Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Safety and Happiness

I have been sitting around my house for the last few months after resigning from my job. Searching for a job is a long arduous process that is frustrating and depleting. It feels like there will never be a place that fits me and will be my career. While I sit and search, I read a lot about what is going on in the world and man is it frustrating. I get angry so much that I can actually feel my blood pressure rising. Politics. Sports figures protesting. Adults threatening children. It is anger inducing. I would like to address all of these while taking a look at what the founding fathers wrote when putting the foundation on this great country. Yes, it is now and it always will be a great nation. I will get to that, too.

 Let's look at what the Declaration of Independence says.
When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
When Thomas Jefferson wrote these words, our fledgling nation was in the midst of a war with Britain in an attempt to gain the freedom from the tyrannical rule of the king.  The newly formed independent states had voted for independence and they needed an explanation of why they felt it was necessary.  So let's look at some of the words as they might apply to the events of today.  Let's start with the next section.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

The thing that stood out to me here is the part about government becoming destructive forcing the people to alter or abolish it so as to effect their safety and happiness. This is what is happening in this country right now. There are governments across this land that have destructive laws in place that are affecting the safety and happiness of certain groups of citizens.
When Colin Kaepernick chose to sit during the national anthem he was forcing the people to look at decisions by police chiefs and judges and juries that have affected the safety and happiness of young black men and women.  Black youth are systematically singled out as being a threat to police officers and as such have been injured, and in some instance killed for just being black.  Now you might say I am making this all about race and you're right.  It is about race.  It's about the superiority of the white man who thinks he is the ruler of black people in this country.  White privilege is on display around this country like was seen in the darkest days of the civil rights fight and the days of the Jim Crow south.

White politicians have made it okay to be hateful again.  People are encouraged to hurt others because they are of a different race or religion.  They have even been told their legal bills will be paid for them should they be arrested and charged and taken to trial.  But it's not okay.

Kaepernick started a dialogue that this country needs to have.  It is resonating with other athletes on the professional, collegiate, high school and even youth levels.  The Beaumont Bulls is one such league that has been vilified for allowing a team to take a knee during the national anthem...and the local media only gives the side of the ones who are hating against the kids.  Hating against the KIDS!

In an article in the New York Daily News, a parent whose son plays on the team said, "Our children are receiving death threats from people saying things like hang those monkeys, they should've died on 9/11, and they're going to kill each other anyway." Adults are saying these things about children. Adults. And our local news completely ignores it.  They talk about the people who disagree but don't show the threats that the kids received.

Another local team is in hot water after some players posted a very racially divisive meme on social media after playing another local team.  This is also described in the same article.  Who know what, if any, punishment they got from the school but they probably didn't get any from home because they had to learn that hate somewhere.

These are the things that black children and young adults have to deal with every day that white people don't have to.  A black man is seen as a threat and a white man is seen as hungry.  A black man is shot and killed.  A white man is taken to Burger King.  A black teenager holding a toy gun is killed on sight.  A white man who actually has a gun is talked to and reasoned with.

White privilege.

It's real people.

It's also part of the destructive government that has shirked its responsibility of justly, with the consent of the governed, protecting the unalienable right of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  It is a government that needs to be abolished and altered so a new government that will effect the safety and happiness can be formed.  That is what the protests are about.  That is why they sit and kneel.

That is why they should sit and kneel.  And that is what our military has fought for.  That is what our flag should stand for yet for some it doesn't.  For some, the flag is a symbol of oppression by the government that should be protecting the life, liberty and happiness of all its citizens.

Let us not forget the soldiers who returned from Vietnam who were made to feel like they were murders.  Let us not forget that the black soldiers returning from WWII where they had fought for people of other countries to be free yet they came home to the same oppression that they left.

They were not free.  They didn't see any changes in their own country.  Their country was still holding them back, telling them they couldn't sit at lunch counters or attend school with white children.  They were held to higher standards to vote, with some going so far as to ask black voters to recite the entire Constitution or they couldn't vote.  That's what they came home to.  And while they have much better circumstances today, they are still being systematically oppressed by local, state and federal government on a daily basis.

You may not agree with the way that Kaepernick and other athletes have chosen to protest, but they have the right because of the same military that fought for all of us.  They don't cherry pick who they fight to protect.  They don't make conditions.  They fight for the Constitution.  They fight for the Republic.  They fight for all of us.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Oh My Geez

Donald Trump is coming to Beaumont. That sentence just makes me sick. Why in the world do people still want to support this man? I just don't get it. I'm too tired to say more than that. Good night.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

A Bunch of Whiney Babies

"While debates are meant to include tough questions and contrast candidates' visions and policies for the future of America, CNBC's moderators engaged in a series of 'gotcha' questions, petty and mean-spirited in tone, and designed to embarrass our candidates," RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said in a letter to NBC, canceling the network's partnership with the GOP debate in February.

