'Be anxious for nothing..." ~Philippians 4:6

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

USING THE WORD

Quoting, reciting, or reading passages from The Holy Bible are activities that demonstrate many things, not excluding one's ability to read English, to recall, and regurgitate what one has read. It is not, however, a surefire indicator of one's relationship with God, or affinity to Christian values. 
Actions speak louder than the words one reads...in public. 
If you're trying to convince ME that you love God, you have a problem with your relationship that demands your immediate attention. I am impressed and motivated by the Word of God all by itself--because I've read it. It doesn't need endorsement or revival. The Bible is consistently a best seller.
"For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." ~Hebrews 4:12

 I'm not impressed when the contents of the Bible are trotted out as a manipulative tool to trick those whose discernment is a little off kilter. 
Don't use the Bible like a side chick. Love, and embrace it regularly, genuinely, passionately and wholeheartedly, not just when it suits you, or your agenda.
The devil knows the Word, too
 #tryagain

"Then the devil took Him to the holy city and set Him on the pinnacle of the temple. “If You are the Son of God,” he said, “throw Yourself down. For it is written: ‘He will command His angels concerning You, and they will lift You up in their hands, so that You will not strike Your foot against a stone. Jesus replied, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’..." ~Matthew 4:5-7

Thursday, February 16, 2017

THE LEAKS

They care more of who leaked the leaks
Than that the leaks are true
And every day the puddles spread
As citizens slosh through

They care more of who leaked the leaks
Than what the leaks contain
Just think--the once email obsessed
See nothing to explain!

They care more of who leaked the leaks
Their double standard's great!
Integrity has flown the coop
Full disclosure's late

They care more of who leaked the leaks
Than of the people who
Have taken treason to new heights--
And double-talking, too

 They care more of who leaked the leaks
Truth tellers they'll pursue
 But you for whom corruption rules?
No consequence for you

They care more of who leaked the leaks
To them, THAT'S the real crime
NOT what prompted the leaks to leak
Oh no. That stuff's just fine.

 VRW ©2017

Saturday, February 11, 2017

JUST TO SING A SONG

 
Should your life be in danger just to sing your song?
Will dear friends become strangers when you sing your song?
Will the things that used to matter suddenly seem small?
Will the person that you once were
Be recognized at all?
 
All that you go through
Just to sing a song
All that you go through
Just to sing a song
 
If the crowd is overflowing or an audience of one,
Will the joy in what you’re doing still be there when you’re done?
Will your words need explaining even though they’re sincere?
Will anyone notice when you’re no longer here?

All you have to do
Just to sing your song
All you have to do
Just to sing your song
 
You said you gave your all
You really gave your all
And what does that mean?
Was it really for them?
Was it really for you?
Was it ever for me?
 
Nobody made you
But you sang your song
Nobody made you
But you sang your song
 
Hate there was so much pain
No cause for so much pain
The songs, they were free
Were they really for them?
Were they really for you?
It’s a lesson for me
 
Must say I’m glad you 
Tried to sing your song
Must say I’m sad you 
Gave all you had to
Let us hear your song 
 
VRW ©2017

Thursday, February 9, 2017

QUOTES OF THE DAY

"You don't have the privilege to exercise your authority without also being accountable." ~Danielle N. Hall
 
"You HAVE to know what you're asking of people to have any business asking it, much less to get "incredibly angry" that the answer might not be yes." ~Carolyn Hax  
 
 "Men have their choice in this world. They can be angels, or they may be demons." ~Frederick Douglass
 
#beconsiderate  
 
#bethoughtful  
 

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

TEACHABLE MOMENTS: THE HAZARDS OF SPEAKING UP
















I'm of the "Be seen, but not heard generation", but I now know how valuable confrontation is. Few things are more stunning than to be disrespected or silenced for expressing oneself, confronting error, or speaking truth. I've been asked my opinion when what was really sought was my consent. People know when what you have to say will be a game changer.
I felt for Senator Warren. There was no secret about the weight of the words she was about to utter. The Truth really is the light, and its no surprise that laws and rules have been used to extinguish it.

