SOL17 DoodleaDay 22 Wonder



Wonder

In the distances

Of the universe

In the between

Of what is,

Our mind

Plucks from it

To intuit

Thoughts

Of our own

Through our

Wonder

……………….Sheri Edwards @grammasheri

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Wonder is one of my favorite words: it keeps us learning.

Reflect Curiosity and Wonder…

Is one of my phrases to live by.

I walk, I wander, I wonder.

Why does the meadowlark sing from that wire each spring? Is it the same meadowlark?

Why does the water flow that way?

How do they do that dance?

How are the plants and animals changing due to climate change?

What plants and animals will move into our area now because of climate change? What bugs will bug us?

How can I create my backyard to help wildlife?

How can I build an herb garden?

But these days, I’m always asking: What will the president do next? Why? How is that reasoning an American value? Why do rich people get to take from the poor, when we’ve already said as Americans that we want to help? Why? I wonder daily. 

It’s especially difficult when my second favorite motto to live by is:

Go boldly and scatter seeds of kindness.

I thought we were a kind nation, helpful to all. I must now go boldly and continue to have an active voice to speak up.

Who knows, maybe I’ll eventually understand this is all for the better…

Hmmm. I wonder… will I ever believe that?

No.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Part of Slice of Life 2017 by The Two Writing Teachers
Part of DoodleaDay by Royan Lee— today: Word Doodle: Contrasting Colors
Doodling Song: Let the Circle Be Unbroken written by Johnny Cash, sung here by Nitty, Gritty Dirt Band

SOL17 DoodleaDay 11 This Land


I am not a singer, but I sing. It’s off key and not something anyone else wants to hear.

But singing soothes the soul.

And songs that send me chills of love and patriotism remind me of how America is what it is through struggle, struggle for justice for all.  And the songs I sang in the 60s remind me of those struggles; they remind me now of why those songs and those struggles are still important, in fact more so, in today’s hateful governmental reach.

I struggle wondering what happened to my country, this land that is made for you and me, no matter who you are. Yes: no matter who you are.

This is one of my favorite patriotic folk songs, which sings of many struggles, and reminded us in one verse of This Land is Your Land:

Nobody living can ever stop me

As I go walking my Freedom Highway

Nobody living can make me turn back

This land was made for you and me.

If our democratic republic is to survive with our basic freedoms, we must walk that Freedom Highway of free speech and freedom to assemble in order to make known that what is happening is not acceptable. We will not live in a culture of hate and fear; we will live ways that fight for justice for all — not the permitted few and the billionaires.

Now, I don’t begrudge the billionaires their riches; but I do expect them to fight for and honor the life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness of everyone else as well.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” ~Declaration of Independence

Citizen, Immigrant, Refugee have unalienable Rights, and I expect the rich and powerful to stop denying social justice programs.

We must honor all human beings as we once did and were admired for as world leaders in human rights issues; where, with other democracies we “fight for justice in their lives,” as Tracy Chapmen wrote about Nelson Mandela in Freedom Now.

This Land is Your Land, for Americans, was written in many different versions by Woodie Guthrie because injustice rears its wicked head in many ways. Read the song’s history here.

So, how did our country lose its democracy? I wish I had seen this 2014 interview of Henry Giroux — I wish I had been reading Truth-Out.org, which I did not because it does not have an “About Page,” and I thought it would lean too ‘left’ for my readers. I found more here in Wikipedia. But had I been reading this site, it would have opened my eyes to what’s been happening since the 80s on up through Obama. I have not watched this 2015 interview, but plan to. Sometimes being ‘balanced’ keeps us from deeper truths in the ‘big picture’ sense of truth.

So my poem today includes new verses for that American social just song: This Land is Your Land:

There’s people living in other countries
Who want their freedom and family’s safety
They follow their dreams, a risk of ev’ry thing
This land was made for you and me.

We who are living in our great country
Once welcomed dreamers as fellow humans
Providing justice to ease their suffering
This land was made for you and me.

We made our country the greatest ever
A nation proud of its justice virtue
We now must stand up and keep its honor
This land is made for you and me.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Part of Slice of Life 2017 by The Two Writing Teachers

Part of DoodleaDay by Royan Lee— today: letters

Doodling Song: This Land is Your Land by Woodie Guthrie – sung by his son Arlo and more.

SOL17 DoodleaDay 2


I have, I now understand, taken for granted the idea of freedom and the idea that my country was the greatest on earth, to which people around the world dreamed of becoming a part of one day. And many came to save their families from their worlds, and now we, whose Stature of Liberty welcomes them, we, whose descendants were immigrants or refugees, we treat them as enemies. That’s what it appears we are doing.

