Category Archives: politics

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.

Taking a Break

When we finished the yearbook Thursday night, I posted a year in review of pictures showing the editor from summer camp to the very last layout submission on our Facebook page. It was beautiful and fun and reminded me of all that’s good about social media.

On Easter I liked a memory photo of President Obama and the former First Lady reading Where the Wild Things Are to children. It was beautiful and funny and reminded me of all that’s good about social media.

And then I read the comments.

I sat there at my mother-in-law’s house reading one racist awful thing after another, getting angrier by the minute.

Then I posted a news story and that same anger reverberated through me as I thought about OK teachers making such a small paycheck and retirees making a pittance after insurance. Then I started researching healthcare and medical costs in the US and posted and someone said “Thanks Obama” and my head nearly exploded because yeah, it really sucks that insurance has to cover pre-existing conditions and can’t cap our care and states that expanded Medicaid have decent healthcare for decent prices but big pharma and insurance are definitely going to bankrupt any of us who happen to fall ill…..and I realized…..

Social media is killing me.

I didn’t take my blood pressure, but I felt it skyrocket.

I like debate. I love the people I debate with. I have had lots of friends who have different political persuasions, and in the past it was fun to disagree.

But…

Not now.

Now I’m angry.

Or I’m bored and I start checking out what’s going on and an hour later I’m laughing at a video of some little kid I don’t know instead of talking to the people I do know.

Or I’m checking out twitter to see what the political pundits are saying.

Or I’m saying amen to Collier because awful Dan Patrick IS killing public education and people who vote for him are voting me out of a job and voting kids who aren’t independently wealthy out of quality education.

Or…

The list goes on and on and on and on.

Social media is infinite. It’s amazing because of its reach and the connections we make. It’s awful for the same reason.

So as I sat there realizing how worked up I was over something that had been debated to death, as I said “people are so stupid!” I looked in the mirror and saw me.

And I deleted the social media apps off my phone.

My goal is a week.

I should do more.

We’ll see what happens.

Teach the Vote: Save Our Public Schools

When I first started teaching one of the best teachers I’ve ever known told me something that has proven to be true in ways I never imagined.

When I said I didn’t like to “be political” she said teaching would always be political and that there were forces at work trying to destroy the public school system because they wanted to raid the funding.

I didn’t believe her in 1994, but by ‘99 I saw she was right. Back then it was Pearson and the high cost of testing and curriculum for the tests and retests. I still didn’t understand the full truth of what she saw.

I didn’t understand that banks were starting for-profit charters and moving into states while pulling funding from schools. I didn’t know hedge-fund operators were donating huge amounts to politicians to change the rules. I sure didn’t expect the state to give billions to private investors while cutting funding to our state teacher pension and insurance fund. I didn’t realize then that the push to make public education teaching a drive-through profession was because without a large,vocal group of seasoned public educators, politicians could raid funds all day long and few would know or care.

Flash forward to two decades later.

What that teacher underestimated was how apathy toward voting in the education profession made it easy for politicians to do the billionaires’ bidding, leaving school districts struggling while for-profit charters flourish with no or little oversight.

So here we are. On Feb. 20 early voting starts for the Texas primaries that will be held March 6.

Teachers must stand up and say no more.

We must vote for our students and our schools. We must vote for ourselves and our futures. We must vote for our retirees.

This election is a battle in the war on public education. It’s not about party. It’s bigger than that.

If you want to know how to fight back, a good place to start is the Texans for Public Education site. There’s a list on the site of the public education friendly candidates running for office.

Public education is a bedrock of our democracy. It levels the playing field for all students when it is allowed to.

And when career educators—not just teachers but our staffs, counselors and admin as well— work their full thirty years or more, public schools are stronger.

Both traditions are under attack.

Voting can change that.

The teacher who told me teaching is political was right. We can’t afford to ignore that truth. If we do, our students suffer and our profession will cease to exist.

Another New Year

Another new year means another year of this blog.

So much has changed since I started this. Even the address, since it started on LiveJournal. I’m not even sure WordPress was a thing yet when I started this. I know iPhones weren’t around yet. Social media was pretty much MySpace, Messenger apps and, if you were a kid, texting. If you wanted to communicate with someone, more often than not you picked up the phone and called or went to where they were.

