It’s a scary thing…..

A leaked draft opinion from the Supreme Court.

This is what started my mind spiraling into understanding the “why.” I try to figure out how we got here again.

Roe v. Wade was decided in January 13, 1973. I was halfway to my 16th birthday. I didn’t even know about it at the time. No one had ever told me I couldn’t do things BECAUSE I was female…..YET!

Justice Alito starts by stating the obvious — that “Abortion is a profound moral issue with conflicting viewpoints.”

Isn’t this true of very court decision, law enacted and enforced, and any Executive Order made? We are a country of diverse opinions, much more so since our inception in the 18th century. Even then, we were different. Our founders had the audacity to believe that “men” could govern themselves, without monarchies, priests, rabbis, emirs or other higher powers. That “men” could be civil, debate, disagree but come to a consensus over every issue. We know that there was compromise when our Constitution was written and ratified, on many things. Many issues that would have destroyed our fledging country were pushed off for future generations to grapple with. Could still destroy it now.

We are all upset with the SCOTUS leaked draft opinion. And we want change… BUT….

You are talking about things that take time to do. Justices serve for life. Very few retire. especially these days. There are very slim margins in Congress…. Biden is not a dictator… we have a process… albeit bulky and close to broken. Trump issued executive orders… which are not laws… they get dumped with a new President is elected. Is that what you want???

Yes, Dems need to be more serious and deliberative… but being deliberative is a slow, prodding process… Our Constitution is a very conservative document for a reason. It was created while France was having their revolution as well… with mobs, beheadings and turmoil.. that scared our founders…. so they made it cumbersome so that corrections could be made but slowly. To allow for cooler heads to prevail. And there is an ebb and flow to politics… But both sides experience it. Maybe not equally but it does happen.

Should we speed it up, yes!! but that does take compromise and consensus and cooperation from the opposition. and if you’ve noticed they don’t want to play in the Dems sandbox… they want to regain power and slingshot us back to the 1850s! (and this is NOT a typo)

I always thought we needed to codify many decisions into law.. Some we did… Civil Rights comes to mind…

But many we did not. So our only recourse now is to get out and VOTE…. VOTE in overwhelming numbers. VOTE like your life depends on it. (Trust me I have to give myself this speech!). Encourage debate (not yelling) among our friends and our foes. Be direct…. ask questions….. listen for answers…… always learn… Be open to compromise without losing your core beliefs.

🧐😁😎Just my rant for the week!

Just finished a book…..

I just finished reading Louise McBain’s Claiming Camille. It was a roller-coaster ride from meeting on an escalator to happily together.

The beginning was a little choppy. Or maybe I shouldn’t start reading at midnight. The more I read, the more I got pulled in. It helped that I now live in the DMV area. So, the Metro escalators are familiar as well as other places along the way. The story was interesting. I loved the secondary characters.

The chemistry between Camille and Hannah — Whoa! And who doesn’t love a good-looking motorcycle! A purple one!

Definitely worth the read.

A little hopeful optimism for today

Hope is something we rarely talk about. Hope seems to be very rare these days. We are bombarded with pessimism and finger-pointing. We talk about how the other side is wrong. It is hard when you strongly believe something to see hope about those who do not believe the same. I know I am guilty of it. I listened to this podcast this morning. It made me think about “why” I am still proud to be a U.S. citizen. I grew up in the 1960s. (I know, I’m old.) On the south side of Chicago. For those of you younger than I am, it was before “white flight.” In fact, my family was part of the “white flight.” We moved to the suburbs when I was in 3rd or 4th grade. But this is conversation for another time. I want to talk about being a kid in the ’60s.

Growing up in the 1960s was dynamic and optimistic for me. My family was working class. My parents had bought a house but took in boarders to help pay the bills. I walked to school, feeling safe. It was a nurturing atmosphere. I believed I could do anything, no limits. I know now that wasn’t true for others of my generation. I am an only child. Somewhere along this journey, I learned to be optimistic. That things would work out if everyone worked hard enough and did their best. There were social, economic, racial disparities, I know realize but as a kid, I didn’t see them.