What a bunch of whiney babies on the reTHUGlican ticket. Not one of them can answer a question. Not one of them has an economic plan. Not one of them can do anywhere near a good job of getting this country fully recovered from the mess Bush left behind as President Obama has done. 

They want to either cut or eliminate Social Security. They want to give HUGE tax breaks to the richest people in the country....which will not allow the government to collect the taxes needed to pay debts. A complete bunch of clowns in a clown car who have no idea how to get out of the car. 

A vote for any one of them is a vote against this country that so many of their supporters claim to love so much. 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Free to Speak My Mind

So for the last year I have worked somewhere that frowned upon my first amendment right to speak my mind. Towing the party line was all that was accepted. Speaking against the policies was seen as a reason to let me go. Did I do what I had to do to keep my job? You bet I did. But recently things have changed. I have a new job that should allow me to express my opinion without fear of being fired. So here I am, back on my blog just in time for the election cycle and ready to express my opinion about ALL of it. I hope you will come back to my blog and read and let us talk about the world and issues that matter. Be sure to use my social media icons as I post there often and wish to share with all of my followers (if I have any, LOL!) Welcome back!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Transitions Are Not Always Easy: Guest Post by Lara Neves

dealing with school transitions

Watching your kids grow up is hard. As much as I adore celebrating birthdays with my children, a little part of me hates it. I hate seeing them grow older because I desperately miss their past selves. Sometimes, when I am watching family videos from several years ago my heart just aches to hold my babies again, or to see my adorable toddlers again, or even just to have them be six years old again! Man, this mommy business is difficult!

When my eldest daughter went to her first day of Kindergarten, I was a mess. How on earth was I going to hand my little 4-year-old (yes--FOUR--she didn't turn five until October) to someone else for the day? I stayed as strong as I could while getting her situated in her new classroom, but as soon as I got in the car, I bawled all the way home.

This year, that same daughter will be starting her first year of HIGH SCHOOL. I don't even know what my life has come to because I am definitely not old enough to be the mother of a high school freshman!

These kinds of big school transitions are especially difficult for parents because they are just as new for us as they are for our children. And let's not forget that these transitions are not usually easy for the kids, either, which gives mom and dad even more anxiety about the whole thing.

It doesn't have to be that way, though. Growing up is unfortunately necessary, and we can't keep our children little forever. We need to help them through these transitions as best we can without creating extra difficulty because it is hard for us. Here are a few things that have helped me:

Talk to Parents Who Have Already Been Through It

Part of the problem is that everything is so unknown, as I mentioned before. This year, my middle daughter will begin middle school. I am not nearly as angsty about this transition as I am about my eldest starting high school. Why? Because I know what to expect. Bria did not die from attending middle school, and so I am fairly confident that Chloe will not die, either.

If this is the first time you are navigating the educational transition as a parent, find other parents who have done it before. (Preferably parents whose children are attending the same schools yours are.) Ask them as many questions as you can think of. Seriously, dump all your worries on them--they'll be happy to answer because they know what it's like. It's nice to know what you and your child will be facing well ahead of time.

What are the teachers like? What is the homework policy? How does the busing system work? What are the extracurricular activities like? Etc.

Communicate With Your Child

Chances are that you aren't the only one with anxiety. Kids aren't sure what to expect during these transitions, either. Spend a good portion of the summer just talking with them and finding out what their concerns are. And then do your best to resolve those concerns.

My daughter was so worried about memorizing her locker combination and being able to even open her locker when she first went to middle school. Our solution was that we would go in a couple days before school started (in our district you are allowed to do that) and practice until she felt completely comfortable.

When my youngest daughter was just starting Kindergarten, she was very worried about taking the bus home by herself after lunch since Kindergarten was half-day and she wouldn't have her older sister with her. I called the school to find out the protocol and we discussed it every day for several weeks before school started. When the bus dropped her off that first day, she was a very triumphant 5-year-old because she had been prepared.

IMG_1049 Sophia bus_ web

I have found that by working to alleviate my children's concerns, that my own are resolved in the process. Part of my worry is that my kid won't be able to unlock her locker or get home on the bus, so when I help her work through it, my own worries dissipate. It's kind of amazing.

Rely on Family Traditions--or Create New Ones!

Finally, I have found that when I work hard to make the beginning of the school year memorable for my kids, I don't have to think about all my worries as much. We have a few diehard traditions at our house for the beginning of the school year and they get the whole family excited about what could otherwise be a really anxious time.

