Thursday, February 23, 2017

I Don't Even Know What To Title My Thoughts. But I Have Them.

There is so much to think about these days, that it's almost impossible to keep up with what we should be thinking about. I continue to reread classical thinkers and modern writers to help me make sense of where we are in history (knowing that every phenomenal civilization has collapsed at one point or other in its history). 

After a day of teaching, I came home to walk the dog and prep for writing/grading and watching back to back basketball (I had the plan to relax for the evening). I loaded up my iPod and hit the streets, catching up on This American Life and, as luck would have it, It's Working Out Very Nicely was the featured program. I understand that NPR who hosts This American Life, like many of the programs that have become routine in my life, is on the chopping block under a new administration who is skeptical of what gets reported in the news. Perhaps that is why this report, this story, this writing, and this explanation had me on the edge of tears as I walked my dog. I cannot get my head around it,
This week we document what happened when the President's executive order went into effect temporarily banning travel from seven countries, and we talk about the way it was implemented. A major policy change thrown into the world like a fastball with no warning. It's hard not to ask, "What just happened? What was that all about?
I had to stop on a few occasions and look to the skies. "God, you Great Whatever, you...are you paying attention? Yes, the executive order was turned around after the American court system found the executive demand to be what courts have the jurisdiction to decide on (it is checks and balances, as it should be). Hearing these particular stories, however, put voices in my ears and images in my head that I couldn't believe I was hearing. I continue to advocate for neutrality in my politics and am proud that I vote both parties and make the best decision after I do my research. I  always look to educational policies in my decision making and I look for the treatment of immigrants and refugees. I think economically, too, and recognize that as awesome as our nation tends to be, there are flaws. Things need to be fixed. I'm not sure the interests of either party are going forth right now. People might thing its their party's initiatives, but something is making me skeptical. 

After listening to the radio show and watching the evening news, I kept shaking my head. I am replaying every Republican debate that I watched with careful eyes and curiosity, and hearing many who argued against the integrity of some candidates.  I don't understand how all the individuals who said the same things that are being said now by the Democrat party (and I'm not standing with them, either), are not stepping up. This year's election has never been about a two-party system. It's been about the mission statement of the United States, our democratic traditions, our iconic imagination (Statue of Liberty, American Eagle, national anthems, etc.) and what has so quickly been put into place to challenge that. I have spent my entire life in books - and all my degrees and a doctorate have led me to find answers to the questions I have asked (and I'm still asking them). Since 9/11, I've read voraciously to make sense of our mission statement and the future of the United States. I've read conservative writers and liberal writers. I've found irrationality and rationality in both sides. Still, it's been easy to support and stand united. I am having a difficult time this year. I think many of us are.

What's happening  is beyond imagination. I'm a storyteller and will continue to listen to stories. I'm not religious, but I will follow the doctrines of the good books to look out for the needy, to assist the poor, and to do unto others as I want done unto me. I simply will never understand hate: the hate from the left for the right, the right for the left, and this new alt right hatred for everything that makes America what it is. The venom of the left and right have me hating humanity. WTH?

This post isn't what I planned to write after a phenomenal Syracuse game, but this has been on my mind since I went for the walk. If you can, take 55 minutes of your life and listen to the radio show linked above. Hear the stories. Understand the global trust for the U.S.  when so many nations fail its people. Consider heart. Think about love. And just process. Simply process what is reported here and then let me know what I'm missing. I just do not understand this.

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