On October 11, 2012, I wrote the following post: Do you know ALEC? If not, you should. And you should be afraid. Continue reading “Connecting the Dots, Part 2”
There is no irony for me today, no sense of amusement that our recognized Inauguration Day falls today on the same Monday when we honor the life and recognize the too-early death of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Yesterday, in our congregation, we sang this anthem and spent a time considering not just its historical significance but also how far we still have to go before we can truly say that all men and women are free in this country.
Too often in the last few weeks have I heard that we are all entitled to keep our guns, that the KKK would not have been controlled without them. And yet, I have come to realize the truth, so simply stated and yet so lost in the mists of time, that without them slavery would have ended before the Declaration of Independence was signed by rich white men who made decisions on behalf of other rich white men.
Given our past year’s worth of revelations, I am sad to say that so little has changed.
I can boil our country’s problems down to keywords. I don’t have to talk about them. I only have to say their names and you will know what I am talking about. That is the awesome and terrible power of the Internet and of the media. From Hurricane Sandy to Sandy Hook, from Aurora to Afghanistan, Algeria, Syria and Israel. From Pakistan to Palestine, there is great injustice in the world, but no less great than right here in the good old U. S. of A.
Selma, Montgomery, Memphis, Jackson, Birmingham and Atlanta stand as just a few reminders of our country’s dark past – one I don’t share except by the color of my skin, because my family did not arrive in Brooklyn, NY until the turn of the last century. Although I don’t share that past, I am no less appalled. Rather, I am learning to make changes so that we can truly fulfill our potential as leaders in democracy and freedom for all.
Today, we have a new form of slavery – just as despicable and yet so little recognized that we prefer to think of THEM and justify all sorts of horrible things because of our obviously European roots. The “war on drugs,” rights to gun ownership, arguments against affirmative action, public school access – these all have a common thread of race that ties them together and keeps our classes apart.
Public schools have become prisons designed to indoctrinate instead of inspiring our children to do better. We want our children to toe the line, to become polite, subservient cogs in the machinery of our corporate system. We eject those who fail to fit, forcing most into what amounts to a lifetime of slavery. We should be appalled at the statistics, not just of the prison populations but of the total number of people we lose every year to violence in general.
In Australia, after a mass shooting in 1996 led to sweeping gun ownership reforms, the University of Sidney launched a web site which I discovered yesterday in response to a conversation on Facebook about gun ownership. The conversation started with an image on the Being Liberal Facebook Page, but it didn’t end there, because a friend posted a link to gun homicides in the US, thinking (I assume) that was the end of the discussion. The fact is, his numbers were deceptive because they ignore all the OTHER deaths by gun in this country and elsewhere. It’s a sad testament to the power of the National Rifle Association that we have to go outside our country to find accurate statistics for gun violence.
From their own web site: “GunPolicy.org is hosted by the Sydney School of Public Health, [at] the University of Sydney. The School provides internationally recognised leadership in public health by advancing and disseminating knowledge — in this case, supporting global efforts to prevent gun injury.”
The Unitarian Universalists have launched a new campaign: Thirty Days of Love. The movement calls for us to think about mass incarceration not just to take criminals off our streets, but as an opportunity to see WHO is being swept into prison and the effect imprisonment has on our country.
On August 28, 1963, a little over two months before I was born, Rev. King gave his “I have a dream” speech, not quite 15 miles from where I live now. It saddens me to know that we still have so far to go to achieve Rev. King’s dream.
President Barack Obama took the oath of office yesterday, so that he can carry on the work he began four years ago. There is still a great deal to do, so long as there are still people who think of him as “uppity” and unfit for office simply because of the color of his skin. I don’t often pray, and seldom to god, but I will pray that the people in this country and elsewhere learn to understand and savor our differences and to choose responsibility over prejudice.
We have a long way to go.
These links represent a variety of violations to privacy, personal liberty, even truth.
Especially disturbing, the Contraception video, which seems to imply that our coming Baby Boom problem would be cured by breeding enough children to help us cope with the coming onslaught of elderly and sick, but which fails utterly to discuss the realities of raising children specifically to care for their elders. How would this be any different from slavery?
