Organize!

I wish we had our own form of ALEC (The American Legislative Exchange Council, the right wing billionaire funded group dedicated to influencing state and national policy), a collective of organizations whose efforts overlap in the fight to save democracy. It is great to have “too many” allies, but not if they are crippled by overlapping marches, competing agendas, etc. I have no idea how that could work, and probably in the absence of a godfather with billions to give out (which would destroy its purpose). So, we will probably all simply have to dole out our support to them all, or pick one or two…? Some are regional, some are specific to a particular effort.

janina-dont-mourn

My daughter, Becky, is flooded with responsibilities to a half dozen regional causes that she can’t resist. They include anti-fracking, alternative banking, and now a collective one called The Four Freedoms Campaign. They have gathered many agencies and citizens to join together to support each other as crises develop. They are sponsoring a citizen training day where they will offer workshops on a variety of ways to respond to the current crisis. This work is mostly in western Massachusetts, centering in Pittsfield but also spills over to NY state.

Then! I just got off the phone with Harry Boyte, with who I share the Bridging Differences blog on Education Week. We got into a heated argument and resolved it about whether the metaphor of war used in political battles, especially when real power is at stake, is counter-productive. There was a moment there where it sounded more like war between us than two old friends trying to figure out each other’s position. It turned out we were using different language to say more or less the same thing.

It is true that even in education battles over phonics vs whole language, or new and old math, that involve more than language differences, can, within a few minutes sound like what is at stake is civilization itself and the other and their viewpoint are the enemy. Is it unreasonable to believe there is another way to organize? To persuade? To influence? Even within one’s family?

On a more personal note, while I was teaching, it was easier to survive with cheer because for seven hours a day I was part of a community based on the hopes of children. And for much of that time I was also a member of a family that all lived together. It is nice to see that while we have not lived together for nearly 40 years we are still community, and one that extends to cousins and cousins-once-removed! I spent January on the west coast speaking and visiting with my California son, and my west coast cousins, and some dear friends in Santa Cruz and Oakland. My son Nick then came east in February to help Fred and I out, and to go with me to the North Dakota Study Group. Meanwhile my more nearby daughter Becky comes over regularly to straighten out this and that. And last weekend my granddaughter Sarah and her husband Luis picked me up to drive me to see their spectacular new apartment in East Hampton (Massachusetts) The next day we went to Lowell to see my other granddaughter, Lilli, in her charming two-room apartment in Lowell, and were joined there by son Roger and his wife Tricia. Lilli is teaching 9th graders in Lawrence, Mass. and Sarah has landed a city planning job in nearby Holyoke. And to complete the picture the two grandsons are doing fine, Daniel enjoys his job in the wine business and Ezra will be married in Ann Arbor in August.

However, in the past week I have gotten Macular Degeneration in my remain “good eye” (having lost sight in my other eye a year ago), so after all those books I am just finishing my reading and writing will be rather limited (that is I am currently relying on text-to-speech and speech-to-text features which I suddenly need to learn to use) at least in the short term depending on whether better sight can be restored.

-Deb

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7 Responses

  1. Love to you Deborah. Thank you for your work all these years. Yes – I do wish we could organize under one banner where all our agendas melted into one big campaign for children and childhood. Hugs.

  2. Ditto what Poetic Justice said. Hope you find ways to accommodate that macular degeneration bit. If I lived near I’d take it all down as you spoke.

  3. Deb
    I am an administrator at a small private independent school in Troy,NY. You inspire me daily! Thank you for your wisdom, insight and vision.
    We will continue to organize and do the work that needs to be done.

  4. Gratitude and love from Europe. You sensible, informed and brilliant mind gives me a momentary release from the political realities of now, both educational and social. Sometimes I wonder if the stress of our over populated planet has conspired to give reign to the very human but unacceptable reign of ignorance, fear and yes, evil. You bring hope and joy.💝💝💝💝💝😄

  5. Animo i amor. I’m glad you are a touchstone for some of us, even as some of us age more seriously and with more difficulty. Here are 2 books that you might know or find central: Parker Palmer’s Healing the Heart of Democracy, which might rephrase Joe Hill: “Mourn and organize!” And thetirreplaceable irascibly sagacious Stephen Jenkinson’s Die Wise(which is for the living first of all).

  6. Deb I am with you on the need for a overarching entity to help us coordinate , conserve and use resources effectively and someone who can help us get good policies enacted!

    I volunteer to work on this goal with you!bob@empathyandeducation.org

  7. Debby – in my town, the biggest and most longlasting source of conflict is the eucalyptus trees, the removal of, the preservation of, whether it they are necessary for wintering monarchs, who used to use redwoods, whether they should be contained or eliminated entirely, whether they are a sacred cathedral or enduring evidence of an ignorant and failed attempt to grow a quick lumber “crop” after irresponsible logging.
    Without this issue, which may seem so trivial to outsiders, I wouldn’t know what it’s like to have local enemies, or how difficult “community” really is. Mediation has failed.
    My best hope is to outlive the other side. So far, it’s working.

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