Category Archives: politics

We Don’t Have To Be Constantly Aware

It’s hard to break a news addiction.

But I’m trying.

DH turns the news on and keeps it on all day. Unless Ancient Aliens is on. AA marathon, all bets are off. Lol.

Honestly I didn’t know how much news my husband consumed until quarantine. I’m a fan of the news. A big fan. But right now, leaving the TV on the news is not okay. It’s awful to watch the COVID numbers increase, to hear the President say something ridiculous like we don’t need to test because if we don’t test our numbers won’t be so high, to see people storming capitols with guns, to watch a black man gunned down on his daily jog…the list goes on. When the news is on all morning, the list is long and enraging.

I’m working on breaking my news addiction. And it’s working.

What we’re doing instead of watching the news: music. iTunes is outstanding and we’ve listened to so many different artists lately. Our favorite right now is Nora Jones.

That’s where we are. I need to break the constant news habit before summer. Right now I have classes and grading to take me away, but once we get to summer…oh boy.

It’s Hard Not To Be Angry

But it’s not healthy to be angry all the time.

And honestly, we know there are outside influencers trying to keep us divided. All the time.

Social media is tough. I love politics, but when every little thing is political, politics ceases to be fun. During quarantine when your only contact with some people is social media posting politics all the time skews things, and when you live in the middle of red America, it skews them in a bad way.

It took me a long time to get here, but I made it. At least I made it today.

My goal is to stop posting in anger and instead to just post fully sourced facts.

No memes, no opinion pieces. Just facts. When I’m talking politics.

It won’t change anyone’s mind, I don’t think, but hopefully it will help me. And maybe if I’m making this a personal challenge, I’ll be doing my part to stop creating division.

The News Isn’t The Enemy

Today, again and again, I saw this comment: “I just don’t know what to believe anymore.”

Usually the comment was preceded by someone saying the person had posted an article from a newspaper that wasn’t true, and “you know how the media is these days. They just want to create chaos and hurt the President.”

I’m just shaking my head at how we ended up in this place where people won’t trust facts, will call facts just someone’s opinion, where people will say a newspaper is out to get the President who said Coronavirus wasn’t a big deal, who is right this minute saying we’ll go back to normal by April 15, who lies every time he opens his mouth…yeah, no. They’re not out the get the President when they question him or when they interview a doctor who gives facts that fly in the face of Trump’s words. They’re just reporting.

It’s exhausting.

My hometown has 10 cases of the virus. I keep thinking back to those large crowds last Friday, about how two weeks ago the pastor encouraged church attendance.

You know what would have really helped? People listening to the doctors in the newspapers instead of the politicians saying all the alarm over Coronavirus was nonsense. Prayers for us all.

Here we are with SO MUCH INFORMATION at our fingertips and we still choose to ignore it.

I just don’t get it.

All that said, I have to limit my news consumption (I say while watching the news). It’s too ouch right now, too awful. I know the facts. I’ll read DMN or Star-Telegram and WaPo, watch the evening news, and maybe click a couple articles on twitter. I can’t keep spending so much time watching and reading this.

Update on granddaughter: she is doing better. Her extreme fatigue is worrying. Today Katie and Sam were sick too. This is such a scary time.

I started today in a better place because I finally slept. I need to go to bed now to do the same thing tomorrow.

No, Dan Patrick You Evil Spawn of Satan

Dan Patrick saying grandparents are willing to die to save the economy is where we are. He’s not alone. It’s all over the Internet. Right wing nuts saying let the old people die and keep the economy going.

Jesus Lord God. What is wrong with these people?

When this whole thing started, right wing nuts like evil Dan Patrick and Donald Trump called Coronavirus political. Someone please buy these bozos a science book and a history book and tell them to shut the hell up.

The problem now is every response feels political. It shouldn’t, but it does because anyone with a brain listens to these guys, watches their non-actions, and says “what the heck are you guys smokin?”

