Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Occupy Poem

Reading reports of the crackdown on Occupy Wall St. in NYC and hearing of problems in other places is just unsettling. How can we defend peaceful protests overseas and treat protesters here at home so badly?

To do something, I ended up writing this poem. I was going to post it to the OWS forum but you have to register and give your location and all, and I just didn't want to do all that... Guess I'm not all that into a lot of this social media...

Anyway, now for the poem:

What Really is the Problem?
Dedicated to the Occupy Movement 

What really is the problem?
What is it on my sign you find so offensive?
Why do you want to silence my message?
Why do you want to meet my peace with your violence?
After all, I really am only one of you
As were the abolitionists
As were the suffragists
As were the civil rights workers
Were not their causes just?
And yet how ill treated were they?
Haven’t we learned?
What really is the problem?
I’m only looking for my voice to be heard
I’m only looking for simple respect
I’m only looking for a better tomorrow
Don’t block its dawning
Don’t keep me from its warmth
Let me embrace its freedom without constraint
Put away the tear gas and take up the peace pipe of the Native American Tradition
Let the conversation start.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Happy Birthday, John Adams!

Well, time again to wish a very Happy (somewhat belated) Birthday to John Adams, second President and Founding Father!

From 276 years ago to today, Adams still has lessons to impart to us. It's always interesting, to me at least, to learn history and to learn from it. Certainly Adams is worthy to learn from. And there have been many times when I've wished Adams would somehow teach our contemporary lawmakers and politicians a few things!

I also believe that someday I WILL finish David McCoullough's biography.

Happy Birthday, Mr. President!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

What About the Children?

Have you heard the reports? The results of the National Child Welfare Survey found that 1 in 5 children are now living in poverty. That's almost 15 million children. Go here for an article about the issue.

I think we should all be outraged that this is happening to our children. We're not giving our future a good head start. We have got to struggle for better social supports and policies to help our families and especially the children.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The War Against Workers

Today I'm angry and sick about the continuing war against workers, especially public sector workers. It has now hit NJ and I have to vent. The Legislature voted to strip state workers of the right to collective bargain for health care, to make us pay much more toward our health care benefits, and to raid the pensions of the retired. The NJEA (to which I belong) was a leader in the fight against this legislation. For an excellent analysis, read our NJEA President's remarks here.

I hope people wake up. How can we continue to allow our elected officials to get away with such policies that hurt the middle class and below? We had all better start doing something to reform the system. To those who think that this "couldn't happen to them"... don't be so sure. They're gunning for us, the public workers. Who do you think will be next?

Get informed. Know the issues and keep watch on what our officials are doing. Let them know what you think, and VOTE!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Flag Day / Bill of Rights

Today is Flag day. It's a good day to honor our flag and to honor the values we believe it stands for: things such as freedom, liberty.
So get out a flag and ponder those things today.
And in regard to freedom and liberty, why not take a few minutes out and read the Bill of Rights, the first 10 Amendments to our Constitution. Shouldn't we all know what these important Amendments say?
You can go here to read them and even print out a copy.
Happy Flag Day.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

I'm Just Sick

There are so many stories recently that are just terrible, but this one is particularly so. Go here to read of a suicidal man who drowned while a crowd watched and did --- nothing (although someone EVENTUALLY did pull him out).

What kind of society are we when no one - no one - in a crowd of 75 did anything as he walked into the bay? We read of these kind of things happening from years ago (Kitty Genovese in New York), reports of young people beating others or worse where sometimes the victim is lucky to get any aid at all. We can't keep blaming this sort of thing on "budget cuts," or keep excusing sometimes whole crowds who do nothing or worse. We've got to be more compassionate toward each other. If personal safety is an issue, someone should at least try to get somewhere safe and then try go get some help.

We also need to teach people, especially our young people, compassion. We need to show as a society that we really value this quality.

Thank God, there ARE good people out there. We do hear reports of Good Samaritans and bless them for sure, hoping and praying for more of them. We also sadly wish that someone had been much more pro-active for the victim who drowned in the bay.