Saturday, September 29, 2007

Am I the Only One Concerned?

For some reason I can't seem to shake my concerns about the current status of our democracy.

I just started reading the letters of correspondence between John Adams and his wife Abigail during the American Revolution. I am impressed by the degree of thoughtfulness toward life and purpose that these two individuals express. They seem to be continually concerned about the well being their community and society. They discuss the prospects and education of their children along with the future of a nation.

While studying the development of the Constitution, it was interesting to discover how widely discussed and considered it was by even the most common and poor Americans. When it was first published, every newspaper printed the extensive document and everyone read it. Our country, as a whole, began an open dialogue discussing opinions and possibilities that related the framework for the new nation. One historian said that there never was, or will there ever be again, a time when a nation was so aware of the value of a human being, individual rights and the laws that protect them.

So what do we have now? Is this what our founding fathers intended?

Most people do not even know what their rights are nor do they care if they are taken away. As long as the population remains in a general state of comfort; the nation is pacified by whatever leaders do to maintain that comfortable state. Most of us know that the government is corrupt and incompetent. A recent Gallup poll found that trust in the federal government is now lower than it was during Watergate.

I think that most of us do not find this surprising, but shouldn't we be shocked and appalled?

Please watch this video about voting by Texas lawmakers.

Why do we tolerate such a digression of our democracy? Could it be that we have all been lulled into complacency? Perhaps the satisfaction from buying a new pair of jeans or finding that Pottery Barn lamp on sale for 30%-off has put us to sleep. Or maybe we are living dreamily awaiting the release of a much anticipated movie or computer game.

I wonder if it even matters to people that our leaders are liars. Does it matter that they knowingly break laws? Do you personally care that dishonesty is the rule rather than the exception? I am curious to know, comment please!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Teaching the Constitution - maybe I need to rethink this

The past few weeks we have been studying the American Revolution. The kids and I just finished off a 6 part PBS series called Liberty which, in its last part, discussed the Constitution.

I must admit that I am not as familiar with this document as I should be, but after browsing the internet I managed to find the complete text.

Then I entered the twilight zone.

I found a strange string of articles that seemed to point to the US Constitution as being somewhat controversial.

It even seems that law enforcement officers are informed that quoting the Constitution is reason to believe someone is a terrorist! The following law enforcement brochure informs officers that:
If you encounter any of the following call the Joint Terrorism task force.
The brochure goes on to list various terrorist warning signs. Included among the terrorist characteristics are making reference to the Constitution and defending the Constitution. Here is the front and back of the police handout.

I am sure that this is just a rough outline for officers to follow and they would use common sense when choosing who was actually a terrorist threat, right?

But after seeing this video shot earlier this week of a woman being arrested for reading the second amendment in front of the capital building, I am beginning to rethink my assumption.

If you watch the video you will notice that the women being arrested are not Arabs, skin-heads or hippies. Nor do they even look threatening--more like grandmas actually! They appear to be wearing cheerfully pink "red-hat society"-like clothes.

Oh, well, I guess this is their fault for not keeping their old lady traps shut! They just need to shut-up and start loving this war like everyone else!

Perhaps I should not teach the kids about the US Constitution, it seems that the knowledge of such a document may be dangerous to them.

Or maybe I just shouldn't bother teaching it to them because the Constitution is about as useful as a piece of toilet paper these days.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Food For Thought

Sorry I haven't posted in a while, things have been very busy around here. I came across this poem today and wanted to share it and perhaps provide everyone with a little food for thought.

When the American imperialists came for the Muslims,
I remained silent;
I was not a Muslim.

When they tortured innocent foreigners,
I remained silent;
I wasn't a foreigner.

When they locked up a defense attorney representing Muslims,
I remained silent;
I wasn't a defense attorney.

When they arrested a man for simply telling Dick Cheney that he disagreed with his policies,
I remained silent;
I have never spoken with the Vice President.

When they shattered a reporter's elbow for asking too many questions,
I remained silent;
I wasn't a reporter.

When they said an entertainer should be killed because she questioned 9/11,
I remained silent;
I wasn't an entertainer.

When they arrested people for insisting that the President follow the Constitution,
I did not speak out.
I wasn't there.

When they broke a minister's leg because he wanted to speak at a public event,
I remained silent;
I wasn't a minister.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.

Inspired by the poem by Martin Niemöller:

"When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I wasn't a Jew.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out."

When I copied this poem, the links copied too. Some of the websites are admittedly far from mainstream, but I left the links as the original author had them.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

You Know You're a Parent When...

...every morning you get to watch a tiny, crispy-bearded, bald guy eat breakfast.

(Actually, you really know you are a parent when you are the one who has to clean it up!)