John F. Kennedy was the President. The economy was good. Inflation was low. Mayor Richard J. Daley was mayor. (I didn’t realize until much later what that actually meant.) Kennedy had said for us to ask what we can do for our country. He also said we could do the hard things BECAUSE they were hard. But we could do it because we were Americans and Americans didn’t shrink from something difficult. He said we were going into space and to the moon in the next ten years. And we believed him. Well, maybe not all of “we” but this individual “we” thought we could.

My child self believed all this stuff. I had hope that all things were possible. Maybe I was naivé at the time. I’m sure others would think so. I believe that was part of the reason I eventually became a teacher. Part of this optimistic me still exists but it gets buried in the disappointment and dismay I feel about today’s world.

This podcast helped me capture some of my optimism today. Give it a listen, maybe it can bring out your optimistic self.

The Future of Hope 2 – from On Being with Krista Tippet

Thoughts on a Book – Caren Werlinger’s In This Small Spot.

I just finished reading Caren J. Werlinger’s In This Small Spot. It is not a new book, in fact, its original publication was in 2007 with a reprint in 2013.

Not many things can make me cry. Music is usually the only thing. This book, In This Small Spot, has done this as well. The depth of emotions in this tome pull you into the story. The strength of Werlinger’s writing creates a world that few ever experience. And the few that do ever talk about.

This is the first book in a very, long time that I have read over only 48 hours.

The depth and breadth of Werlinger’s research is apparent even if I hadn’t read the acknowledgments. She draws you into to the monastic life of a postulant and eventually a nun. The struggles of leaving one life to create another.

She shows through flashbacks, how people are shaped by their experiences. How joy can grow from sorrow. How to live a life to its fullest. I believe it is a perfect book for our turbulent times in many ways.

Using her characters’ reflection and introspection, you may find yourself examining your priorities as you read. It is not the easiest read but it is worth it. I found it led me to ask questions about many things. I think you might as well.

Thank you, Caren Werlinger, for this wonderful book.

Where do we go from now?

Where did we lose our optimism?

Lose our idea that the future would be better?

Lose that idea that JFK put into words?

Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country?

The idea that we can go to the moon and beyond.

That we move forward.

That love is more powerful than hate.

That people are more important than “stuff.”

That we learn everyday from everything that happens

Everything is a lesson.

Life is transient.

We will all die some day.

This scares us.

We don’t WANT to die.

Wealth has become our goal in life.

WHY?

We can’t take it with us.

A loaf of bread that cost 25 cents years ago now costs 3 dollars.

Today’s bread is not better than yesterday’s bread.

We need to TALK to each other.

Where are we going?

What do we want?

How can we live with our mistakes?

How do we move past our errors?

How do we get “there” from “here?”

We need to change.

Our world needs to be revisited and revised.

There is no such thing as scarcity but there are those who amass wealth.

But having wealth is like sitting on a mountain of sand.

Wealth is fleeting.

The more you grab for wealth

The more you can lose your soul.

The only constant in our world is change.

Every day is something different.

Every thought is fleeting.

Every footstep disappears into the wind.

We will NOT get out of this world alive.

No matter how long you live,

You will die.

This is not morbid,

It is a fact.

We cannot outrun it, push it away, hide from it.

Sunrise, sunset,

Beginnings, endings

These are inevitable.

We fear the unknown.

We fear what fear what we don’t know

We are terrified of what we don’t understand.

We fear what is different from what we know

We fear those are different from us.

We have been taught to fear.

Instead of seeing difference as opportunity,

As a chance to learn,

To expand our thoughts,

To feel new feelings,

To embrace more people.

Society has taught us to be be terrified.

I must have missed that day.

I am rarely terrified.

I look at the new as opportunity, not pain.

I wander, I learn, I grow.

Always.

Where were they?

I have a question for my friends. I have seen/heard that our President, his son, and Rudy Guiliani were saying “we’re” coming to get you during Wednesday unlawful assault on our nation’s Capitol.

Did I miss something? Where were they? I didn’t notice them on site. Oh, that’s correct, they were under a tent on the White House lawn. Having a party and watching on TV. Drinking, eating, laughing. Having, what looked like, a really fun time.

While those who feel aggrieved by what these people have told them were breaking the law and rioting through OUR Capitol, they were celebrating what they had begun. Not by participating and supporting their followers but by soliciting and taking money from them and partying. Was this the equivalent of “fiddling while Rome burned?” Sounds like it.

