Monday, January 16, 2017

God Bless John Lewis

God Bless John Lewis

“I believe in forgiveness.”

I get that. Totally. If someone punched you in the gut. Even if he did it on purpose. One could possibly forgive that person. But could you do it while the person was punching you? What if the person kept on punching?  Can you forgive someone who is punching you, has a history of punching others and has proven that he just won’t stop?

Can you forgive a person who punches people who are less able to defend themselves? Can you forgive a person who punches freely, without fear of any reprisal, whom you know will keep on punching, and kicking, and who will get others to do it for him as long as he possibly can?

The closer we get to inauguration day, the scarier this whole thing becomes. Trump's cabinet choices demonstrate how he has no regard for our political system, no intentions of placing people who would do a decent job of representing the people’s interests.

Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State. Could there be a worse pick? He is the ex-chairman for Exxon Mobil, has extremely close ties to Putin. In the past has been a climate change skeptic, but may be willing to change his tune for a shot at this job. He just acted dumb about foreign policy questions during his hearing. He is openly ignorant about foreign policy. You would have thought he could bone up for the interview, right?

Ben Carson for the director of HUD? It would be funny if it weren’t so apparently ignorant. Carson didn’t want the position. Admitted that he had no experience or knowledge of what to do. Probably doesn’t know what HUD stands for.

Michael Flynn for National Security Advisor. He lost his job in part for giving classified information to Pakistan. Trust issues?

Trump wants Linda McMahon to be in charge of the Small Business Administration She is an executive from World Wrestling Entertainment. Her qualifications? Promoting fake wrestling. Make sense?

Mike Pompeo as Director of the CIA. He called those at the CIA who participated in torture “heroes, not pawns in some liberal game being played by the ACLU and [former intelligence committee chair] Senator [Dianne] Feinstein”. (

Rick Perry for the EPA! Kidding, right? Nope! The same Rick Perry who in a debate, forgot the name of this department as one he would get rid of. This department. A climate change denier in charge of the the Environmental Protection Agency he wanted to eliminate?!

Betsy DeVos who has spent all of her energy in education undermining public schools. She’s the pick to head the Department of Education. Seriously?

Sarah Palin in charge of the Veterans Administration? Sarah Palin in charge of anything?

So when Donald Trump tweeted that John Lewis needs to stick to his own business, and that he is failing to help his own district, I thought – Donald Trump isn’t worthy to be in the same room as John Lewis. John Lewis has spent his entire life helping others. He risked his life to do so. He has always stood up for the common man, the poor, the oppressed. The only person Trump has stood up for is himself, his only cause is to make more money.

So God Bless John Lewis. Between him and Donald J. Trump, which one do you think is the patriot?

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Yes We Did

Yes We Did

I can hardly believe that these eight years are over. I can’t say that I agree with everything that Barak Obama has done as president. And there are things that I wish he had focused on more. But no president tried to do more good for more people than he did. There could never be a president of the United States of America that I could completely agree with. But he had integrity. Sincerity. He stood up for the oppressed. He was kind. He was generous. Welcoming. Strong when he needed to be.

There were no scandals in the White House. Michelle Obama is articulate, brilliant, beautiful. All of her causes were noble and forward thinking. She really did write most of her own speeches.

I can’t say I am not a little frightened. OK, a lot frightened – by our experiment in idiocy. Our next president has more honesty issues, more hypocrisy, more racism, more sexual violence in his past, than can even be imagined. I wouldn’t want my students in the same room alone with him. And we voted for him as our president?

Where are the conservatives who despised Russia? Are we now willing to suck up to a villain? And don’t give me that Russia had no effect on our elections. They hacked emails. Spread fake news. They lied. MANY believed the lies. They got away with it.

His racism and hostility towards minorities and immigrants is disgusting. His apparent sexism and brutality toward women, his bullying and incitement to violence at his rallies, his acceptance of indecency all should have disqualified him.

Ah, but these are different times. There are new rules in that there are NO rules.  Lies, scandal, ignorance, sexual assault – nothing stood in the way of the US voting for this man. Here are a few of Trumps “issues” listed by my friend Dan in an email, any one of these may have disqualified anyone else in the past. Charity fraud  - caught in lies, calling for nuclear proliferation, calling for national stop and frisk, violating the trade embargo with Cuba, bribing the DA in Florida and getting caught red-handed, employing a campaign manager involved with illegal corruption in Russia, he doesn’t pay taxes for 20 years – and brags about how he uses the system.

He called for banning an entire religion from entering the US, lied about his support for the war in Iraq, in court for the rape of a minor, being totally unaware of Russia’s invasion of Crimea and the many deaths there, being unaware of the situation in Syria, being penalized for discrimination in housing, filing for bankruptcy 6 times, showing very little knowledge of world affairs in all of the debates.