Back when I started writing this I was in my 30s with a junior high aged daughter struggling with my weight and writing rejection. Back then Brian and I didn’t go to church regularly, we’d never been part of a small group, I was a Republican, Meredith and McDreamy weren’t even a thing.

Back then I felt like I should be able to juggle everything and still have time for me, and it made me so angry that that wasn’t a thing.

Time flies.

The world changes.

I know I don’t post often these days. I’m going to try to do more in the run up to the mid-terms.

/Rant

Especially to help get the word out that politicians are purposefully killing public schools, but we can stop them if we vote them out. They use “failing schools” rhetoric to rob from the public and put $$$ into the pockets of the for-profit charters springing up all over the place.

Rant end/

A lot has changed over the years, but a lot is still the same, too. And for that I am thankful.

I swore I wasn’t doing resolutions this year, but I have one. That one is this:

I resolve to remember that words are only good if they’re backed up by actions. That’s my focus this year. Action. Persistence, practice, passion.

Happy New Year!

Heart broken and so, so tired of writing this post

Another day, another mass shooting. I’m writing this more than a day after a gunman walked in with a Rugar AR-556 rifle and slaughtered almost 30 innocent people as they wrapped up service at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, TX.

And in hours since I’ve heard “there’s nothing we can do about this except arm ourselves” more times than I can count.

As if more guns is a real answer for anyone other than gun manufacturers making huge profits on the loss of innocent lives.

It’s time for us to talk about real gun regulation in this country. I’m sure we won’t. Instead we’ll talk about thoughts and prayers and armed guards at the doors of our churches and open carry in the coffee shop, and politicians will scream about the “politicization” of a gunman mowing down innocents–as if the politicization of everything from oatmeal to socks wasn’t their stock in trade. And we’ll see a surge in gun sales for these kinds of guns and the magazines that allow this kind of killing and the contraptions that turn these lethal weapons into machine guns all of which will continue to be legal because “the 2nd Amendment, man. The 2nd amendment.”

And I’ll still get messages about why we need to be armed in case our government tries to take over our government. And it’s all Obama’s fault. And guns don’t kill people, people kill people.

And there will still be the dead and dying in a tiny Texas town. Which will be in the news for maybe another day or two. Or maybe a week or two. Or maybe, if we’re really lucky, a month or two. Until the next mass shooting causes the same questions and non-answers and we do it all over again without ever really doing anything about it.

Heart broken and so, so tired of writing this post.

It’s a Choice

We’ve struggled finding a new church.

We thought we’d found one but then the preacher did a whole sermon on how if you’re a Christian you won’t have any problems parenting, and it became clear the man had never parented a day in his life. His wife parented. He golfed and hung out with the menfolk.

We thought we found others but their ministers equated republican with Jesus and that’s the opposite of biblical.

So we quit searching.

There’s the truth of it. It hasn’t been a struggle at all. It’s been a willingness to drop the church part of our lives.

It’s not a good thing. We don’t have our people. We don’t have the mentors and friends to do life with. We don’t have the fellowship and worship community. We don’t have the comfort and knowledge of a church home. And every time we’ve looked for it we’ve found politics and division and fake Jesus.

I don’t think we need a church to have a direct connection to Jesus. But a church gives us a family in Christ, and that we do need. At least I do. Especially in this season that is so hard.

This weekend I swore we were going to check out a new church. One in a denomination that has been outspoken to the fact that the church is meant to be the hands and feet of Jesus not a political mouthpiece for either US political party.

We got up with plenty of time to go, but we paused. We thought. We talked about it and we watched Meet the Press and Face the Nation and then it was too late.

I looked at the church website and saw they had a live feed just like our old church back home. We decided to check it out.

It was different, a little slower than what we’re used to, but the message was exactly what I needed to hear.

I don’t know if this will be my church. There’s a contact form on the website. I kind of want to ask them questions about their thoughts on politics and the church before I go. Today I think I’ll go Sunday. Today it’s easy to think I’ll go Sunday.

We’ll see.