SOL17 DoodleaDay 15 Blowin’ In The Wind

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I spend time each day to learn from others by reading their ideas linked to in tweets on Twitter. Before November 8th, this daily activity inspired me and my work; the twitter feed offered the opportunity to share, learn, grow, reciprocate, and remix to make the world a better place.

After November 8th, I took some time off. I found the world had shifted off the humane course of a world seeking peace– seeking liberty and justice for all. It careened of a cliff and away from but a call to:

“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, written by Thomas Jefferson

I don’t know if you felt it, that tremble under your feet that knocks you off balance; a feeling of dread that the world beneath your feet is crumbling away. Before November 8th, our country opened up that joyous word: freedom — it acknowledged and upheld differences; it celebrated a world that includes everyone. Yes, places in the world were still horrific, and the world was trying to help that. Yes, sometimes the opportunities were not available as easily for some than others. Yet, we were as a country working on those. We were not perfect, but we were open; we had avenues to take to promote freedom and justice for all.

Then we elected oligarchs, white supremacists, anarchists, illiterates whose sole purpose is to disrupt and control.

I thought that the Republicans were American patriots — that they would see the evil in the actions and the power negating freedoms, but now they are complicit.

I am a fool; I thought our government of the people, by the people, and for the people through our elected representatives would govern for all the people.

I am a fool.

Today, I looked at the blogs of people I follow on Twitter. One post, My Un-Representative by Alan Levine [@cogdog] really hit my heart- the ideas touched exactly how I’m feeling.

Look at the graphic at the top of the post — this is a Wikimedia Commons public domain image representing the House of Representatives, 2017.

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There are, indeed, more Republicans [red] than Democrats and others [blue].

Yes, we elected them, but how did we elect them? In fact, the Republicans selected us, the voters by rigging the voting districts. It’s called gerrymandering, and this January, 2016 Washington Post article explains this concept and this fact [bold, mine]:

The GOP scored 33 more seats in the House this election even though Democrats earned a million more votes in House races. Professor Jeremy Mayer says gerrymandering distorts democracy. (The Fold/The Washington Post)

I knew gerrymandering existed, but did not think it was that bad, and in fact, I thought my state [Washington] was fair with a bi-partisan system. It turns out I’m wrong: Read the DailyKos article on why this doesn’t work either.

Some resources to correct the effects of gerrymandering:

End Gerrymandering

The Fold/The Washington Post

Brennan Center for Justice

FairVote

Still, despite knowing about gerrymandering, I’m still a fool. Because although there are more red than blue representatives and senators, I believed they represented ALL the people, not just their party.

Yes, I thought the people elected still had to be Americans and consider all Americans in their elected responsibility as my representative in the House or Senate.

freedom_iconsre Yes, I believe in our freedoms, our rights, and the freedom to live one’s life in one’s own way.

That means that our representatives need to consider all the people, to hold up those rights for all Americans. In the past, we have expected our rights to extend to anyone in our country. But that was then, now we have the inhumane, unAmerican travel ban.

Since we all live with others, freedom comes with responsibilities. One of those is to respect the freedoms and ideas of others, which I certainly expect my congresspersons to do.

respect_iconsre

Respect means listening to and accepting other ideas, tolerating that which is different, and acknowledging ways to allow those differing ideas a voice and a life in our complex and dynamic communities. I expect this of our elected officials in Congress.

In my classroom, it means we have a talking stick, a Native American way to hand off a time to share and give one’s voice [and everyone has a  voice to solve an issue].

compromise_iconsre

Another responsibility key to our democracy is compromise. We find common ground so that our country of diverse ideas and cultures can live together in peace and respect. I expect that elected officials work together to compromise so all people are represented, not just the elected person’s party.

And in my classroom, sometimes we compromise on how we spend our  time– some students want more time with the teacher and others want to work in their own small groups. I shorten up my part, and then students set their goals and work in the areas and ways that best help them succeed in their projects.

cooperation_iconsre

In order to compromise, listening and understanding respectfully is a must and so is cooperation. I expect that when a law is created, that bi-partisan cooperation takes precedence over party political manipulation.