Our favorite Back-to-School tradition is having our Back-to-School Feast the night before school starts. We introduce a family theme for the school year, have an amazing meal, and then do a fashion show where the girls model what they will wear on the first day.

The year Bria, my eldest, went into middle school I wanted to focus on that big transition with our family theme. So it was "I Can Do Hard Things." I loved the way she internalized it, as did my other two children. It helped me a lot that year, too. We can do hard things--and watching our kids grow up is hard, remember?

We can do hard thingsHard things

Last year, my youngest had recently had a diagnosis of Celiac so we focused our theme more on healthy eating:

IMG_6837 BTS Feast 2013 web

If you don't already have Back-to-School traditions, it's never too late to start! Ice-cream for breakfast, special school supply/clothes shopping dates, fancy dinners--anything wonderful you can think of to help you and your child look forward to school starting.

Even though Bria is a lot older than she was when we first started our Back-to-School feasts, she still wants to wear the silly homemade crown I make for them. She loves it. It's something to cling to.

And it's something for me to cling to as well.

I'll just have to think of something really amazing for her next educational transition: College. Thankfully, I have four years to digest that information.

Here's to an amazing school year for the kids AND the parents!

Lara is the mother to three beautiful, brilliant and bossy daughters. She’s married to The Maestro, Orchestra Conductor extraordinaire. When she isn’t working on her mother of the year status, you can find her singing professionally, teaching voice lessons at the University, taking lots and lots of photographs, listening to opera, finding a good deal on groceries, or reading a good book. (that is, if she’s not blogging). She blogs at www.overstuffedlife.com, where she writes about parenting, home organization, photography, gluten-free living, and all of the other things that comprise her overstuffed life.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Okay or Not Okay?

I want you to watch this video before you read this post:

Now that you watched (you did, right?)....what do you think?  If you couldn't view the video...go to Outrage at ESPN.  Think about that while you read my take.

Here's my take:  I have three boys.  I have always told them that there is no reason in this world to ever hit a girl.  NONE!  That has always been my rule.  I don't believe that boys should put a hand on a girl...ever.  I found out recently that my ex had David convinced that it was against the law to ever hit a girl.  Well, it worked.  He believed his dad.  

But let me say this:  While I still do not think that a man should ever hit a woman because he thinks he can or because he thinks she did something to deserve it, I think a man should be able to defend himself just as a woman should be able to in the same situation.  If a woman is being abused and she decides enough is enough and strikes back, usually she is completely vindicated because the man is, well, a man and he was abusing her.  This is true even if she kills the man.  But...what if a man has been abused by a woman?

Yes, it happens.  If the man strikes back, would he then be vindicated or would he be put underneath the jail?  If a woman comes at a man because she is angry and she is railing on him, should the man just take it?  Should he just lay there and let her beat the crap out of him or should he stop her?  One hit that stops her?  Is that okay?  You can stop someone without beating the hell out of them....is that acceptable?  Or is it unacceptable for a man to defend himself in any situation? 

So what do you think?  Leave me a comment.  Let me know what you think about this subject.  I'm sure there are many opinions out there.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Let's Get to the Bottom of Things

Word around town is that tomorrow, there will be indictments handed down from the Jefferson County District Attorney's office and the special grand jury that was impaneled to investigate BISD. 

These indictments are said to be just the first in a line of indictments that are expected to be handed down by this grand jury.  The ones tomorrow are said to be complicit in not only fraud and collusion, but they are said to have had a hand in creating and hiding monies that belongs to BISD.  I have to say my curiosity is peaked.

Months ago, when the FBI first began its investigations and it came out that $4 million dollars had been embezzled, I heard a much larger number than that.  The number I heard was closer to $16 million dollars, maybe even more.  I also heard many other names than those who were eventually found to have taken the $4M...I can only think that some of those names may be indicted this week or indictments may be coming for them. 

All I really know is that this will not be complete if the investigations and indictments do not touch the right people.  If someone is left out because of connections, it will not bode well for the new DA.  He has shown himself to be ethical so far, so we expect great things from him. 

Word is also that there will be those in the Jefferson County Courthouse who will be affected by these indictments.  We all know that things have been going on down there that are less than ethical, so we hope that those persons will feel the wrath as well.

I don't have any concrete knowledge about any of this....this is just little things I am hearing and reading and I always keep an ear out because I care about Beaumont and BISD.  I just hope that now that the BOM is installed, things will soon be back on track.  Getting to the bottom of the problems will be a tremendous help and part of that includes making sure those responsible for the gross mismanagement are held accountable.