June 2, 2007

Politics (this one's gonna be long...)

Alan Jackson sings a song called "Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning". Catchy enough. It's about 9/11 and asks the question all of us will undoubtedly remember. For the record, I was sitting in my living room with my almost three-year-old and my four-month-old. I was just sitting down after breakfast to turn on "Blue's Clues" for Mac when I thought I'd pop over to NBC just to see what Katie was up to for the day. Just in time to watch the second plane, live.

I mention this song, because part of the chorus says "I'm just a singer of simple songs, I'm not a real political man, I watch CNN but I'm not sure I can tell you, The difference in Iraq and Iran". I'm not a singer, certainly not of simple songs... my husband, the K.J. can attest to that... he often mentions something about howling and glass shattering... I'm definitely not what I would consider 'political' (I'll get into this a bit more - it's kinda the purpose of this post). Don't watch CNN much, as I pretty much stick to the local CBS station where I daily watch, or at least listen to, the local news, and I try, daily as well, to stay informed of national and international goings-ons. Sometimes, this is done via my highly informed, news-addicted husband, and sometimes, I actually get to watch the CBS Evening News (with Katie Couric... my girl!).

As a teacher, one of my main goals with my students is to help foster independent thinking. As a Special Education teacher, this can sometimes prove to be extremely challenging, especially considering that I mainly teach teenagers with emotional disturbances (one might argue, correctly, that simply *being* a teenager is an emotional disturbance in and of itself, but I'm talking above and way beyond the normal *weird* stuff that makes them teenagers). I try to instill in them, they would probably say I preach it, a desire to gather information from several sources. I encourage them to go out and find sources that they feel they can trust... do their research and probe and poke until you find trustworthy sources. Then, take all the information they have available to them and make their own decisions, draw their own conclusions. Sometimes, I feel like I've had a break-through or two, sometimes, I honestly feel like I'm talking to a brick wall. Either way, I come home at the end of the day at least feeling like I did my best.

But, this isn't about my career choice, it's about politics. (ADHD much?) I've been working on this post for almost a week now... life just gets in the way. So, I'm gonna wrap it up *now*... I'm just gonna spew it and offer apologies later.

My husband is very much a political person. We have a balance that works for us... we both allow each other the space and support to think and believe what we will. We don't always agree and certainly aren't necessarily passionate about the same things. However, politically speaking, I've learned a lot from him in the (almost) three short years I've known him... and happily hope to spend a lifetime educating each other about the things that matter to each of us.

So, politics... I've never much looked past my little hole in the world... suburbia Oklahoma (is that even a phrase??), loosely translated... rednecked. Don't get me wrong... I'd say that I had a wonderful upbringing with parents who I always *knew* loved me, unconditionally. I was raised with discipline coupled with the freedoms necessary to make me who I am today. I always questioned what was fed me, intellectually. Didn't necessarily voice my wonderings, but they were there. I think I turned out ok... I'd venture to say others would agree, others, not so much.

Like most people around me, I grew up thinking that America was just the be all that ends all (or however that goes). We have all these freedoms and inalienable rights granted us by The Constitution. We are A-1 Superpower... others fear us... others want to *be* us. I couldn't have been more wrong. Take, for example, this war we are in. Now, I will sadly admit that I don't pay attention like I should, to the politics and policies that got us to where we are. But I do know this... we went to war because Saddam had WMDs, right? He didn't. We went to war with Iraq because *somebody else* flew planes into our buildings. How much sense does that make? Absolutely none. Again, even this self-proclaimed political 'dummy' can see that.

I never really thought much outside of my State, heck, didn't really think much outside my hometown, or my home, for that matter. When I was getting ready to go to Europe for the first time, Steve was surprised that I had made it to the age of 32 without ever having needed a passport. I didn't have the first clue how to go about getting one (in the end, it wasn't that difficult, thank goodness!). I explained to him that for us, international news is more like 'What's happening down in Texas?'. I suppose that has a lot to do with the sheer size of the States, but, never the less, I just didn't pay much attention to anything that went on outside of the 'border'.

I'd challenge those narrow-minded thinkers, just like I used to be, to take a gander... wander 'outside of your box' and have a peek at how others do it. Maybe, just maybe, we haven't gotten it all correct. It is just quite possible that someone else might actually have a better idea about doing things, like health care, than us.

I'll save my rant about health care for another day, but suffice it to say that America has really messed this one up. Quite frankly, I'm appalled at the way my country treats its sick... not to mention its children and elderly.

I say all of this to say this... I'm a registered Republican, that's just what I am. I vote. Every single time I can, I vote. I *never* vote straight-party... I vote my conscience. I have two rules about voting... 1) I ALWAYS do it, and 2) I NEVER tell anyone, not one single person, how or for who I vote. I do my research, consider my sources, think independently and vote. And I will always vote. I figure that's the only way I can continue to complain!!!

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