I am hoping that those who have grievances understand that there are peaceful ways to address them. Vote, get involved in your local, state and federal governments, form peaceful groups that can petition the governments you feel have aggrieved you. Work peacefully to change the system where you see inequities. But remember there are more viewpoints and opinions than just yours. You must understand that there are many sides to every situation and story. Our country, flawed as it is, was born through compromise. Compromise which has set up some of our inequities because they have never been confronted and dealt with.

Equality of its citizenry, its genders, it’s multiple ethnicities, it’s social statuses, the economic inequalities. These things have NEVER truly been confronted and dealt with. They have been given short term patches, ignored, and allowed to grow and fester.

This is why learning and understanding our history as a nation is so important. Not the sanitized history that you learned in grade and high school. That’s a lot of propaganda. I know, I have taught it.

We need to own up to our failures as well and laud our successes. This is how we become the “city on the hill” that others can look to in the future. But we have to acknowledge our shortcomings, our failures before we can trumpet our successes.

I have been ready to do this for a number of years. My friends, students and colleagues can attest to that. I am still very proud to be a United States citizen. But I am saddened and embarrassed by the behavior of my fellow citizens. I am reaching out to everyone to come together rationally and peacefully to figure out how we move forward.

Trust me, I am as passionate as you are. But I will fight to the death for you to be able to PEACEABLY voice your opinions and ideas, will you do the same for people like me?

Happy Holidays to one and all.

It’s the time of year where we celebrate! We reflect on the past year, gather our loved ones together, and resolve for the next year to be better.

This year has seemed so much longer than “just” a year. It started with promise for some, trepidation for others but it morphed into anger, fear, hate, violence and inanity for almost everyone. Myself included.

I am a “cockeyed optimist.” I have always believed that humankind is innately “good.” This past year has sorely tested my beliefs.

I am a member of the “baby-boom” generation. We grew up believing there was nothing that we could not do. (at least some of us who were white) I was never told I couldn’t do anything but I did learn that hard truth as a teen. I remained optimistic most of the time.

This is the time of year I look to holy books, philosophies and ponder what could be.

Most religious texts talk of many things. Struggles, rules, regulations, trials, professions of fealty and faith. But as far as I can tell, they all speak of acceptance, inclusion and welcoming all who come into your world. They also speak of helping those less fortunate than ourselves, caring for the infirm, elderly, children and taking in those who need help in any way.

“It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter heaven.”

The Sermon on the Mount is something you don’t hear about these days. I’ve wondered why. So I went back and reread it in a few different versions/translations. Here’s what I read:

When we’re in a bad place is when we can open ourselves to look beyond “you” and find a truer purpose. Where we learn to accept others as they are without judging them.

When you’ve lost what you love most is when you can look outside yourself for solace and guidance.

When you accept who you are and can be content with “you,” is when you become less about “stuff” and more about happiness and contentment. We can then see how others have struggled as well and delight in their successes without malice or animosity.

This is when you begin to look beyond our material world and try to find the meaning of your life and what you want your legacy to be.

You begin to care about others. Others will care about you. You can now freely give yourself to those around you without the need for acceptance or praise.

When you accept yourself as you are, not how the world wants you to be, then you begin to see others as they are and learn that we are all unique in our own ways. And that is what makes our world so wonderful and fantastic.

When you try to bring about cooperation not division, you accept yourself and see how you and everyone fits into the world. Everyone has a purpose.

Once you have accomplished the above, and can follow it, then you stick to your beliefs despite the disapproval and hatred of others. Your persistence will bring you more love and more peace.

When you remain true to these things even when you are ridiculed by others – –

This is when you are blessed!

It is said a rising tide lifts all boats but that’s not true. If some boats are too low, they will sink. We need to think about how our policies and economies affect all of those around us. If all of us are prosperous is when our society and the world improves.

How do we want to be remembered and judged?

Did you help those less fortunate? Give them food, shelter, nourishment, clothing? Provide adequate healthcare, visit them in whatever situation/illness imprisoned them?

If you failed to do this in any situation, as individuals or as a nation, then you have reneged on your promise and devotion to your God, Yahweh, Allah, Buddha, other sacred group and even most philosophers.

WE do not know why we are here on this minuscule planet.