Whether we follow them or not; whether we are aware of them or not, there are rules...everywhere...and the best ones are written. Those who know, and play by the rules have the upper hand. Ignorance of the rules and tenets of one's own profession, or organization is hard to excuse. Of course, with any rules, there are ways to cleverly circumvent them, especially if they are perceived to be improperly applied. Can't speak on the Senate floor? No problem. It's practically impossible to silence people these days. There's YouTube, Facebook Live and  SnapChat. There's a bigger, more attentive audience on social media, but can that audience help you achieve your goal, or merely listen and register their outrage?

If anything, we're all getting wanted or unwanted refresher courses in Civics, Social Studies, and American History. Whether a rule is arcane, archaic or not; whether we are appalled or not by what seem to be offenses that cause us to challenge them, someone is going to find and enforce the rules that benefit them and their causes. They're going to dust off the rules that, even if temporarily, silence their opponents. 

There are so many teachable moments emanating from Capitol Hill concerning everything from citizenship, to civility, to Rule of Law. There's a committee on rules and administration. Maybe every congressperson should acquaint themselves with them and their decisions--old and new. Who knew about this debate Rule 19, and what happened that made it necessary? Was someone being rude and wiling out back in the day? Yes--one hundred-fifteen years ago to be exact, and the wiling out demanded that some new rules be set. According to the The Washington Post, Senators Benjamin Ryan Tillman and John Lowndes McLaurin (while the Senate was debating the Philippine Tariff Bill), started quite a slugfest.

"Furious that McLaurin was colluding with the other side of the aisle, Tillman used a February 22, 1902, speech on the Senate floor to harangue the younger senator. Gesturing toward McLaurin's empty chair, Tillman accused his counterpart of treachery and corruption, saying he had succumbed to "improper influences," according to a Senate history of the dispute. When McLaurin caught wind of Tillman's remarks, he rushed into the chamber and shouted that Tillman was telling a "willful, malicious, and deliberate lie." A fistfight erupted. As Senate historians recounted, "The 54-year-old Tillman jumped from his place and physically attacked McLaurin, who was 41, with a series of stinging blows. Efforts to separate the two combatants resulted in misdirected punches landing on other members."
Seventy-seven years later, an irate Republican Senator Lowell Weicker called fellow Republican Senator John Heinz "devious" and "an idiot". Fortunately, that time, there was no brawl to break up. 

Perhaps a better question would be, where has this rule been for the last eight years? (Surely there's a rule for, oh, I don't know, yelling out "You lie!" as the President speaks.)

Here's the debate Rule (in its entirety) that stopped Senator Elizabeth Warren mid sentence yesterday, as she attempted to read a letter penned by the late Coretta Scott King: 

1. (a) When a Senator desires to speak, he shall rise and address the Presiding Officer, and shall not proceed until he is recognized, and the Presiding Officer shall recognize the Senator who shall first address him. No Senator shall interrupt another Senator in debate without his consent, and to obtain such consent he shall first address the Presiding Officer, and no Senator shall speak more than twice upon any one question in debate on the same legislative day without leave of the Senate, which shall be determined without debate.

(b) At the conclusion of the morning hour at the beginning of a new legislative day or after the unfinished business or any pending business has first been laid before the Senate on any calendar day, and until after the duration of three hours of actual session after such business is laid down except as determined to the contrary by unanimous consent or on motion without debate, all debate shall be germane and confined to the specific question then pending before the Senate.

2. No Senator in debate shall, directly or indirectly, by any form of words impute to another Senator or to other Senators any conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming a Senator.

3. No Senator in debate shall refer offensively to any State of the Union.

4. If any Senator, in speaking or otherwise, in the opinion of the Presiding Officer transgress the rules of the Senate the Presiding Officer shall, either on his own motion or at the request of any other Senator, call him to order; and when a Senator shall be called to order he shall take his seat, and may not proceed without leave of the Senate, which, if granted, shall be upon motion that he be allowed to proceed in order, which motion shall be determined without debate. Any Senator directed by the Presiding Officer to take his seat, and any Senator requesting the Presiding Officer to require a Senator to take his seat, may appeal from the ruling of the Chair, which appeal shall be open to debate.

