Posts Tagged ‘activism’

My wife asked me for my Christmas wish list. I want the new Hess toy truck, and…

I was stumped. I didn’t have a book I wanted that would sit on my “I really need to read that” pile. There’s always music but I don’t always listen to what I have already.

Unfortunately, what I REALLY want is a country that believes in encouraging people to cast their ballots and one person, one vote, rather than restricting the franchise and gerrymandering their districts.

I want a country that values our natural resources, rather than ignoring climate change and despoiling the earth for profit. “You shall not pollute the land in which you live, ” as it says in Numbers.

I want a country that doesn’t elect known sexual predators to high office.

I want a country that welcomes the immigrant and appreciate the strength that diversity brings to the country, rather than promoting bigotry and divisiveness. “Do not mistreat foreigners who are living in your land.” (Leviticus 19:33)

I want a country that provides a living wage and a secure safety net, with access to resources for those who need it, rather than tax breaks for those with private planes. “If you give food to the hungry and satisfy those who are in need, then the darkness around you will turn to the brightness of noon.” (Isaiah 58:10)

I want a country that believes in transparency of government, not backroom dealings with lobbyists.

I want a country that works for peace, not goads others into war. “Let there be peace on earth,” and all that.

You get the idea.

And the really annoying thing about my Christmas wish list is that there is not anything that will fit on Santa’s sleigh.

Even worse, in order for me to be able to get the presents I want, I, and a whole slew of other folks will have to work, to fight to make it happen.

What kind of presents are these anyway? They are the presents that require us to be present.

Ugh, activism. OK, then, let’s see how close I can get to matching up with my wishlist.

But I still want the Hess truck.

Merry Christmas.

Call me a cockeyed optimist, but I have found many things that have taken place on the political landscape in the last six months or so worthy of celebration.

There have been protests, many of them local, for banning the bomb, upholding women’s rights, protecting the immigrant and the refugee, saving the environment, and several other causes.

People are becoming actively engaged in the political process, working on special elections, running for office, or at least considering it. They are showing up at town halls when members of Congress come back to town.

The veil is coming off FOX “news”. Yet other news outlets are thriving.

A couple interviews on the Daily Show with Trevor Noah in June 2017, on successive days in June 2017, gave me encouragement. William J. Barber II is shifting the moral conversation about the poor, a group neither major candidate for President talked about last year. Among other things, Rev. Barber is the architect of the Forward Together Moral Monday Movement.

I was also taken by John Avlon. The Daily Beast’s Editor-in-Chief was promoting his new book “Washington’s Farewell: The Founding Father’s Warning to Future Generations.”

George Washington feared, he explained, that political parties would “push a narrow, self-interested agenda that would block the national interest” and “create a deadlocked and dysfunctional democracy” that would leave citizens “so frustrated by the inefficiency and ineffectiveness that it could open the door to a demagogue with authoritarian ambitions.”

And by demagogue, I mean “a leader who makes use of popular prejudices and false claims and promises in order to gain power.”

So on this Independence Day, it is important to note the words of another of our Founders, Alexander Hamilton: “Of those men who have overturned the liberty of republics, the greatest number have begun their career by playing an obsequious court to the people, commencing demagogues and ending tyrants.”

We must always push back against tyranny.

donald-trump-vfw-convention-26-jul-2016I started, post-election, from the position of wanting to give Donald Trump a chance to do well, I really did. He gave a lovely, conciliatory acceptance speech, and President Obama said his meeting with the (gulp) President-elect went well.

There was a church service seeking to heal political wounds Read the rest of this entry »

opt-out5There has been a great deal of controversy in the state of New York about the school tests tied to something called Common Core. It is more complicated than I wish to get into here, but I wrote about it a bit in my Times Union blog.

There was a statewide movement to get students in grades 3 to 8 to opt out of the test, which was somewhat successful in many districts, including in my area.

The movement has been around a couple years, but I had not paid a great deal of attention. Read the rest of this entry »

It really does not matter what the topic is. Inevitably, when someone speaks out on an issue, usually after a terrible human-made event, some trolls will come out and complain that those people ought to have spoken out on the issue sooner. This is absurd.

People often, indeed usually, become aware of an issue, and eventually speak out when it affects them personally. It’s human nature. Think of the founder of MADD:

Candice (Candy) Lightner is the organizer and was the founding president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving.lightner On May 3, 1980 Lightner’s 13-year-old daughter, Cari, was killed by a drunken hit-and-run driver at Sunset and New York Avenues in Fair Oaks, California. The 46-year-old driver, who had recently been arrested for another DUI hit-and-run, left her body at the scene.

Should Candy Lightner have been campaigning against drunk driving BEFORE her daughter was killed? Read the rest of this entry »

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