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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Help me put www.barribumgarner.com on the map!

I’ve been abducted! Yes, it’s true…I’m currently without my middle initial, because the guy who built my website, Blake Theiss, owns me and I can’t find him…Blake, if you’re out there, email me (barribum@aol.com )! I need me back!! But the result is that my old website, with that pesky middle initial, is currently out-of-order…so in the meantime, PLEASE visit my brand new site at www.barribumgarner.com and get that puppy on the Google map! The more hits it gets, the easier it will be to sidestep the old one. In December, I should own me again. But in the meantime, if you see me wandering aimlessly down the street, help me get where I need to go (that’s a dangerous statement to make, isn’t it?) So as I head off to D.C. for the National Book Festival , I’m hoping everybody who googles me will find me!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Opinions Matter...

Well, I've successfully finished the first week into a new school year, and ended that week with hate mail from a writer friend. I watch the hate-mongering in the media, listen to all sides of the political world attack one another, and every news outlet in the U.S. chooses this tactic because, to be honest, hatred and anger evoke a response. As long as we're frightened of things, we embrace what "they" tell us. School violence is a prime example. Our nation is one of the only that ever has school shootings. Rare instances occur in other countries, but it's so common here now, most people don't even realize there have been several acts of deadly school violence already this school year in America. If it's not of Virginia Tech or Columbine magnitude, it barely breaks a below-the-fold headline. We fear, we attack, and we stay on guard. Until recently, Canadians had more handguns per person than any other nation, yet had one of the lowest crime rates of the Western world...why? Because if it bleeds it DOESN'T lead. They don't give media coverage to violent offenders...they don't get their 15 minutes, and rightly so.

That being said, I ranted about how much ALL these politicians scare me, and yes, I did speak out that Palin scared me with wanting to make abortion illegal. I don't want the government controlling my body. I'm not an abortion advocate. But I'm also not represented at the federal level. No one there is like me... a middle class female who wants a much higher quality education for our youth, a heavier hand against drug use and possession, lower crime, active resistance against gangs, and equal rights for everyone. I would prefer someone moderate who could share the beliefs of a true majority instead of radicals on both ends, but honestly, no one is running who represents those who don't want to swing way out to the right or left. There is no longer a middle America. And we are a reactive, hateful people. When the Dixie Chicks received death threats, I marveled how much hatred Christians can muster. The values we're supposed to possess in dealing with our fellow human beings is apparently only applicable if the opinions expressed are shared. We recite "judge not lest ye be judged' but few live by the creed. If we all took out mirrors instead of magnifying glasses, it would be a much nicer place to live. As it is, I've discovered opinions matter only if they are what peole want to hear. But we can't all agree on everything. If only it were that easy.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Political Rant...

Okay, so I hover somewhere closer to the left of middle as far as politics are concerned (I'm a teacher, I'm female, and other assorted issues and quite honestly, No Child Left Behind is the stupidest thing that ever happened to education)...so anyway. I'm reading about McCain's family values and listening to him talk. It's hard not to like him, being a POW and all. Then I start reading about his 14 year marriage that didn't end until 1980. And he met his new wife Cindy and started a relationship in 1979... My math isn't great, but clearly, he is seeing Cindy while wife one (I believe her name started with a C also) is still legally his wife. Within mere months of the divorce, he and Cindy marry. Okay, so that happens all the time. I can accept a man valuing a new family over the old one, especially when she's 18 years younger than he is.

Then we move on to Gov. Palin...Ms. I-wanna-overturn-Roe v. Wade...if that doesn't terrify every woman on the planet, then you don't deserve a womb. I'm not a huge proponent of abortion, but I don't want butcher alley abortions for those who do want them and need them. I've watched 13-year old girls have babies and learn how to work the welfare system, and trust me, the cycle doesn't end. Every junior high and high school teacher on the planet has seen it. As much as we want them to put babies up for adoption, the culture they're raised in doesn't often promote it. But I digress... Sarah Palin stands for everything that scares me about politics. She preaches Roe v. Wade and family values with a 17-year old pregnant daughter. Now perhaps this was an immaculate conception, or most likely, her daughter didn't practice safe sex. Whatever the reason, I can't fathom someone standing on a pedastal ranting how she can facilitate change and help run this country, when clearly she hasn't done well at home. Mistakes happen, even to good, righteous families. But for a woman to sit in our White House, I'd like to think she can manage her own home better than allowing her 17-year old to get pregnant. I have friends who got pregnant young and have seen more recent friends have daughters get pregnant, and every time, it was a breakdown of some sort in the family structure.

Why people have made the word Liberal a dirty word, I have no idea. To most in education, it means open-mindedness and willingness to embrace change. Are you better off than you were 8 years ago? Not likely. Unemployment is higher than it's ever been, foreclosures are at an alarming rate, homelessness is worse than ever, gas prices at an all-time high over the past year. And to elect the oldest persident ever? That's not change, that's more of the same... He voted with President Bush on 91% of all proposals this past term. 91%...so what the heck is he gonna change???

Fear mongering is central to the American way (our media has been doing it for decades), so they try to scare us that Obama has Muslim background. Well, I have German background. Does that make me a Nazi? No. If we want to turn around everything the last 8 years has done in damage, we need REAL change. I'd prefer to elect a moderate (Rudy Guiliani would've been perfect...a candidate who's been both Democrat and Republican, who stands for middle class values, and god forbid, is a balance of liberal and conservative).

I'm not opposed to some Conservative values and I embrace some Liberal...I'm a Christian, and as a teacher, I can tell you that our kids need us to speak their language and lead by example. We need to put it all in perspective. Crime, drugs, gangs...it's all out of control, and preaching isn't changing a thing. Kids learn by doing, by watching, by emulating. And what they've learned from us drove them to do what they doing now. It's not working, so driving the same car down the same street at the same pace isn't going to change it.

"Progress always involves risks. You can't steal second base and keep your foot on first." ~Frederick B. Wilcox



It's time to try new tactics.