Tuesday, June 26, 2018

The gauntlet

I'm thinking we, as a people, need to take a long hard look at ourselves... and take a chill pill.

By now everyone knows that Trump press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked to leave a restaurant over the weekend. Glee abounded among some of us (not me). I reported the event pretty much without comment.

She is now receiving death threats. So let me ask, when is enough enough?

Look, I hate Ms. Sanders and especially her boss, but I don't think I would have asked her to leave. What I would have done is this: I think if I were the restaurant owner I would have asked for a moment,m as a taxpayer, to bend her ear for a few minutes.

We pay her salary and I don't think it wrong that we have the right to ask her to listen, not talk (I/we already know her views) tell her respectfully how we feel and then let her eat in peace.

Nothing may come of it, but who knows, maybe a seed is planted.

Let's face it, the gauntlet has now been thrown. Sanders was asked to leave the restaurant. Mark my words, Nancy Pelosi is going to soon (if she has not already) face a similar situation.

You know, tit for tat. You cast a stone and I hurl one back.

Again, when is enough enough?

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Think twice, three times before...

So Roseanne went and got herself fired and her show jettisoned from the ABC network. I find it hard to celebrate this. First off, I didn't watch the show's revival. I could not in good conscience watch her knowing she supports the Donald.

Don't get me wrong. I think ABC's decision to cancel her was imminently correct, no questions asked.

What makes me sad is that a woman (or a man, for the matter) of her talent, her influence, and standing in the entertainment community (or any community) could be so racist, so unfunny, and so wrong!

It is hard to celebrate a racist. It is, however, not hard to celebrate punishing someone for crossing the line as she clearly did.

Canceled she is. Of course, she will apologize (I'm sure she already has... and saying "it was just a joke" does not cut it), but as many have pointed out today, freedom of speech does not, cannot, shield one from freedom of consequences. *

I dislike teaching lessons such as this. A lot of talented people are going to lose her job because of her mouth. I'm reminded that when one is angry and one wants to fire off an email, that it is best to write it, set it aside an hour or two. If, after that time, the message is still appropriate it may be okay to send it.

Maybe people who reside on the twitternet should follow this maxim as well... and that goes for certain politicians too.

* yes, I am fully aware my stance on fines being levied against sports figures who kneel during the national anthem can be construed similarly. There is, of course, a huge difference. That discussion is best left for another day.

Monday, May 7, 2018

A missed opportunity

I am sad tonight. A few weeks back I accidentally found a five year old message from a childhood friend's brother. How I missed it all this time, I do not know! Anyhow I replied and waited for a response that never came. I looked at his photos and picked out a few that I assumed would be his son or nephew.

He replied and told me that he was, in fact, Dewayne's nephew. He told me his uncle died two years ago. He then told me his Dad Darryl had died a year prior to that. We talked for more than an hour and when we concluded, he gave me David's phone number.

During those early years, David, Darryl, Dennis, and Dewayne (and their older sister Judy) was a second family to me. David's Dad was an avid bowler and took us many a-time to the lanes in Logansport.

Last week I called David and was unable to connect with him and I passed along my phone number to his nephew and asked he tell David to call me.

Some history here. David Moss and I were the best of friends from the fourth through the ninth grade at Caston Educational Center just outside of Fulton, Indiana. We met in school and were fast friends. We shared a love for comic books, science fiction, Star Trek, humor, music, and especially The Archies!

During our summer vacations from school we found ways to goof off. We worked for some local farmers bailing hay. And we found ways to share our love for rock music, always our constant! And ohmigawd, the "trouble" we got into in study hall!

I've never forgotten the comic skits we wrote for our 8th grade English class. Sadly, when I was in the 9th grade (in 1971) my family moved away and we lost touch with one another. I reinitiated contact with David in 1975 not too long before I got married... and then again, David fell off the radar and I never saw him again.

Ever since joining Facebook back in late 2008, I would search the names to see if David "was here." I never found him. His nephew told me David was never interested in it.

Tonight, Dan informed me that David had been found dead earlier this evening. No details at this point. 

I'm terribly sad as I was really looking forward to reconnecting with him. David, wherever you are, I salute our friendship and will remember you well.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Ignore today's youth at your peril

       photo courtesy of WNDU News

I took a little bit of satisfaction today (okay, a lot) as I gazed at the audience during today's March for our Lives rally here in South Bend. While it consisted mostly of adults, there was a huge, and I do mean huge, contingent of young people there (definition of teens and young 20-somethings). And there were plenty of even younger kids too.

Unofficially, I would gamble that there were between 400 and 750 people present at the rally, and again, most were under 30 years of age.

A number of friends not entirely friendly to this cause, or at the least suspicious of it, made plenty of remarks last week during the school walkouts on the one-month anniversary that most of the kids were bullied into walking out with their classmates and teachers.

Sure, uh-huh.

If I want to buy into that notion (and I don't), that would easily have evaporated today. The youth I saw today were energetic, passionate, smart, caring, committed, some frightened, AND they were loud.

I would advise people not to discount our youth's determination on this issue.

They handed out flyers, they hung posters commemorating those who had died from gun violence, and they handed out and carried signs.

Now, I don't know how many of you have teenagers but it is pretty near impossible to get them to mobilize like this and to do it on their time when they are away from the watchful eyes of their schoolmates.

There was no bullying today. These were smart, caring kids who want to see change. One thing they mentioned today--repeatedly, was this: "We are going to be of voting age soon."

Any adults not smart enough to recognize this will need to, as one teen said today, "Start brushing up your resume."

Excited, I am. Watching these kids today, I saw a cause that has united them, and I fully expect their movement will grow.


Saturday, March 24, 2018

And the children shall lead II

   photo courtesy of the South Bend Tribune

Today, as we listened to some of our local children's tales at our local March for our Lives rally, I was struck by how the things today's teens worry about are things we never ever dreamed of when we were their age.

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg opened the rally with one of his strongest. most passionate speeches I have heard (from him) to date. He told us he followed, not led, a group of high school students to this rally before turning over the stage to more than a dozen local teens.

One middle school student talked about how their school has had three lockdowns due to shooting threats to their school just this month. One time, the students sat in their classrooms, in the dark, doors locked, sitting beneath their desks for 150 minutes.

A freshman from Washington High School told us about a 17 year old student, her friend,
Tysiona Crawford, just 17 years old was killed earlier this year by her ex-boyfriend, and how this student's locker (four down the hallway from hers) was a constant reminder that she is now gone. "How do we process a student being their one day and her desk sitting empty the next?" she asked of us.

Another student told us every day when she goes to school she formulates a plan for the day, "what would I do today if a gunmen came into our school. Where would I hide? Would I hide beneath my desk? Which of my friends would die?"

What is wrong with us that we make it necessary AND possible for our children to feel this way?

Another teen told us of a time when their high school had a lockdown and their substitute teacher did not know how she was to react, but her students did. Is that NOT a sad commentary?

These are but a few of the dozen stories recounted to us by our local children from South Bend and Elkhart. Is this what school is supposed to be about? We expect our school children to learn the 3R's, not the 4Rs (Reading, 'aRithmetic, wRiting, and React to gunmen).

Having been a high school teacher myself, there have been times when I have worried about this country's future based on I saw in our classrooms. I feel more secure after seeing how eloquent and impassioned these young speakers were today.

If we adults cannot, or will not lead on the issue, then we must get out of the way of those who will! I applaud and am gratified by our young people's passion and intelligence. Who knows? Maybe they will ignite the movement where adults have failed?

Oh, and where was Jackie?