In a few years I’m going to look back on this post and I swear to God I hope I’m able to laugh at the idiots that talked themselves out of power because they are killing the earth, killing the middle class and NOW they want senior citizens to sacrifice themselves and they want Americans back at work, no more trying to control the nightmare that’s coming. And really, really?! Why don’t they bother to read some damn reports that will show it’s not just senior citizens dying and we can stave all this off by flattening the curve and staying home?

There are whole histories written about this because hello, idiots, Coronavirus is NOT the first pandemic and SCIENCE works.

Idiots. Idiots. Idiots.

I was so furious when we drove into my hometown and people were partying it up in the hours before Abbott shut it all down at midnight. People like Patrick and our current President are totally cool with this virus killing millions. It’s just the price of doing business.

Elections have consequences, folks. We’re going to pay a big one for Trump. He’s not a Republican. I don’t know what he and Dan Patrick and the rest of the people calling for this are, but this is not normal.

Links:

https://www.texastribune.org/2020/03/23/texas-lt-gov-dan-patrick-says-bad-economy-worse-coronavirus/

https://apple.news/Al5Ik7ZibSgCvCg3U-mN2mg

https://apple.news/ACWv5Ghq2QMy31Kk6V7sMmQ

https://apple.news/A7kfcRYoFQuyYW3kXbefdmg

https://apple.news/ArfGhhGmPQP6f7dzZPAqW0

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/journal-plague-year-180965222/

What a Break

Hockey. Poker. Visit family.

Those were my priorities when spring break started.

I followed the Coronavirus news and told my parents they needed to stay in. Mom has bad asthma, Dad has psoriatic arthritis and is on medicine that wrecks his immune system. They needed to stay away from people.

Back then I thought Trump was a fool and people needed to wash their hands.

School ended, I said bye to my students, and we packed our bags for a trip to the casino. While we sat around the poker table playing I listened to so many people talk about how “the virus” was just the flu or a liberal hoax. I kept my opinions to myself and played cards and looked around the room filled with senior citizens in close quarters who believed the Fox News message that this was no big deal.

When I got knocked out of the tournament, the guy who beat me reached out to shake my hand. My original response was NOPE, but that was just my brain screaming at me. Years of polite training had me shaking hands then walking quickly to the restroom to wash the heck out of my hands.

We mostly stayed in the room that trip. It just felt weird.

After the casino we ran home, changed into our jerseys and jumped on the TRE for the trip to Dallas. The Dallas Stars we’re playing and we were excited.

On the ride there social distancing was definitely a thing. Coronavirus was still something on the coasts and something to worry about, but not really stress over.

During the game a news alert told us there was a case in Frisco. The guy had traveled to California. We were a little worried, but we washed the heck out of our hands, so not too worried. I hugged our section usher like always, high fived when we scored, asked the girl sitting next to me if she thought Rads might have the virus since he was sick and away from the team. We lost. And ran to the train for the ride back to Fort Worth.

The train was packed and loud and filled with drunk guys letting world know Coronavirus was no big deal, more people died from the flu, people were just trying to take down President a trump, ‘Merica,

I used hand sanitizer and checked the Johns Hopkins map numbers.

Brian suggested I not fly out the next morning.

I wasn’t worried before the game. But the train ride made me wonder. I wrote my worries on Facebook. Most friends said go. A high school friend in Italy said don’t go. They’d just shut down her country. She said the biggest problem was what happened if I got stuck in Cleveland.

I didn’t sleep. I chose to go to CLE to see my grands and daughter. It had been too long.

DFW security was empty. Spring break and I walked right up. “Welcome to world of flying post Corona” the TSA agent said.

At Starbucks near my gate the manager said it was slow. People were afraid. I ordered my Americano and sat at my gate with my carryon.

The flight was full, but it was a small plane. I wondered if I was dumb to not have a mask.

The first day in Cleveland my district canceled classes for two weeks after break. My district is awesome and aware. We’re going to be safe about this.

