Who Are We – Do We Know?

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I can’t let silence speak for me.  I don’t want to stay quiet on what is happening to children in this country.  I do understand that the U.S. has a long history of genocide, slavery, stealing children from indigenous peoples, stealing children from slaves, separating Japanese families.    This is who we have been, but I had thought that we’d finally grown up and learned from our mistakes.

I have been proven wrong once again.  We are continuing to our past in our present, and most likely into our future.  This is appalling, and against all human rights.  The U.N. council was correct in condemning this outrageous behavior.  Not only are we taking the children, but we are refusing to tell the parents where the children are.  (And, in many cases the government has simply lost children).  We are at a point in our history where there are two paths we can go down.  One leads to less rights and justice for everyone, and the other leads to empathy and compassion.  Please don’t tell me you are a Christian while also telling me that taking children away from their families is an okay thing to do.  The two do not go together.  “If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well.”  James 2:8. Many of the people coming to our borders are seeking asylum, they are not illegal.  Yet, we are treating them as such.  By the way, illegal entry is a misdemeanor, not a felony, so it is comparable to getting a speeding ticket.  Did you lose your children when you got a speeding ticket?  No, of course not.

If you are upset and outraged by this policy, please let your congressmen/women know.  Make your voice heard.  Don’t be silent, lest your silence be assumed to be agreement.

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What About Education?

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It seems that in America the states have lots of money for building new prisons, but no money for education.  I am talking specifically about Oklahoma, but this is true of other states as well.  In full disclosure, I am the daughter of a teacher, and I also homeschooled my children from grades 3 to 8.  I believe strongly in a good education system where science and math are taught, along with accurate history, literature and the arts.  I well-rounded education is a requirement for a good society.  I’m not alone in this, since many of our ancestors were also in agreement.

I don’t know if you’ve been paying attention to the various teachers strikes, but they were not only striking for more money (remember, a teacher must have a Bachelors degree in teaching, but also a Master’s Degree – that is six years of college), but they are also striking for newer textbooks (some are over twenty years old), there are not enough books for the number of students, there are leaking roofs, moldy walls and ceilings, exposed wires, broken desks and chairs, no paper, and the list goes on and on.

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So, my question is this?  How did this happen?  Why is education being slowly strangled due to lack of money?  As a child I can remember when people who were smart were looked up to.  At some point, many parts of society decided to wage a war on education.  Being “smart” became less desirable, with put-downs such as “nerd” and “geek” being used.  Being a “bookworm” was a negative thing.  I wish I knew why education is no longer valued.  I do have some thoughts, including the fact that if people are kept from learning deductive reasoning, they may be easier to trick.  I’m leaving some links below that I hope you will check out.  The videos of the schools are really difficult to watch because they look like third world schools.  Please comment on this subject below.

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https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2014/02/05/americas-school-funding-problems-state-by-state/?noredirect=on

 

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

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Our country seems to be more divided than ever.  Now is the time to come together as one, to understand that we are more alike than we are different.  We need to become one people with the goal of good for all.  For what is a benefit for my sister is also a benefit for my brother, and will benefit me as well.

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U.N. Expert – Extreme Poverty in the United States

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The UN sent an expert in poverty to tour the United States and look at the rates of poverty here.  Just so you know, the level of poverty in the US is sky-high.  So, where did Philip Alston go to check out the conditions of those living in poverty?  Alabama.  That’s right, Butler County to be precise.  What did he find?  Raw sewage flowing from homes into open trenches and pits.  Is it any surprise that an epidemic of hookworm has recently been reported in Butler County?  No, no it’s not.  By the way, hookworm is usually found in third world countries.  Alston also visited California, Georgia, West Virginia, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico.  Alston also said that he’s never seen this level of poverty in a First World country.  Huh.  Wonder why?

The U.N. has also concluded that the U.S. is the most unequal society in the world.  So much for the “American Dream”.  What has been concluded in the report is that along with having the highest level of poverty, that poverty hits white people more than minority people.  Not only that, but the viewpoint that has been sold to the American people is that poor people are poor for the simple reason that they are lazy, and refuse to “help themselves”.  This is a falsity, since most of the poor are working people, and many of them work multiple jobs.

Please educate yourselves by following the links that I’ve provided below.  With all the cuts that will be coming to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the CHIP program, Food Stamps and Fuel Assistance, the social problems are only going to get worse.