In my classroom, students and I cooperate– giving each other ideas and feedback on our writing or videos or blogposts. We help each other be successful.

collaboration_iconsre

Sometimes issues are so complicated, that we need to collaborate to get things done — the people we elect need to research and present different ideas to each other in order to analyze what would work best to solve the issue in cooperation and compromise.

In the classroom, sometimes students have different jobs [researcher, interviewer, composer] and sometimes they have parts of topics for which they are responsible for so when their team meets, everyone has part of the information needed to complete a project. That’s collaboration, which then requires cooperation and compromise respectfully to consider and solve the big picture issue.

doodleaday_iconssre_freedomI know these concepts: freedom, respect, compromise, cooperation, and collaboration work together — and I know that they work because that’s how things happen in  the real world.

So I’m expecting the elected officials, Democrat, Republican, Independents, work together for all Americans, and not just for their party.

How about you?

Look for and support those officials who seek each other out and begin the listening process to uphold the Constitution and our American values which are now under siege by the current and very lost administration. Help them find the way back to the great America, the one that fought for and created laws — not for order — but for liberty and justice for all.

The answer is blowing’ in the wind — and we must listen in freedom for all to find the answers together.

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Maybe just you can,

Maybe you say,

Maybe you shut me up,

Maybe you pray your way.

Maybe you slam the door

Maybe you build a border

Maybe you block me out

Maybe you hear my shouts.

Maybe I stand louder

Maybe you can’t ignore

Maybe in the crying

Maybe you’ll feel your heart.

Maybe you’ll open up,

Maybe you’ll listen,

Maybe you’ll see the person

Maybe you’ll step up.

Maybe you’ll open a window,

Maybe you’ll open a door,

Maybe you’ll take my hand,

Maybe together we stand.

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Part of Slice of Life 2017 by The Two Writing Teachers

Part of DoodleaDay by Royan Lee— today: icons: metaphors for concepts

Doodling Song: Peter, Paul, and Mary Blowin’ in the Wind

House of Representatives 2017 Image: “United States House of Representatives 2017” is a Wikimedia Commons image place in the public domain.

SOL17 DoodleaDay 8 Love

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I grew up Lutheran. I don’t know what that means today, but I know that I learned that Jesus Loves Me, and Jesus loves you, and we are to treat others as we want to be treated because God is love. And love means many things — it means love in the family– everyone in the family. It means love through caring and kindness in the classroom. It means love through friendship and reaching out to those who have no one. It means love through compassion to those hurt, hurtful, afraid, lost, angry, homeless, helpless. It means love of the earth to protect that which provides all that we need to live.

So I am so troubled by the lack of love in the world today, even in my country now where for some reason, immigrants and refugees fleeing devastation are no longer welcome, where the poor are seen with contempt, and where providing support for the unsupported somehow costs too much. I see no compassion in policies and in actions that strip the protections for the earth, the needy, the sick, the poor, the homeless. For sure, we were not perfect before — but we had the compassion to plan for those who may need help.

At one time in my life, I needed help. At one time in his life, my husband needed help. We needed help for food and doctors for our first, beginning families. Divorce does that, by the way– all those supposed laws against women now being forged by supposed Christians forget how often women must care for themselves and their children on their own. And there was help when I needed it. I am so thankful for that help, so I would never begrudge or feel contempt for those using the programs that help with health, food, shelter; I would not think of disbanding those programs thinking that those people need to “pull up their bootstraps” and find work. I know it’s not that easy, and unless you have lived in the lives of those looking for help, shame for judging their need.

But no matter what, I keep my values, and will do my part to bring them back, and the programs that help people when they need it.

How do you keep your faith, your values of love and compassion in these times?

