Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Well, I Guess We Didn't Start The Fire, But We Know More About Fire Than Ever Before, So Why?

Harry Truman, Doris Day, Red China, Johnnie Ray

South Pacific, Walter Winchell, Joe DiMaggio

Joe McCarthy, Richard Nixon, Studebaker, Television

North Korea, South Korea, Marilyn Monroe

Rosenbergs, H-Bomb, Sugar Ray, Panmunjom

Brando, The King And I, and The Catcher In The Rye

Eisenhower, Vaccine, England's got a new queen
Marciano, Liberace, Santayana goodbye
We didn't start the fire

It was always burning since the world's been turning

We didn't start the fire

No, we didn't light it, but we tried to fight it.

The only thing giving me the slightest inkling of solace in 2017, is the fact that chaos has always been the norm, as I'm reminded by the Billy Joel song from the early 80s. I was too young to understand the global politics of the time, but in retrospect, I can see we lived in a far from perfect world. I am also thinking about Whoops by Blues Traveler where they sing, The possibility exists / no matter how scary it may seem / that paradise was once this world / and it wasn't just a dream / The earth was our heaven and we did not know / there were rules for us to break / Maybe now we'll find out too late what a clever hell we can make.

Monday began with a meeting with local superintendents and University Presidents, as well as strong community leaders. The pressures placed on K-12 schools right now are entering territories never seen before in America's history. Budgets are being slashed at extreme levels and they no longer know where else they can cut, besides doing more damage to teachers and staff. The infrastructures are being challenged, and the kids will be the ones that lose out. Class sizes are at capacity, and guidance counselors, if schools are lucky to keep them, are serving numbers that are unimaginable. 

I walked out with one of the University Presidents and said, "How is it in a nation that supports the ridiculousness of Hollywood and ESPN sports, Wall Street, and the Hamptons, can also cripple and destroy its schools?" His answer was, "It's all in the design. Those at the top don't want success for those at the bottom. They want success for their kids, and they send their kids to boarding schools or private institutions. They are beyond detached about the vast majority of America and now, because of Democracy, they were voted in to go in for the kill. The very ones who will be hurt most by these new decisions, though, are the ones who stood behind those that want to screw them. Odd times, indeed."

The only response I can have as more and more of the ugliness continues, is to fight a little harder for what is good, to believe in love, and to embrace knowledge, books, and history. I didn't start the fire, but I will continue to work for those that get burned by it most.

It's hard not to cry as I work in classrooms and I see what is happening, and now have knowledge of more that is coming their way. My job, which is in support of teachers and students, is getting trickier and trickier. I'm not sure where any of this will end.

Firefighters. Police. Teachers. Social Workers. Nurses. They do so much for so little. Heroes. That's what they are.

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