Tuesday, January 11, 2011

We can make a difference

As an Arizonan (albeit a reluctant one, but one nonetheless), I have been very concerned with, wrapped up in, and distracted by the "terror in Tucson".  I'm reading the Op Ed pieces with vigor, talking with my students about it, about the culture of hate we seem to be living in, and trying to come up with answers.

While Social Studies is not necessarily on my list of standards, I cannot help but bring into my classroom the struggles of people from our past and then make correlations.  Next week, we will begin reading To Kill A Mockingbird, and I have been working to set up the scene for my students, to try to help them gain a better understanding of the culture in which the book was written, and which it portrays.

This lead to the conversation about our current culture. 

I found an article today in the New York Daily News, an opinion piece, which stated that we really need to listen to the words we use, to choose them carefully because words can, and are, used like weapons.  You cannot swing a club at someone without there be repercussions, and you cannot spew hate at someone without there being consequences.

Some of the quotes mentioned in the article make my skin crawl.  To think that some of our elected political heroes speak in this manner is appalling.  That we PAY others to do it is shameful.

But we can make it stop.  Glenn Beck won't be able to have a microphone in front of him if we stop buying his books, and change the station when he is on.  (I do this very thing when he comes on to our local radio talk show station.)  If he is not bringing money into the station/publishing house/network, he will eventually be silenced.

If Ann Coulter's segments on TV no longer have the ratings, the advertisers will pull out and soon she, too, will find herself listening to her own voice all alone.

We can make a difference, by putting our collective feet down and saying STOP IT!  ENOUGH HATE!  We can elect the other guy when our politician calls his opponent a F******G raghead.  We can vote out of office the guy who takes a shot-gun to legislation he does not like.

We can make a difference.  We must.  I fear for our children's future if we do not stop this culture of hate.

My father had a tremendous respect for John F. Kennedy, and had on the wall of his office a poster portraying JFK in a lone row boat.  The inscription on the bottom read:

One man can make a difference, and every man should try.

It's time we try.

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