I refuse to think it is for NO purpose. I believe we are here to learn, help others and love each other as we are. That we should care for each other unconditionally. That we MUST accept each other or we will never persist to the next level of existence.

I still choose to be optimistic in this world. It might be because I just like being contrary. But I hope there are others who will read this and think again about the history we are currently writing.

I wish everyone a joyous season, a fruitful, safe and peaceful New Year. I wish everyone the ability and strength to look inward and find your “eternal optimist” again.

Above all, I love each and everyone of you.

Sometimes, I wonder……

Learning is by nature curiosity… prying into everything, reluctant to leave anything, material or immaterial, unexplained. – Philo of Alexandria

Actually, I wonder all the time.

A few years ago, the College of Education at the University of South Florida, where I worked at the time, was trying to boost enrollment. You see, undergraduate students were not choosing to go into teaching. It was when teachers were being blamed for all the ills in our society. Politicians, pundits and others believed teachers had undue influence over children and young adults in school. They taught “radical” ideas.

I came up with this to use to recruit more into the teaching profession: BE AN ACTIVIST. BE A TEACHER ———CHANGE THE WORLD. My boss looked at me with eyebrows raised. — “Really, that’s what you want to say?” I said of course, if people believe we have so much influence, we need to own it!

Those who know me, know I am passionate about being a teacher. I am also passionate about being a learner. I read, listen, watch and try to learn everyday of my life. This is a good radical education.

A good radical education is:

  • Loving people first.
  • Wanting for them what you want for yourself.
  • Respecting other people’s abilities to learn and act and shape their own lives.
  • Valuing their experiences as you do your own.

This is what I believe with my heart and soul. This came across my FB feed a few days back:

Isn’t this what we are supposed to do in life?

This is what the College of Education looked like when I was a student. It was one of the best in the country.

These are some of my advisees. They are great teachers. I hope I passed on some advice they can use as they move forward. The university is beginning to end it’s undergraduate education program. Times change. People change. But learning should never go out of style.

Are We a democracy, a republic, a democratic republic, or a republican democracy?

<a href=”http://<iframe frameborder=”0″ scrolling=”no” height=”130″ width=”100%” src=”https://www.wnyc.org/widgets/ondemand_player/wnycstudios/#file=/audio/json/1059606/&share=1″>Against Democracy – from this week’s On The Media.


I remember my AVC class from my senior year in HS with Mr. Gallagher. One of the best classes I had in HS. Mr. Gallagher was a city council member in our town. He forced us to think. Oh, wait….AVC – Americanism v. Communism. I’m old. It was a required course throughout most of the country. Different school districts/states called it different things, Problems of American Democracy (PAD). You would probably equate it to an simple intro to political science.


It compared different forms of government around the world. We learned how our federalist system was set up and how we had changed it over time through constitutional amendments and changes in our societal norms.


This segment of On The Media woke me up this morning. It shows how a minority group, Republicans, view our system of government and how they are changing it. Please listen to it. It’s important and helps you understand why they are doing what they are doing. The current Republicans (probably similar to the Republican Party of the late 18th century) are moving us away from democracy. They fear being the minority party. They like the power they have amassed and are attempting to exploit our system. Maybe they fear that they will be treated the way they have treated Democrats.
Those who disagree are no longer the opposition, THEY ARE THE ENEMY. And THEY must be VANQUISHED, not just beaten.

They have set up systems in many states that disenfranchise US citizens, on purpose. The rules seem benign. They’re not that extreme, are they? That you need an ID to vote, this shouldn’t be difficult, should it? My Dad never had a driver’s license. He didn’t drive. As far as I could find after he died, he did not have a picture ID of any sort. So if he was still alive, he would not be able to vote in many states now. But I bet if he showed up at his polling place, they would let him without any hassle. (think about think about post-Civil War through the 1960s.).


The changes Republicans are making to voting, our governmental systems, they believe will keep them a dominant power, even as a minority party. Our President agrees with this. The upper economic classes are okay with it. (most of them, anyway).


To our current Republican Party leaders, THE END JUSTIFIES THE MEANS. How we get there is not important, just that we get there. This is what sparked my memories of Mr. Gallagher’s AVC class!

You see, this was how U.S. CITIZENS WERE TAUGHT ABOUT THE UNION OF SOVIET SOCIALIST REPUBLIC (USSR). The former name of the current Russia.


