Communism, and Axis of Evil vs???. . . .  well, you get the idea.

It is nearly impossible to change an opponent’s viewpoint , as much as we’d like to believe otherwise.  (Would you be willing to change sides yourself?  Not me!)  As long as we split ourselves into 2 sides, there will always be a winner and always be a loser.

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