My second day in Cleveland the governor and doctor in charge of public health for the state held a press conference. They explained community spread and why the situation in Ohio was serious, why the entire nation was at risk. How we could not stop this, but by practicing social distancing we could slow it, give medical professionals a chance to fight this killer.

My hands were raw from washing them constantly. I sat there listening to the doctor and realized I was an idiot for my last week.

News broke that an AA pilot had Coronavirus.

The Cleveland airport was actually busier than I expected. The flight, a big plane this time, was packed. Lots of people wore masks.

Every cough created tension.

I made it home. Cases started the exponential growth doctors had warned was coming, and that’s with a lack of testing.

I don’t know what’s coming, but the President understands the seriousness of the situation finally and Fox News is covering the virus as a serious public health crisis. hopefully that helps keep people home.

I still have friends on Facebook saying “but the flu.” My old home church had services Sunday—UGH! My parents are staying home. My mother-in-law is staying home…sort of. But a lot of people aren’t.

Stores are decimated every day.

I don’t know what’s coming. But this is where we are.

We start distance teaching next week. We’re getting trained this week. I’m going to have virtual sessions with my yearbook kids today. We’ll find a new normal.

Mr. President, please open the government

I don’t know anything about governing a nation but come on, Mr. President. Open the government.

It’s on you.

Accept the border spending, open the government then demand weekly dinner parties with Democrat and Republican senators where you preside and make the case for your wall. Negotiate the right way.

With the government open.

With people getting paid.

With furloughed workers going back to work and keeping us safe, keeping the government doing what the government does. Running federal prisons, working TSA, working as air traffic controllers, patrolling our oceans and beaches and borders.

You can’t wait on Mitch McConnell anymore. He’s proven he WON’T bring a bill to a vote even though it would pass.

I’m not sure what your friends told you was going to happen. They were wrong! People are hurting. 800,000 people. And it’s going to be more soon.

So please, Mr. President. Open the government. You can do it tonight while you’re watching Tucker. Make the call that puts the whole thing in motion. Save us from this insanity before things get worse.

Sincerely,

Mary Beth Lee

Limits and Boundaries

I want to reclaim my joy. I want to reclaim my peace. I want to reclaim the feeling that all is right in my own little world.

I’m not sure how to do that.

I could take a social media break and turn off all the news. But burying my head in the sand isn’t a real answer.

I give to ACLU. I donate to candidates who support public education.

And still I turn on the news and see the border situation (We tear gassed children today. That’s nice.) and just want to cry.

Setting limits and building boundaries might work.

We’ll see.

It’s been 2 years. It feels like the whole world has changed.

I remember when all this started a political activist I follow said choose your thing, your focus, or the next four years will make you crazy. I chose public education. It’s an issue that crosses party lines. Most people are impacted by the war on public schools.

But focusing in this environment is so hard.

Still, I need to try.

I need to make finding things to be joyful for a habit again. I need to surround myself in positivity. I’m listening to Michelle Obama’s new book. That’s a start. 😊

The next four weeks are Yearbook Yearbook. That’s always fun.

My new granddaughter is such a miracle. My older granddaughter is a doll. My daughter is a strong woman. Those are things to be thankful for.

I got to spend nine days with DH. That’s always nice, especially after the last two and a half years.

I love Fort Worth.

Tarrant County voted blue.

I hit 30k on my NaNo novel, and I’ve done it without killing anyone or blowing stuff up. That’s a different kind of book for me.

I’m planning my next CLE trip.

I’m planning the beach trip.

My job is fun.

We took a microwave to my classroom today.

Creative Writing Club is still hilarious.

I’m back on low carb (day 2, yes!).

Young and the Restless is still fun to watch.

I saw an ad for a new Bridgerton book.

I got an air fryer on The Macy’s Black Friday sale.

Beto didn’t win but he’s not going anywhere either and his message is amazing.

It’s Christmastime.

There’s a Christmas station on my radio.

I have FOUR Stars games coming up.

I snagged a bag of Thanksgiving blend coffee before it sold out.

Our Bass Hall season tickets were in the mailbox today!