Now, many of you (who make it this far in my lengthy post) will say, NO, NO, THAT’S NOT TRUE. This has been niggling my thoughts for since 9/11. I have watched as we have allowed our civil liberties and civil rights be eroded away in the name of security, safety and traditionalism.


This has empowered groups like the former Michigan Militia (Wolverine Watchmen), The Proud Boys and countless other groups. Our President calls to them to “stand back and stand by.” We have an authorized military, the U.S. Armer Forces, the National Guard, Federal police, State police, sheriffs and local police. Why do we need an outside force to “stand back and stand by?”


I don’t care who you vote for. I want you to vote. Examine all the sources of information you can find, especially those you disagree with. I do. I watch ALL the cable news networks from OAN to VICE. I watch C-SPAN, PBS, local news and read Breitbart, National Review, Washington Post, NY Times and just about anything else I can find. (I know, I’m a nerd!).


You don’t have to go this far but broaden yourself. NO ONE GROUP HAS ALL THE ANSWERS. This is why we need to preserve the “democracy” part of our government. So that we can become more equal. We are more alike than we are different regardless of what our current leaders are trying to get us to believe.

Indoctrination or Learning More about Our History…

I have so much to say about this. Patriotic Education?


First, Trump has NO idea what is taught in K-12 schools. But apparently, he wasn’t a stellar student.
I was a classroom teacher, certified to teach the social sciences, which includes history in 6-12 classrooms. I did that for 5 years. I think I was pretty good at it, maybe some of my former students think differently. But I tried.
In some ways, teaching U.S. history in K12 schools is indoctrination. Remember, we are a diverse population. We have a variety of cultures, religions, and histories. So, schools are charged with teaching about how we became a nation. And part of that is teaching about our founding.
It’s a complicated history. Yes, many of our original leaders owned people. And many did not. I believe that American slavery, which started when Europeans got here, before 1619. Remember that fella, Columbus, he enslaved the indigenous people he found. Then the Spanish worked to convert them to the Catholic faith.
The English from Jamestown traded goods to Portuguese slave traders who needed food/water after being thrown off course. They only had the slaves to trade. BOOM! American slavery was born in the English Colonies.
Slaves provided cheap labor to work on farms and later plantations in the southern states. The northern states benefited from this in the textile mills in MA, CT, RI and other colonies. So, those of you in the North were also complicit. Those of you who came later benefited from the original sin due to our economic makeup.
Our public school system does not teach much about this in any of the states. It’s a complex problem. Our founders benefited from slavery. Many owned other people. Jefferson may have written “All men are created equal” but his concepts of “man” did not include people of color, any color. He was a product of his times.
Should we tear down our nation because he was a flawed human being? Well, didn’t some guy say, “those without sin, cast the first stone.” Should we “whitewash” our history and not say anything about his flaws? NO!
Part of what makes this country so great is that despite the flaws of EVERYONE who has lead us, including the current President, have skeletons in their closets. You, me, your parents, people you love, people you hate. We are all human. And our country gives you a second chance, or we try to… I know that’s an issue as well.
It’s the fact that even with their flaws, they looked forward to try to build something better than they knew.
Are we a perfect nation, no, most days we are far from it. It’s the fact that we realize that and we try to be better. To leave this country a better place than we found it.
But that doesn’t mean we try to recreate the past. That does’t work. We can’t go back. There’s no TARDIS or time machine. We are stuck here. As Mary Chapin Carpenter sang, There’s fast, slow and stall, no reverse.
I believe we are in a “stall” time. Change happens. We can’t stop it, we can try but it doesn’t work that way. Our current President believes most of us only worry about the economy. I believe we are more complex than that.
I believe we can delve into the our past, discover more truths without hiding from the ‘icky, yucky” parts. It’s complex, it requires critical thinking skills, a lot of angst and pain and healing. Healing together as the flawed, complex country that we are.
We already fought a war to end slavery. I don’t want to fight another. But we need to heal together. That means, unlike many of our current politicians, we need to find common ground, realize we don’t ALL get EVERYTHING we want. We move forward together. We will be stronger together, even as we are broken and healed again. Like muscles, we get strong when we are stressed and torn, for when we heal we become a more perfect union.
But as I say all the time, “what do I know, I’m ‘just’ a teacher!”

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