I’ve been really sad and angry this week. The news cycle has upset me even more than it usually does. I came to accept a long time ago that the political system in our country is dilapidated and crumbling and that it seems to get worse each year. I still participate, though. People ask me how I can stand to live in Texas, and the answer is that I love it here, even if I’m embarrassed sometimes by our state government. Texas has a long and rich tradition in the Democratic party, but many of our non-conservatives are frankly so disgusted or cowed by the current state of affairs that they give up.
I don’t, though.
I don’t ally myself with any party, choosing to be an Independent because honestly, that’s really what makes the most sense to me. I work to make the world a better place from within as much as I can; I try to keep an open mind. I have many friends and family members from all parties and all political persuasions, and I know there is intelligence and compassion and good-heartedness in all corners. I just wish THOSE people made it onto the news.
I’ve been wanting to write all week about the Akin debacle, but every time I tried, I didn’t know where to begin. There’s just so much to deal with! (Fortunately, The Onion did a pretty good job of expressing how I and nearly everyone I know feels.) Perhaps I could start by saying that this was never about a “poor choice of words,” but rather a poor choice of thought. That the entire concept of rape having different varieties is ludicrous. That we shouldn’t be offended by the term “legitimate rape,” but rather by the idea that any victim’s pain and trauma could possibly be minimized or marginalized by such utter idiocy as the garbage that spewed from his mouth on Sunday. That the term “forcible rape,” which was part of some nonsense co-authored by Paul Ryan (currently backtracking as fast as he can from Akin and his ilk) and which implies that rape is only truly rape if the victim also gets beaten up, deserved the ignoble death it got and hopefully won’t be resurrected.
But see, then I start to get angry again. Not just at Akin, but at all the people who demean others for so very many reasons. In this world, it’s a hard battle to not hate on people. It’s tough to remind myself every day not to look down on others for their views or beliefs when they so clearly contradict what I understand as logical or true or good. But for Christ’s sake, if I can do it, so can everyone. It’s not like I didn’t have to teach myself this principle, and later in life than it should have been. Come on, people, deal.
And I have to stop myself — again — from becoming so upset. Take a deep breath. Calm down. Remember that it is not good practice to demean other people for having beliefs different from yours. Remember that. Try to make sure everyone does. Take the emotion out of a situation so you can look at facts.
But when someone on a SCIENCE COMMITTEE says something so utterly mythological it defies not only logic but the common sense God gave a chicken, something so ridiculous that it flies in the face not just of decency but of historical and proven fact, what the hell has happened to this country? And who let those people in charge?? Oh, good grief.
Today was the first day of school. I had such a good time meeting all my new students, fantastic and wonderful kids in grades 9-12 who are going to make my days fun and challenging and exciting and intellectually stimulating. And I got to walk my own children down to their building (I teach in a school which has PreK through 12), and it took forever to get there because my kids had to stop and greet and hug every friend they hadn’t seen over the summer and even the new friends they were meeting just for the first time today. And when we got to the kindergarten hallway, my son’s new teachers were in the hall exclaiming his name and how happy they were to see him, and he ran to them and hugged them, too. And my daughter had to stop in each of her old classrooms and hug every teacher she’s ever had — PreK, kindergarten, 1st grade — and visit with them all before joining her new 2nd grade class, who also looked happy to see her.
Today was hectic and energetic, and it was also damn good.
My kids love school, and I want them to. I count my lucky blessings every day that they’re in a good place, learning and loving it. This is an excellent foundation for their whole lives. They are curious. They question. They think for themselves, and I am joyfully grateful, numerously blessed.
And each day I sally forth, as a parent and as a teacher and as a thinking human being, stamping out ignorance the best I can, one delighted moment or one horrifying piece of propaganda at a time.
Fight the good fight, people. Be well.