Gas is cheaper.

I can’t eat romaine but spinach is safe.

My ankle is still fine. The shot worked!

We watched Hitchcock and it was GREAT!

I’ll see my writer’s group friends this week!

Yeah. That helped. ❤️

Enough

Schools.

The mall.

The movie theater.

Restaurants.

Church.

The grocery store.

A gaming tournament.

Office buildings.

Newsrooms.

Military bases.

How many more people have to die in mass shootings before we say enough is enough?

Insane people live in other countries.

The US is the country where mass shootings are a constant.

I’ve read the comments about guns don’t kill people. I’ve seen the memes about causation and correlation.

People, if you really don’t get it, it’s because you don’t want to.

Guns are too easy to access in the US.

Guns like AR-15s kill too many too fast and serve no purpose other than killing or fun. If you’re the sane one who wants the fun, it’s time to find a new way to pass the time.

We have a gun problem.

It’s time for common sense gun regulation.

 

 

 

Save the Public School: VOTE

There is a villain in the Oklahoma teacher walk out, and his name is Harold Hamm. Honestly. Mary Fallin is his partner in villainy.

For the last two decades the American public has watched while states led by radical conservatives cut taxes on corporations and destroyed public services while doing so. The experiment has led to massive cuts to education, healthcare, mental health facilities, special needs services and more while the income gap has gutted much of the middle class.

I knew this, and still I was shocked to read that Hamm, the 28th richest man in the US and one of the world’s top 100 richest men lobbied the OK lege against a tax hike.

Giant corporate tax cuts supposedly work like this: giant rich companies led by billionaires pay low, low taxes or no taxes, hire tons of people and pour money into local public services.

But it hasn’t worked like that. Instead companies like Hamm’s have grown bigger and richer while those giant corporate tax cuts have led to crisis after crisis. And current far right Republican leaders continue to cut and cut and cut.

It hasn’t always been this way, I don’t think. But it’s where we are now, and it’s our fault. We keep allowing culture wars to control our votes and we keep these people who are decimating our public schools in office.

People, there is only one way to fix this problem. Vote the current leadership out. Show up at the polls in November and tell the Harold Hamm’s and Mary Fallin’s we are done with their nonsense.

Texas: this is OK focused, but listen up. We are headed in the same direction courtesy of Abbott and awful DP. Our power rests in our vote. Don’t let this continue. Vote them out of office.

The Pilfering of Public Education

Another reason to vote for pro-public education politicians:

The pilfering of public education continues. Next week starts testing, where we will do what the state makes us do even though we know these tests don’t measure what testing companies and politicians and charter schools focused on test scores and the bankers that make big bucks off those charters say they measure. These are endurance tests where focus and the ability to sit for long periods of time will be rewarded even though those two things don’t tell us much about the future success of a student. These endurance grades will be applied to districts and schools this year. Next fall we’ll see the new crop of A-F grades. Schools filled with children who can sit, read, bubble and write for FIVE straight hours will earn an A grade. Good for them.

I’m not anti-test, but I am anti this monster our politicians have created.

A few years ago a new student joined my class in mid-October. She was confused about the focus on tests, the practice tests, the streamlined lessons built to the test, the classes for those who’d failed the test. Where she lived, no one ever talked about the test until the week before and then you took a two-hour test on a computer and went on with your day. She thought Texas was crazy. She’s right.

But schools have to do what the state tells them they must. So we will do this. Our testing coordinators have planned and organized and worked to make the process as painless as possible. We’ve been trained to actively monitor, read directions and say “I can’t answer that. Just do the best you can.” Administers are ready to walk through buildings monitoring constantly. The hall assistants have their Fitbits ready to count the steps. I think some of ours did 10 miles last year.

We will do this and we will make sure our kids know they are more than a test score. The testing company will earn its $70-$90 million they’ve been paid for this test year. And we will lobby the lege to change this nonsense. And it will go on and on and on UNTIL we vote for politicians who listen to educators.