5. If a Senator be called to order for words spoken in debate, upon the demand of the Senator or of any other Senator, the exceptionable words shall be taken down in writing, and read at the table for the information of the Senate.

6. Whenever confusion arises in the Chamber or the galleries, or demonstrations of approval or disapproval are indulged in by the occupants of the galleries, it shall be the duty of the Chair to enforce order on his own initiative and without any point of order being made by a Senator.

7. No Senator shall introduce to or bring to the attention of the Senate during its sessions any occupant in the galleries of the Senate. No motion to suspend this rule shall be in order, nor may the Presiding Officer entertain any request to suspend it by unanimous consent.

8. Former Presidents of the United States shall be entitled to address the Senate upon appropriate notice to the Presiding Officer who shall thereupon make the necessary arrangements.

Maybe these rules should be printed on big posters and displayed all over Capitol Hill as reminders. 
It looks like C-Span is now offering viewers intense drama, and Congressional Republicans and Democrats are becoming the best reality show stars on television.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

BIZARRO WORLD

It's like Bizarro World in DC. Cronyism. Nepotism. Stupidism. 

Strife.

Anyone who saw those confirmation hearings, or sat through them and was conscious and sober, or heard the answers of the nominee, and still voted "yes", needs their heads examined...or needs to say "sike!" quickly...or needs to let the rest of us in on the strategy of NOT seeking an education champion...or needs to reveal the names of the wealthy donors of their most recent campaigns.
Democrats tried to get their fellow representatives to be reasonable, and pick a more suitable candidate. Poor things pulled an all-nighter. There were passionate speeches. It's Education people! America's students deserved a fitting leader, but once again, it seems, money talked louder than reason. Congress pretty much declared that Education in America is not a priority that deserves competent leadership. It can't be if in all of America, a more qualified individual--a successful, seasoned teacher or administrator perhaps--someone who actually has spent some time in a classroom successfully educating others-- was not sought to lead the Department of Education.
Now is the time for parents, students, teachers and administrators in every state to get, and stay on the ball and genuinely declare "Children First". Capitol Hill is in chaos. It's time for communities, local leaders, and parents to stay engaged, build strong parent/teacher associations, embrace the adages that they are their children's first teachers, and that the "village" is a partner. No longer can parents afford to relinquish all of the responsibility for their children's education to others.

An individual (who I'm sure is a nice, lovely person) was just given an important position in an area where expertise, intelligence, empathy, and hands-on knowledge is critical. How on Earth can any thinking person justify handing over leadership of any entity to someone who is so woefully unqualified and justify it...with a straight face and lots of attitude? Why would you even accept a job knowing your qualifications are lacking? Could it be that one knows that subordinates will be tasked to train you, put out your fires, and do your job for you?
Yeah. I thought about Moses...and David. I went through the entire Biblical roster of figures who were tapped to lead, but the announcement of their leadership made people say, "Huh?" 
I thought about the churchy cliche about God "not calling the qualified, but qualifying the called" (but he's GOD for God's sake. He can do that). I don't know. Maybe that's what this is. What's going on in government is some divine plan that I'll understand later, but right now I'm scratching my head. I really was trying to make sense of the choice for Secretary of Education. I'm trying to make sense of a lot these days. Is it possible that public education will actually be improved when the national overseer is someone who has only experienced the excellence, order, high expectations, and abundance that characterizes, and is the norm in private education? Will her super deep pockets, and religious affiliation actually be a plus for public education? We'll see.