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http://www.newsweek.com/alabama-un-poverty-environmental-racism-743601

http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=58300#.WkvOzTdOnIV

http://ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=22533&LangID=E

 

 

Education and Learning

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As usual, I’ve come to the party late, however, I’m here and I’ve paid attention.  I’ve recently read the Young Adult novel, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas.  This is an extraordinary novel.  To prove it, it’s already been banned in more than one location in the United States.  A book being banned only means that it will make you think, something too many people don’t want to do, especially if what you learn from it is in opposition to what it is that you may have been taught.  The novel follows the life of Starr Carter, who by the age of sixteen has held two of her best friends in her arms as they lay dying after being shot.  This is not only her story, but the story of too many.  The poor, the over-looked, and the reviled.

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For those of you who may not have read this novel, I hope that you will.  Go out and buy it, or borrow it from your local library.  It covers so much of the experiences of children growing up as part of a reviled people.  The poverty, the inability to “rise above” due to lack of livable wages, poor education systems, and the grinding down of an entire segment of society.  Poverty is hard.  How can it not be when you are choosing between food and rent?  We need to understand, choose compassion and help our neighbors.  Only then will our country be better.  Together we stand, divided, as we are, we are falling.  And in this falling, it is all of us, not just a few of us.  Everything is interconnected.  We are all one.

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I Just Can’t…Republican Tax Bill

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The Senate has voted to give itself the biggest tax break in years.  Yes, that’s right, while the rest of us will be paying more in taxes, the richest people get to pay less.  Not only that, they also voted for some pretty terrible things.  Don’t believe me?  If you’re on Medicare, your cancer treatment will no longer be paid for.  Since there is the excessively high cost of medicine in the U.S., and people simply cannot pay for it on their own, now if you’re on Medicare and you get cancer, the “family values” people are basically telling you to “just die already”.  People are going to lose their health care, since the help in paying for it is gone, also.  And, the price of health insurance is, of course, going to go up.

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During the Reagan Administration, we were all introduced to this mythical idea that once the richest corporations got a tax break, they would “trickle down” their profits to the rest of us – you know, the lower echelons of society – the “workers”, if you will.  This “trickle down” would be accomplished with higher wages and a much better standard of living for most of society.  Has this worked?  Did it ever work?  Well, wages have been either stagnant, or have actually gone down ever since.  Now, at the same time, have prices been either stagnant, or gone down?  Oh, please, don’t be silly.  Of course not!  Now, those of us “workers” just get to work more jobs.  Remember, President Bush thought it was “fantastic” to work three jobs.  Of course, he himself never had to, but hey, isn’t it just great for you to need to!

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I will be waiting with bated breath to see just how the corporations and top 1% of the country will “trickle down” their tax breaks to us this time.  Unfortunately though, I fear that I won’t live that long to do so.  After all, if I get sick (or if you do), neither one of us will be able to get health insurance, nor will we be able to afford medical care.  Oh well…there are a lot of us out here who will have to die before the rich will be affected.  And, after all, isn’t it all really just about them after all?  We’re just the supporting cast members.

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I’m Tired

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I am simply tired.  In fact, I’m sick and tired.  I’m tired of signing petitions.  I sign on average, ten petitions a day, and sometimes more.  I sign petitions telling my congressmen to: protect the earth, protect the poor, protect the sick, protect minorities; protect those who have been impacted by the weather; protect workers and consumers; protect people and the animals.  The number of petitions I’ve signed just since January numbers well into the hundreds.  I’m tired of being upset, depressed and overwhelmed with bad news and bad behavior on the part of people who should know better.

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My question is, why the hell do I even have to do this?  Doesn’t it simply stand to reason that people have a right to clean water, clean air?   Don’t we have a right to healthcare?  How about a right to equality?  How about a right to not be lied to and mislead by the companies that we do business with?  How about just helping the citizens of our country when disaster strikes?  Isn’t that what their taxes have paid for?   Why do I have to keep reminding the government what their job is?  Their job is not to enrich themselves and their corporate donors.  They are supposed to be working for the good of all, not just the rich and powerful.

Of course, I’m lucky.  I’m not sick, I’m not a minority.  While I do have Fibromyalgia, I don’t take medication for it, I’m coping on my own, and doing okay.  I’m not a victim of a disaster.  Of course, that could change at any time, and many of  us are one paycheck away from financial disasters, not to mention one caused by sickness, accidents or nature.   I actually live in a state that, while we have our problems within our state; our federal representatives do vote on the behalf of the people who actually voted for them.  I feel sorry for those of you who don’t enjoy the same representation.  Of course, the “powers that be” are hoping that we will all get too sick and tired and simply stop paying attention.  Hell no, it’s not going to happen.  While I may bury my head in the sand for a day or even two, I’ll pick myself up again and make my voice heard.  For all of you out there who also are tired, take a breath, take a small break, and then continue plodding.  After all, you’ve got justice on your side.

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