“Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
“It took a lot of blood, sweat and tears to get to where we are today, but we have just begun. Today we begin in earnest the work of making sure that the world we leave our children is just a little bit better than the one we inhabit today.” – President Barack H. Obama
Edited because I wasn’t looking closely enough at the clip I posted yesterday. Our national anthem is hard to sing, and Beyonce knocked it out of the park. No way that she lip-synced.
American “Family” Association Director of Issues Analysis Bryan Fischer and Fox News commentator Mike Huckabee are using yesterday’s events to further their theocratic, ultra-conservative agenda, saying that God let the shooting happen because He’s not allowed in the schools. Reprehensible, blasphemous, and patently FALSE.
First, private prayer and student-led religious activity are both permitted in public schools. Only teacher-led prayers are forbidden.
Second and more importantly, an omnipresent, omnipotent Supreme Being simply cannot be chased out of a public school or anywhere else. God is in public schools. He’s with the frightened five-year-old on the first day of kindergarten. He’s with the second-grader who has dyslexia and gets nervous every time there’s a spelling test. He’s with the fifth-grader who was up half the night listening to his parents fight and wonders if they’ll be getting a divorce. He’s with the ninth grader who wants to know if her boyfriend will still like her if she doesn’t have sex with him, and with her twin sister who’s coming out of the closet. He’s with the senior who’s trying to balance a demanding class load, a part-time job, school activities, responsibilities at home, and preparation for college. He’s certainly been in the classroom with me, on both good days and challenging ones.
And he was with every single one of the children and adults who lost their lives yesterday. I even think He had some very strong words with the shooter, asking what made him hurt so much that he did what he did, then explaining that he has to atone and make restitution before he can come home.
I realize this post may have made some people uncomfortable, but this is what I believe, and I will not apologize for it.
This election year, I was even more irritated and frustrated than usual.
When did political ads become less “My candidate is great because _____________” and more “My candidate’s opponent is responsible for everything except climate change, and we’ll find a way to blame him or her for that, too”? During election season, our local daily paper runs a feature where reporters fact-check the advertisements and spell out any necessary corrections. But so many people are either overwhelmed, suggestible, or lazy and simply buy whatever is presented on television. During the 2008 campaign, I disconnected (and later sold) my TV. This year, I played CDs in my car, hid posts on Facebook, and sent all the mailings to the recycle bag. But I still couldn’t escape. Senior citizens watch a lot of TV, and there was no way to fast-forward through the commercials.
Then there were the times when the seniors I care for wanted to engage me in discussion. Sometimes I agreed with them. Most of the time, I did not. In fact, I found one client’s opinions particularly offensive. But apart from the fact that I love my job and would like to keep it, etiquette in general, and specifically, the respect for my elders that I was brought up with, demanded that I keep my own opinions to myself.
I generally handled any differences of opinion in one of two ways.
- Ask questions: why does this person believe what he or she believes? What were previous elections like? What would you do differently if you were campaigning for your candidate?
- This is the method I used more frequently: Say, “That’s interesting,” or “I don’t know,” or make some other noncommittal noise, then change the subject. Ask about their grandchildren, or what they would like for lunch. Invite them to play cards or a board game. Ask what else is good on TV. I’ve heard this technique called “bean-dipping”; you’ll find the origin of the term and many funny and cringe-inducing stories on etiquettehell.com.
How did/do you handle differences of opinion, particularly with people in a different generation?
“It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.”
– Sir Winston Churchill
American readers: I voted today and hope you did too.
If Mitt Romney gets elected, is joining the Peace Corps or teaching English overseas a better contingency plan for me?
Teacher 1: If you have excuses for everything when you’re 15, what happens when you’re 30?
Teacher 2: You go into politics.