Read the data about immigrants by Media Matters: they are less likely to commit crimes. There is certainly no valid reason for creating a list of immigrant crimes: Media Matters. A Canadian friend shared this article in the Toronto Star in which the first paragraph explains how these disparaging lies and this list are just like Hitler in Nazi Germany.

And it’s not just immigrant and refugees: it’s health care, voting rights, environmental protections, and civil rights that seem to be disappearing slowly, but surely.

So for doodling today, I chose “Chimes of Freedom” by Bob Dylan in Another Side of Bob Dylan to listen to while I doodle. The song shares images of the downtrodden underdogs as a the narrator ducks into a doorway in a thunderstorm which eventually subsides, the thunderous chimes give way to hope as chimes of freedom.

As I was listening, an article from Huffington Post appeared in my notifications that a 22-year-old woman, who arrived here with her mother at age seven and who spoke to the media about her hopes for herself and others, was arrested and will be deported. I found this a shameful action on our part. For all her years since she was seven, she’s been an American.

So, I am wrong about my country. Someone has changed it. And my heart breaks for the “tongues with no place to bring their thoughts” because we arrest them for speaking up about their dreams as a free person in the United States, which they thought was the greatest country on earth. We were once the role model for human rights; that is no longer true, as this incident denied her rights as a human being. Are we not all enraged and sad?

For resources on immigrants and resources, see Larry Ferlazzo’s post.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Chimes of Freedom Dying
“Lock her up” is their call

Lock every one up

Refugee, immigrant,

Perhaps you and me.

Freedom dying.

Call them rapists

Call them criminals

Ignore the facts

Knowledge, a closed door.

Freedom dying.

Hunt them down

Deport them.

Flight from death, they came

Dreaming of U.S. freedom’s light.

Freedom dying.

Other leading countries

with health care provided,

Instead, in the US

GOP says that’s dead.

Freedom dying.

Greedily corporations

Polluted our water, air, and land

So rules these abated

Now, the president says NO!

Freedom dying.

Every help from progress,

Humane and civilized,

Now totally deconstructed,

Power-punch the people: pow!

Freedom dying.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Important note:

I want to thank Karen Fasimpaur‏ @kfasimpaur and Helen J DeWaard‏ @hj_dewaard for their tweets which have provided me a way to get back into writing as I try to find understanding and solace is this underworld we find ourselves in.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Part of Slice of Life 2017 by The Two Writing Teachers

Part of DoodleaDay by Royan Lee— today: lines, circles, shapes

DigiLitSunday: Free from Fake

Is our freedom real or fake?

Journalismcanneverbe.png

Fake or real? I don’t think that is the real issue. The real issue is whom do we consider to be our journalists, the voice of the people; they let us know. It’s their job.

thebasisofour

Yes, we need ways to discern that what we read is valid and true. Margaret Simon shares how her students think about and validate their sources in her post, DigiLitSunday: Fake or Real?  And they discovered that the truth is not easy to assess — a person in articles may say one thing on one day and change their mind on another. But the point is, the students are verifying the information:

  • what type of site? [edu, gov, org, or ??? ]
  • are their links to their sources?
  • are their cross-references?
  • is the ‘news’ on multiple sources?
  • is information or opinion verified with evidence?

Margaret shared Kevin Hodgson‘s Google Slideshow, which he shares with his students to help them sort real from fake news: Fake News and How To Spot It.  Anyone can put any information online. Who sponsors the site? Who are the donors and supporters? What is their purpose? How do they get their information?  For more ideas on Fake or Real News, see this Google collaboration started by Eric Hill.

As I said, the real issue asks this question: Whom do we consider to be our journalists, the voice of the people? They let us know. It’s their job. We get news from journalists who provide the information about the world and our leaders so we can hold them accountable.

So what is journalism? I trust you’ll find resources and share them below in comments, but here’s part of a definition from Journalism Requires a Definition at mic.com, which reflects a view that follows Thomas Jefferson’s idea that journalists are our voice:

“nine-point explanation given by Bill Kovach and Tom Rosentiel:

  1. Journalism’s first obligation is to the truth
  2. Its first loyalty is to citizens
  3. Its essence is a discipline of verification
  4. Its practitioners must maintain an independence from those they cover
  5. It must serve as an independent monitor of power
  6. It must provide a forum for public criticism and compromise
  7. It must strive to make the significant interesting and relevant
  8. It must keep the news comprehensive and proportional
  9. Its practitioners must be allowed to exercise their personal conscience”

Journalism Requires a Definition at mic.com

So, the first thing today is to search for news from organizations who follow, and whose  journalists follow, those tenets. That would be news sources such as The New York Times or the Washington Post or your local newspaper. We have forgotten that the “news” is for us– by journalists who follow and report on issues that we, the public, the citizens, need to know.