Resources:

CDC ACES Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)

Responding to ACES by CORELABERTEWA and a pdf summary

Immigrants and Refugees, see Larry Ferlazzo’s post.

Face Poverty

Brian Jensen on Poverty

Evicted by Matthew Desmond

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A half apple squished

up against the littered curb;

He paused and stooped down,

picked up the apple, brushed it,

walked away and bit.

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Part of Slice of Life 2017 by The Two Writing Teachers

Part of DoodleaDay by Royan Lee— today:  Draw the concept of Love without using hearts or the color red

Doodling Song: My Own Two Hands sung by Jack Johnson, written by Ben Harper

SOL17 DoodleaDay 4

 

hope-renaissance

I am finding hope in these dark times. I know that many of my friends voted for Trump, and I know them to be kind and caring. Therefore, I know we can come together somehow in steadying the foundations of our America.

Hope: In the New York Times, Timothy Egan wrote an uplifting article entitled “A Great New Accidental Renaissance.” Attending a “Search for Hope” conference at a Seattle University, he thought a few people would show up to each event. Instead, the conference was sold out; he writes:

In the winter of the American soul, people thronged to hear advice on how to “live a life of significance and impact” and to “find meaning in times of change, challenge and chaos.”

And he credits Trump for the renaissance:

…because the threats to truth, civility, rational thought and brotherly love coming from the White House have prompted a huge counterreaction.

Although the tweeting Trump supporters consider others lacking in truth, civility, rational thought, and love, in reality, their love is not for all. The people, however, who are protesting are protesting for the rights of all Americans, not just themselves. That’s a huge difference. And this “winter of the American soul” created by the president and his GOP followers has created the inspiration to engage in civic discourse, to assemble together against intolerance and ignorance, and to actively and collectively emphasize the American values this administration seeks to dismiss and mock.  As Timothy Egan says:

we may be experiencing a great awakening for the humane values that are under siege by a dark-side presidency. People are going inward, to find something bigger than Trump, and outward, to limit the damage he inflicts on the country.

Be aware that the GOP are fighting in at least eighteen states against our constitutional right to assemble and our free speech. Although the GOP fight for the right to own and carry any kind of gun as their right according to the Second Amendment of the Constitution, they are perfectly willing to deny your First Amendment right to assemble, to freedom of speech, to petition the government:

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.

We will no longer take the values of “truth, civility, rational thought and brotherly love” for granted as if they were the natural progression of a civilized society, but rather we will learn and gather together with non-violent and civil strategies to uphold these values in our communities as the great America we know and love.

Gandhi said, “The science of nonviolence can alone lead one to pure democracy.”

This is our time to strengthen our democratic republic and limit the damage to its institutions and Constitution. And the key is civil action by the informed actions of concerned citizens through nonviolence.

Resources:

A Commitment to Nonviolence: The Leadership of John Lewis

Six Principles of Nonviolence by Teaching Tolerance

What nonviolence is [Gandhi].

A Time for Justice: A Teaching Tolerance middle school guide on Civil Rights

Movie: Gandhi — who freed his country, India, through nonviolence

Please add any other resources on nonviolence in the comments.

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Song: Freedom Now by Tracy Chapman, about the life of Nelson Mandela who spent twenty-seven years in jail before freed to fight against Apartheid in South Africa. He and President FW de Klerk won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993, and in1994 Mandela became South Africa’s first democratically elected President.

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Twilight slides to dark

as communities of stars

lead hope towards sunlight.

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Find your communities. Gather in nonviolent actions to retain our values, our access to knowledge, and our spirit as Americans. Always strive to invite the other side to rejoin and reconnect as the one America we have been; ending the divisiveness is a main goal.

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HOPE

Hear each other;

Open communication;

Practice peace and conversation;

Energize communities.

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Part of Slice of Life 2017 by The Two Writing Teachers

Part of DoodleaDay by Royan Lee— today: Practice @DaveGray‘s Visual Alphabet

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Part of Slice of Life 2017 by The Two Writing Teachers

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