I've decided I have GOT to stop watching White House press conferences, C-Span (aka Bizarro World, through no fault of its own) and mainstream media for a while. The disbelief I feel as I watch and listen makes me glad I don't drink or do drugs...or have a child in public school...or a serious medical condition.  I've come to the unfortunate conclusion that Capitol Hill is occupied by very petty, self-serving, dishonest, greedy, careless, heartless, stubborn, unprincipled men and women who overshadow those who truly desire to serve their constituents with honesty and integrity--and there are some who seem genuinely disheartened by the division. 
Today, I heard the phrase, "...The Democrats' unprecedented obstruction" and wanted to turn off the television for good. I couldn't believe my ears. All I could think of was "Merrick Garland".
I watched the press secretary address the media about the result of the vote. He seemed so flustered and angry. 
Ever get the feeling that a person is a compensated liar who really doesn't believe what he or she is saying? Words are escaping their mouths but they wish they could take them back, because they know in their hearts that they don't make sense--and everyone listening, who has a functioning brain, knows it. They're just parroting what they were told by someone they perhaps, fear, but deep down they want to scream the truth. Are they indebted in some way? Is someone hanging something over their heads? They can't even look up because they know they're being slick, shady and evasive. They can't look anyone in the eye, and don't dare answer questions. Their posture says they can't wait to stop talking and get out of public, because they're on the verge of a choking fit from the deception and hypocrisy they're spewing. "Ain't it funny that the way you feel shows on your face?" Studies show that lying, professionally or otherwise, is stressful.
I felt sorry for the press secretary. He's, after all, obviously doing the bidding of others. I wonder if those for whom he speaks respect, or are even loyal to him. He has become, in such a short period of time, the face of dysfunction, but he doesn't have to be. He is the comedy world's newest dream, and will be the butt of jokes for a while if he remains on the job. (I'm still laughing out loud at Melissa McCarthy's "Saturday Night Live" performance thanks to YouTube. She nailed it. "Circular using of the words" is my nominee for the phrase of the weekend.) No doubt, the secretary's reputation is even taking a hit. He has been characterized as a gum-chewing, emotional wreck who promotes delusion. The loss of credibility among his peers will weigh heavily on him if it hasn't begun already. I wonder how long it will be before the press just stops asking questions altogether, because they know they're just going to get more "circular" BS.

(One must be careful about hitching one's wagon to unethical people and organizations. "I was just doing my job" is a statement that should be followed by the ability to daily look oneself in one's mirror and not fear that it (and one's face) will crack. )
For 8 years, we had a leader who, at least from an educational standpoint, was worthy of admiration and respect. In he and his wife, America's students had exemplary role models.  He surrounded himself with excellence; he sought out the best and the brightest, but he was hated by those who should and could have embraced and worked with him for the benefit of the country. Now, those same antagonists, who didn't even embrace or respect their own party's presidential nominee, are looking for, expecting and demanding cooperation and consent. 
The irony would be amusing if it wasn't so unbelievable.


C-SPAN INSPIRED POETRY

I THINK THEY GO HOME AND CRY

In public they speak
Their souls for sale
But look into their eyes
Therein is Good that hates the lies
I think they go home and cry

In rolled the greed-filled tide
That swept them up
Poisoned their minds
Unable to put their pride aside
I think they went home and cried

There’s no hiding
True thoughts; pure angst
Their faces do betray
Every word they say is scrutinized
I think they go home and cry

How does fear do its damning thing?
How does it convince the mind
To stand for wrong, and punish right?
I think they go home and cry

To see the error of one’s way
Yet plow forward; surmise
That hurting lives at whim is wise
I think they go home and cry

When the deals are done
They win, but you lose
Quickly they forget
They once needed you
They flash their strained smiles
Knowing all the while
Some choice they have made
Will upset and rile

They get into their cars
Struggle with each breath
Guilt and shame impede
Sorrow overwhelms
They get to their doors
Scarcely get inside
Drop their things and scream
Close their eyes and cry

What’s done to others will transfer
And grief be multiplied
And callous acts in mirrors shine
Wealth won't heal or immortalize
Tears will try to materialize
They will--at death--apologize
And none will mourn
Though some will sigh
But NONE will go home and cry

VRW ©2017