If you don’t like the news you hear, or you disagree, write a letter to the editor or your own blog post. However, this year, journalists have been denigrated by fake news sites and even by our leaders, whom we have elected. Journalists look for the truth with facts — they inform us so we can act. So we might not want to hear this from the New York Times about President Obama:

“He warned us against retreating into our bubbles, but he was never able to escape his own.” New York Times

And we might not want to hear when President-Elect Trump states a lie and is called on it:

“Can you imagine that if Donald Trump got the questions to the debate — it would’ve been the biggest story in the history of stories. And they would’ve said immediately, ‘You have to get out of the race.’ Nobody even talked about it. It’s a very terrible thing.”

That “nobody even talked about it” is a trademark Trump lie; the supposed revelation dominated the news for days.  The Nation

We don’t want to hear those things — but we need to listen.

And we need to use our own strategies for verifying all news sources — using more than one newspaper or media about the issue. We need to read world news– from other countries. We need to support valid “news” organizations.

Why? Here are a few reasons:

  • Twitter is Instant Unverified Statements: “Mr. Trump expertly exploits journalists’ unwavering attention to their Twitter feeds” New York Times
  • Basic facts are needed for citizens to discuss: “When political actors can’t agree on basic facts and procedures, compromise and rule-bound argumentation are basically impossible; politics reverts back to its natural state as a raw power struggle in which the weak are dominated by the strong. That’s where Donald Trump’s lies are taking us. By attacking the very notion of shared reality, the president-elect is making normal democratic politics impossible. When the truth is little more than an arbitrary personal decision, there is no common ground to be reached and no incentive to look for it.” ThinkProgress
  • Our Freedom of the Press is treated by the President-Elect just like Putin’s Puppet Press: “Putin always comes off as an omniscient and benevolent leader tending to a flock of unruly but adoring children.” Alexey Kovalev on Medium
  • We’ve been “Framed”: “You just keep repeating the things that you’re negating. And that just strengthens them.” George Lackof interview by Paul Rosenberg in Salon

These reasons show how we Americans have been inundated with a political strategy that has turned us against those who would keep us free: journalism and Freedom of the Press.

We must understand these and call them out. We must support our journalists and hold them true to standards built over the course of history in our democratic republic and founded in our most sacred documents. And we must hold our leaders accountable to the truth — we must discern any lies and deception by verifying the information. If even our President is creating fake news, make it known. See “Conspirator-in-Chief” from Salon.

Fake or Real? We must build up those who have spoken up through history.

If we let our journalists be bullied, ignored, and disgraced, we all lose our freedom and our ability to hold our government accountable. We must demand that our President respect this fundamental aspect of our democratic republic. This is the first president in my history who has deliberately generated, as a strategy, division, animosity, and threats to our journalists. I may not have liked President G. W. Bush, but he was my president and he did not divide the country with rhetoric nor did he threaten the press. Our President-Elect is different; his strategy is to engage his followers and deny, defame, and divide anyone who questions him. Our historical beginnings formed from fighting tyranny, and although I want him to be great — so far, he has spread only derision and disdain for many of us, the citizens whom he represents, and the journalists who represent us.

Toannouncethatthere.png

We have a right to speak up. We have a right to speak up against websites that create fake news and misinformation. We have a right to speak up to leaders who also do so. And journalists are part of that right. Without freedom of speech, freedom to assemble, and freedom of the press, we are not free. [ Bill of Rights ]

Fake or Real? It’s more than that: we need to expect our highest leaders in our local, state, and federal offices to be honorable, truthful, and supportive of those institutions and founding ideals that make us great.

How?

  • Subscribe and follow reliable news organizations
  • On Facebook, follow those reliable news organizations
  • On Facebook, hide fake news, biased news, misinformation; report fake news
  • On Facebook, share important news from reliable news organizations
  • On Twitter, follow those reliable news organizations
  • On Twitter, choose “I don’t like this Tweet” for false, fake, and lies
  • On Twitter, tweet important news from reliable news organizations
  • Write blog posts about the importance of journalism
  • Write blog posts based on reliable news
  • Encourage students to write letters to the editor
  • Encourage student journalism

Journalism
can never be silent:
that is its greatest virtue
and its greatest fault.
It must speak,
and speak immediately,
while the echoes
of wonder,
the claims of triumph
and the signs of horror
are still in the air.