He slammed John McCain for being a POW while he never served in the armed forces (the details of his deferment seem to indicate that he lied to get out of serving in Vietnam), he called Mexicans rapists, he questioned a federal judge’s integrity because his parents are Mexican, he deleted emails in a casino scandal, he committed insurance fraud after a hurricane in Florida.

Dozens of assault victims came forward with allegations of abuse, he attacked and kept attacking Miss Universe for being overweight (while Trump himself is considered well beyond a healthy weight), he called for US citizens to be sent to Gitmo, he called for more extreme forms of torture to be used, he asked why we can’t use nukes if we have them.

He called to kill women and children in families of suspected terrorists, he said women should be punished for having abortions, he made fun of a disabled reporter and then continually lied about doing so, he has called for an end of freedom of the press, he has called global warming a Chinese hoax, he continually praises Putin as being an intelligent man and a strong leader, he openly admitted to not paying his employees during a debate, he delegitimized Obama’s presidency hundreds of times by lying about his citizenship.

He used campaign contributions to enrich his own businesses, said Ted Cruz’s father was involved with the assassination of JFK citing the National Enquirer as his source, he said that Black people are inherently lazy, and his appointments for cabinet positions and advisors are almost comical in their absurdity.

I will miss Barak Obama more than I can imagine.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Make America Hate Again

I’ve been having a hard time sleeping lately. I’ve always been a light sleeper. 6 or 7 continuous hours is a lot of sleep for me. Rare. I dozed off at about 11:00 on election night. Heidi woke me at 1 to give me the news that Trump had been elected. No more sleep that night.

It’s not a Republican/Democrat thing. My worries are quite simple. We have elected a man to the highest position who is a hater. I am not overstating it. Everyone knows it. He proclaims it. He has confessed (no, bragged) about being a sexual predator.

And he was elected to be the president of the United States.

He is clueless about world affairs (he didn’t know that Russia had invaded the Ukraine when he swore that it wouldn’t happen under his watch). And he will be handed the nuclear codes.

He declared climate a change a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese to get an advantage over the US in manufacturing. Yet, he and his administration (Sarah Palin – climate change denier - for Secretary of the Interior?!) will set policies concerning the environment.

He is the biggest, unapologetic liar in public, who somehow thinks that if he denies something he said that was recorded and played over and over that his lie will become truth. That's called pathological. One small example is that in 2002 he told Howard Stern (remember that it is recorded) that he supported the war. He said over and over in the recent debates that he never supported the war. The entire world cringes at his lack of integrity. But he is the most powerful man in the world.

Trump’s outward hate-fueled mistrust of people of color, of immigrants, of Muslims has launched the kind of open hostility that was ever present at his rallies. Just Google hate crimes, trump and see what comes up.

We have good friends who came to America years ago as refugees from a Kenyan refugee camp. These hard working, lovely people told us that within days of Trump’s election that they were threatened and harassed. A friend from Costa Rica said that she and her immigrant friends are scared of what’s to come and that she never is more than a few feet from her green card.

Make America Great Again?!

Here are a few of the MANY examples of hate that have emerged in our country over the past few days. The language is graphic, the threat of violence is real. Not one for the kiddies…

Trump can show some courage and make a loud statement to his followers to end the hatred. Trump can demonstrate how tough he is by working to reign in some of the venom he and his supporters have unleashed. Trump can have some fortitude and be a leader who truly stands up for all Americans like he said he would in his acceptance speech. Think he’ll do it?

Make America Great Again?!

On Tuesday morning at 1 AM I woke up to a different America than I ever knew or remembered. I woke up to an America where evangelical Christians I know justify this election with their faith.

Really? I am proud to say that I am a Christian. But now I feel the need to qualify it by saying that I am a Red Letter Christian. Because I do not belong in the same faith group as the 80 (+) % of self-proclaimed evangelicals who supported Trump. Not even close.

I’ve been complacent lately. In my white privileged way I have not done enough to make this world a better place. Sure, I voted. But that isn’t enough. I know this blog won’t do much good with its 50 or so readers every post. But I will write. I will speak out. I will sing. I will remind us in every way I can who we elected as president, who he was and who he is.

If you read and you appreciate – please leave a comment. If you don’t appreciate it, please leave a comment. If you want to rebut anything, feel free.