Under Legal, racial profiling gone horribly wrong, not just for those whose rights have been violated, but for the officers forced to comply with the quotas. Turn these tables and imagine that these officers are teachers trying to keep their jobs and being judged for their students’ test scores, and you begin to see the problem with the assumption that the only way to know a public servant is doing her job is by the volume of reports she files each week.
The Hunted and the Hated
An Inside Look at the NYPD’s Stop-and-Frisk Policy (Upworthy):
US court says reading other people’s online email is OK, privacy be damned (Naked Security/Sophos):
The Lunatic Fringe
You Deserve to Know the Truth: Contraception
Christian Group Finds Gay Agenda in an Anti-Bullying Day (The New York Times):
Let’s Do Lunch! Religious Right Attacks Kids Making New Friends in School (Americans United):
New Metro Ads Protest ‘Hate Speech’
Religious coalition calls on Metro to donate the money it received from a controversial ad campaign (NBC4 Washington):
The School Voucher Crisis (Center for Inquiry):
http://www.centerforinquiry.net/advocacy/the_school_voucher_crisis/ and http://www.centerforinquiry.net/uploads/attachments/OPP_School_Vouchers.pdf
A kinder way to tackle truancy (The Guardian):
Back to October 15, 2012 “36 Windows…”
I don’t get it. We mandate by federal law No Child Left Behind, then pull funding from schools to ensure that the only thing teachers can teach are the ways to pass the tests mandated by NCLB. Who wins here? Certainly not the kids.
I want to rant all over this but I’ve got a headache and I’m trying to work on too many things around here. I could flail around wildly trying to affix blame for where we are educationally, but there’s very little point and in the end I won’t have accomplished anything useful.
Education should be this country’s number one priority. Without it, our kids won’t be able to get themselves out of our houses, and we’ll fall even farther behind the other countries in our ability to compete and grow. If a kindergarten teacher can’t even take the time to help teach a kid to tie his shoelaces, then we’ve done something terrible to our educational system. Driving teachers out because we can’t afford to pay them, increasing class sizes because we can’t afford the teachers, making teachers follow strict guidelines over what they should teach and when burns out all but the most dedicated (or least flexible) of people.
When are we going to wake up and do something about this?
How blindingly stupid can we get?!?
Stupid, or maybe evil. Sometimes I think that certain people, having failed to get prayer into public schools, are now trying to destroy them.
Down here the state budget shortfall is resulting in furlough days for state employees, including public school teachers. If there were teacher unions down here they’d have a much more difficult time of it.
Back in Reagan’s time the conservatives wanted to “starve the beast.” Well, there may be times when smaller government is a good idea, but starving the beast to death is insane. Do these people really want to get elected to the government in order to destroy it? Isn’t that treason?
Sadly we can get pretty darn stupid. Neither political party wants to work together because that would mean compromise and that would mean a loss of power. Cant they seem it is not productive to play us verses them? and hat is sadder is that it seems the majority of people can’t see that they are playing a divide and concur game. And the ones who really pay teh price are the children.
I’m afraid it will only get worse. As a voting bloc, parents of school-age children will lose out to retiring baby boomers within the next 10 years. Guess what parts of the budget will become untouchable?
Yeah. I have a rant going in my head but it’ll just make my head explode if I let it out. So yeah. Pretty effin stupid, is the answer to your question.
CNN. Gotta love them. Better than the Enquirer any day…
The good… [No longer CNN but NY Times, because this is the Memory Hole.]
Gov. Bush vows to find ways to continue nation’s first program
TALLAHASSEE, Florida — The Florida Supreme Court struck down a statewide voucher system Thursday that allowed children to attend private schools at taxpayer expense — a program Gov. Jeb Bush considered one of his proudest achievements.
The bad… [No longer CNN but Media Matters. See above.]
Evangelist links Israeli leader’s stroke to ‘dividing God’s land’
(CNN) — Television evangelist Pat Robertson suggested Thursday that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s stroke was divine retribution for the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, which Robertson opposed.
[Robertson later apologized here, because he was threatened with fund withdrawal: Robertson apologizes to Sharon’s son]
And finally, the ugly… [This one IS CNN.]
Reports: No. 1 retailer apologizes for racial links on Web site, spoofs poor holiday sales in song.
I don’t have an icon to reflect the proper sense of mixed disgust and relief. Must try to do something about that…