Henry Anatole Grunwald
Former Editor, Time Magazine

Do more than determine if ‘news’ is fake or real — support the voices of the people: journalists. Make our freedom real!


[Bill Moyers: 10 Investigative Reporting Outlets]

img_3496 Part of Margaret Simon’s: DigiLitSunday

Topic: Fake or Real?

Make America Again 2

trump

I watched the Trump press conference on Jan 11th. Some things I liked, others not.

I did not like the diatribe about the Russian information; the conference was about his ethics dilemma. Is it always going to be a Trump conference, not a press conference? Perhaps the Press needs to take pictures of and acknowledge the sycophants who are there, paid, to support in cheers and applause the president, just like the leader he admires, Putin, would do.

I also didn’t like his statements about Nazi Germany: he’s the one creating the feeling that we are in Nazi Germany because he doesn’t want anyone questioning him. He wants to control the press [again, like his friend Putin.] In addition, this is another example of what Trump does: if something is suggested — or might be suggested — about him, he throws it back at his victims / accusers. Pure con. He needs to be better than this; he could be better than this.

Another problem that brings chills of fear like a Russian-like or Nazi state, was when he said:

And we focused very hard on those states, and they really reciprocated. And those states are going to have a lot of jobs, and they’re going to have a lot of security. They are going to have a lot of good news for their veterans.

Apparently those who nod their heads and applaud and say, “Great job! We voted for you” — those states will be the ones who will have jobs and security, as if there were no Trump voters in other states. Favorites. Reward systems. Discrimination. The rest of us will eat cake.  That’s pretty petty and scary. He may not have meant that, but that is the impression.

I listened as the explanation by his lawyer tried to share how Trump could step away from his business. I felt as if he is hanging on to the business he built, and who could blame him? So it seemed he was saying, “Look. Would this work?”  That was good — to offer a solution.

But then it needs to meet expectations and guidelines, which I don’t think, ethically, it did.

So, it seems, he should decide what he wants to be: President or Businessman. He can’t look like he’s benefiting from the decisions he will be making. No matter if he says, “The President can’t have a conflict of interest.” The reality is: he does. If he wants to be great; he must be better than that.

Step away. Be great.  That’s how he was voted in. Traditions matter; being presidential matters. He will be the leader of the United States of America; that is his business now.

These are my perceptions; I’m hoping they are wrong. I do want our president to do great things for our country. But perceptions matter. And he will be president of all of us– he needs to be presidential, not petty. That would make our great America again.



Image: Adaptation of image By Michael Vadon (Donald Trump) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Make America Again 1

freedomofspeechmeans

I’m torn.

The newly elected people are so negative, uncaring, and bent on destroying what we as Americans have built based on the values, the creed, that founded our country.

I watched in tears at President Obama’s Farewell Speech. He reminded us of those sacred beliefs,

“we are all created equal, endowed by our creator with certain unalienable rights, among them life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

He added a problem:

And that’s what I want to focus on tonight, the state of our democracy. Understand democracy does not require uniformity. Our founders argued, they quarreled, and eventually they compromised. They expected us to do the same. But they knew that democracy does require a basic sense of solidarity. The idea that, for all our outward differences, we’re all in this together, that we rise or fall as one.

He shared we must see each other again — believe we all want to be part of our United States of America:

So regardless of the station we occupy; we all have to try harder; we all have to start with the premise that each of our fellow citizens loves this country just as much as we do; that they value hard work and family just like we do; that their children are just as curious and hopeful and worthy of love as our own.

Because if we don’t:

The peril each poses to our democracy is more far reaching than a car bomb or a missile. They represent the fear of change. The fear of people who look or speak or pray differently. A contempt for the rule of law that holds leaders accountable. An intolerance of dissent and free thought. A belief that the sword or the gun or the bomb or the propaganda machine is the ultimate arbiter of what’s true and what’s right.

The people elected now and assigned to important cabinet positions have ideas that undermine the values most Americans believe in: life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, freedom of religion [or not], freedom of speech, freedom of assembly. Let’s just mention the Bill of Rights:

Amendment 1: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

The laws and programs they support against women are based on their religious views. They are people who do not believe in Civil Rights or Climate Change or affordable health care.