I love my country. But right now, I am embarrassed by what we’ve done.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Here's Why We Grieve Today

When I woke up yesterday it was to a different world, a different way of thinking about who we are as a nation. I was ashamed of us. I recited the Pledge with my second graders - and it made me tear up. We - most of us - voted for a man we KNOW to be despicable, a man we wouldn't want our daughters to date or to teach our sons. We voted for a man who is outwardly a racist, who mocks those who are handicapped, who insults women and laughs about it. 

I read this piece by John Pavlovitz and he said it so clearly that I reposted it here. Please read his words. His blog is on my scroll. Add it to yours.

Here’s Why We Grieve Today

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Trump vs. Emails

As we near the election, I am as worried as ever about our country. Just can't help it. Too much at stake. I can hardly believe that his has become a contest. I received an email from my sister - written by her good friend Dan. here it is.

Clinton emails. Trump admitting sexual assault. Clinton emails. Trump charity fraud. Clinton emails. Trump calls for nuclear proliferation. Clinton emails. Trump calls for national stop and frisk. Clinton emails. Trump violates trade embargo with Cuba. Clinton emails. Trump sued over Trump University fraud. Clinton emails. Trump bribes DA. Clinton emails. Trump doesn't pay taxes for 20 years. Clinton emails. Trump employs campaign manager involved in illegal corruption with Russia. Clinton emails. Trump calls for ban of an entire religion from entering US. Clinton emails. Trump lied about support for Iraq War over and over in debate. Clinton emails. Trump in court for rape of a minor. Clinton emails. Trump unaware of Russia's Crimea occupation. Clinton emails. Trump unaware of situation in Syria. Clinton emails. Trump penalized for racist housing discrimination. Clinton emails. Trump files for bankruptcy 6 times. Clinton emails. Trump goes 0-3 in debates by showing scant knowledge of world politics. Clinton emails. Trump slams people for being POWs. Clinton emails. Trump calls Mexicans rapists. Clinton emails. Trump questions judge's integrity because of parent's heritage. Clinton emails. Trump deletes emails involved in casino scandal. Clinton emails. Trump commits insurance fraud after Florida hurricane. Clinton emails. Trump has dozens of assault victims and witnesses come forward with allegations of abuse. Clinton emails. Trump attacks former Ms. Universe for being overweight. Clinton emails. Trump tweets about sex tapes at 3am. Clinton emails. Trump calls for US citizens to be sent to Gitmo. Clinton emails. Trump calls for more extreme forms of torture to be used. Clinton emails. Trump asks why cant we use our nukes if we have them. Clinton emails. Trump calls for offensive bombing attack on sovereign nations because someone gave the middle finger. Clinton emails. Trump calls to kill women and children of suspected terrorists. Clinton emails. Trump says women should be punished for having abortions. Clinton emails. Trump makes fun of disabled people. Clinton emails. Trump calls for end of freedom of the press. Clinton emails. Trump calls global warming a Chinese hoax. Clinton emails. Trump praises Putin and Kim Jong Un's strong leadership. Clinton emails. Trump openly admits to not paying his employees during debate. Clinton emails. Trump calls Obama an illegitimate noncitizen hundreds of times over 7 years. Clinton emails. Trump uses campaign donations to enrich his own businesses. Clinton emails. Trump says Ted Cruz involved in JFK assassination unironically citing National Enquirer. Clinton emails. Trump says laziness is an inherent trait in black people. Clinton emails.
Does that about sum up the last couple of months?

What has our nation come to when we consider a madman for president? If Hillary wins - which I pray for - What has happened to us that Trump has even gotten close to the nuclear codes?

I honestly fear for our children's future.

Saturday, September 24, 2016


I feel remiss that I haven't posted in a long while.  I'd like to say that I am too busy.  Nah.  I just temporarily lost my writing mojo.  I'll get it back.

I've been thinking about my mom a lot lately.  Here is a repost from a few years ago.


There are several kids in my class who still hold hands.  It seems like the most natural thing in the world.  Interlacing your fingers with another’s must be one of the oldest human gestures.  It says so much.  That singular gesture is invariably positive.  It demonstrates trust, compassion, comfort, and friendship.  It is a sign of love.

My finger, your finger, my finger, your finger, my finger, your finger, my finger, your finger, my thumb – your thumb.  The webs between my fingers contacting yours.  The bones of my hand entwined with yours. 

When we are little we reach up for the hand of the people we love – sometimes just to be sure of them.  When we are big we reach down to show that we are there, that we care, that we must cross the street safely together, that we won’t get separated in a crowd.  We reach down to grasp a little hand almost as a reflex.  To express our love.  To show simply that we are within reach.

children holding hands

Babies are born with an intense need for touch.  Babies who spend a lot of time in hospitals and orphanages where they do not receive skin-to-skin contact fail to thrive.  I read about this interesting study where librarians were asked to alternately touch and not touch the hands of their students as they gave back their library cards.  Those whose hands had been touched by their librarian reported “far greater feelings about themselves, the library and the librarians than those who had not been touched.  This occurred even though the touch was fleeting and the students didn’t even remember it.”