Here’s the Preamble of the Constitution:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

These cabinet members and elected Republicans seem bent on ignoring “general Welfare” or “Blessings of Liberty” for some people and plan to repeal all that has been passed that help millions of people afford health care, and have equal opportunities for success and living their lives their way [liberty]. They have a strange view of “justice.” America was not perfect, but now it looks like it will not be great anymore.

And– we have a person in the highest office who bullies people, businesses, corporations, journalists, and media in his tweets, and he lies. He is threatening our democracy, our democratic republic.

But this is why I’m torn: the vitriol of which Obama warns us. I’m torn because people have a right to speak up and support or dissent the policies proposed. But we don’t have a right to bully or slam or disrespect others’ ideas when they do so. And for sure, people should not be told to stop.  As Obama said:

But, protecting our way of life, that’s not just the job of our military. Democracy can buckle when it gives into fear. So just as we as citizens must remain vigilant against external aggression, we must guard against a weakening of the values that make us who we are.

Later he said:

Our Constitution is a remarkable, beautiful gift. But it’s really just a piece of parchment. It has no power on its own. We, the people, give it power. We, the people, give it meaning — with our participation, and with the choices that we make and the alliances that we forge.

Whether or not we stand up for our freedoms. Whether or not we respect and enforce the rule of law, that’s up to us. America is no fragile thing. But the gains of our long journey to freedom are not assured…

It falls to each of us to be those anxious, jealous guardians of our democracy. Embrace the joyous task we have been given to continually try to improve this great nation of ours because, for all our outward differences, we in fact all share the same proud type, the most important office in a democracy, citizen.

Citizens must participate — that means to speak up. Speak up against the weakening of our values. Citizens must participate — they must listen. Listen to all sides and facts. And like our founding fathers, compromise.

I believe that the rash proposals eliminating the gains made the last eight and more years of civil rights, health care, opportunities for all — these rash decisions are not the way of our founding fathers– they are not arguing and discussing with each other: they are bullying their party ideals to the destruction of our republic. I thank those Democrats and those Republicans who are saying, “Slow down,” and who are asking critical questions of the cabinet nominees.

But I’m torn to speaking up. We get yelled at and shut down. I’ve always encouraged my students to speak up to rules that seem arbitrary and unfair; I’ve supported them in appropriate ways to approach their dissent. Yet, here I am. Afraid. Afraid of the bully. Afraid of all those bullies.

I just want to make clear: I believe in the power of the American dream, that all of us have rights to pursue our goals and dreams, and that our laws should support the opportunities for all to succeed. I believe that programs should exist to help people who need it — in food, housing, health [including safe air and water].  The laws and programs that started in the last eight years support us all.

Abraham Lincoln said in the Lincoln-Douglas debates:

I believe each individual is naturally entitled to do as he pleases with himself and the fruit of his labor, so far as it in no wise interferes with any other man’s rights; that each community, as a State, has a right to do exactly as it pleases with all the concerns within that State that interferes with the right of no other State; and that the General Government, upon principle, has no right to interfere with anything other than that general class of things that does concern the whole.

 But many of the laws and ideas being suggested do interfere with others’ rights.

Civil Rights, Health Care and Climate Change  all concern the whole. The Bill of Rights concerns the whole. We’ve got to speak up to protect these values.

I do not want an authoritarian government destroying these values and restricting the lives of my grandchildren. I know that the people who voted for the bully thought he would help them. I just don’t want our country to be about a few — we need to join together to see how we can work together for all Americans. All.

Mark Barnes is an inspiration to me — he’s taken his stand. He’s written about it here: Hacking Powerful People: Inspiration from Meryl Streep. He encourages us to:

1 — Acknowledge the problem

2 — Face the oppressors on their own playground

3 — Recruit the strong to help

I’ve acknowledged several problems in general.

I’m not sure how to face “oppressors,” and I still hope that their are those Democrats and Republicans who will slow things down and compromise for their citizens’ our country’s wellbeing.  Even today during the confirmation hearings, several senators asked good questions and dug in. Several GOP have said they want to slow down on health care. Although certain Republicans and their leader are rushing forward, bullying others, I’m hoping saner minds will prevail.

I’m looking for “the strong” who are most effective — any ideas?

My problem might not be your problem, but I do [and should] have a right to speak up about it. And all of us have a responsibility to have conversations about these issues, including those now taking over. I do want to make America again. It already was great– not perfect — but great.

I’m torn, but getting braver.


Quote:

“Alan Dershowitz.” BrainyQuote.com. Xplore Inc, 2017. 10 January 2017. https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/a/alan_dershowitz.html

Image: Notegraphy