In our classroom we touch pretty unselfconsciously.  Certain kids zoom in for a hug every morning.  Others opt for a fist bum or a hand slap.  Some will come in quietly without checking in with me.  I usually give them a noogie or a high five when we do catch up.  But we touch.

There are many girls who still hold hands in our classroom.  They grab hold when we walk to the public library, or to the recess field or to the cafeteria.  Some boys may still hold hands at the beginning of second grade, but by the end of third it is a rarity.  There are a couple of guys who are always sitting close enough so that their legs touch when they are on the floor.  And we do a lot of teaching and learning from the floor.  Our girls often touch, run their fingers through or smooth out each other’s hair.

This morning as my students took a big, high stakes test in our computer lab, the feeling in the room was one of intense concentration.  This was the kind of test that pushed every child to the wall.  I’ve written about this before.  It started out easy, but as they answered simple questions correctly, the subsequent questions were more and more challenging.  Glancing over their shoulders at the answer choices, I was amazed at how difficult this must have been for them.  And yet no one complained.  No one whined.  No one cracked under pressure.  I walked around the room every few minutes just checking in with a touch on the shoulder or a pat on the back.  To soothe, to connect, to praise them and to show my gratitude for their effort.   It was a gesture that words can’t quite explain. 

It’s sad to me that many of us become self-conscious about touch as we get older, especially guys.  At some undetermined age, and it is probably a little different for everyone, little ones (especially boys) stop holding hands with their friends, brothers and sisters and parents.  Girls are lucky in my opinion.  They can hold hands freely with their besties. 

I suppose holding hands for little boys is like crying when you hurt yourself.  At some point we stop crying for physical pain.  Comments like, “big boys don’t cry” probably help to extinguish it. 

When I was in Rwanda I saw men holding hands routinely.  My friend Brandon took a picture of two very rough looking soldiers in camouflage, each with a machine gun slung over his shoulders, holding hands walking down a busy street.  It was as natural as anything there. 

Adult guys can still hug briefly if there is a manly slap on the back at the end of the embrace.  Let’s not read anything too personal into this hug, right?  Shaking hands is the norm.  No weapons, right?

At the end of my mom’s life I was blessed to have been there for her final week.  We touched so often.  The first night I was there in New Mexico at my sister Ruthie’s I spent in the office guest room.  Then for the next several nights I slept with my mom.  I needed her touch.  And I think she needed mine.  I think she needed grounding.  I think she needed to be sure of me.  We slept with our legs touching or my hand on her shoulder, or holding hands.   And through the days and evenings when she was awake we sat close enough to touch.  During her final hours, when she had lost consciousness, Ruthie and I stroked her hair and rubbed her back.   We held her hand - just as she held ours when we were little, to protect us, to make sure we didn’t get lost or frightened, so we could be sure of her. 

I can smile when I remember her touch now.  But I miss that touch like nothing else.
I can think of my mom now and not cry every time at missing her.   I expect that I will cry for a long time when I remember her and miss her touch.  Even though big boys don’t cry.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Nuclear Football

Without any reference, after you read these actual words - you'll know who this is.

Look, having nuclear—my uncle was a great professor and scientist and engineer, Dr. John Trump at MIT; good genes, very good genes, OK, very smart, the Wharton School of Finance, very good, very smart—you know, if you’re a conservative Republican, if I were a liberal, if, like, OK, if I ran as a liberal Democrat, they would say I'm one of the smartest people anywhere in the world—it’s true!—but when you're a conservative Republican they try—oh, do they do a number—that’s why I always start off: Went to Wharton, was a good student, went there, went there, did this, built a fortune—you know I have to give my like credentials all the time, because we’re a little disadvantaged—but you look at the nuclear deal, the thing that really bothers me—it would have been so easy, and it’s not as important as these lives are (nuclear is powerful; my uncle explained that to me many, many years ago, the power and that was 35 years ago; he would explain the power of what's going to happen and he was right—who would have thought?), but when you look at what's going on with the four prisoners—now it used to be three, now it’s four—but when it was three and even now, I would have said it's all in the messenger; fellas, and it is fellas because, you know, they don't, they haven’t figured that the women are smarter right now than the men, so, you know, it’s gonna take them about another 150 years—but the Persians are great negotiators, the Iranians are great negotiators, so, and they, they just killed, they just killed us.

I only have two words to say.

Nuclear                     Football