Friday, October 22, 2010

OPINION: Honor Among Thieves

Magdalena Potluck
By Margaret Wiltshire

Are you voting for Tweedle Dee or Tweedle Dum?  Will it be a street gang loyalty vote or have you been thinking on your own?  I believe everything they are saying about each other.  I believe nothing they say about what they will do in office.
Chanting slogans works for dictatorships and cults but it is a sign of disease in a Democratic Republic.  It is rule  number one in selling lies and the manipulation of crowds.
There are always people of honor and experiential truth.  When they get together, empires fall.
Democrats and independents that voted for President Obama know that what they voted for isn’t going to happen.  Republicans and independents still think that giving more to and taking less away from the richest 1% will help us all out.  That has been the theme since the 1980s.  Current economics says this doesn’t work.  If I “just really believe” only works for Tinker Bell and little boys who don’t grow up.
Democrats and Republicans will go on working for this 1% even though the 1% prefers “multinational” to patriot for an adjective.  P. T. Barnum is credited with “There’s a sucker born every minute” and I think many of them vote.
We have bond issues to vote for and sometimes they make things happen faster than they do in Congress.  One is for education and libraries, two of my favorites.
When is an F an F?  When does it mean Failing?  When New Mexico reading levels slant downward to 49th in the country and funding for reading evaluation and testing slants upwards that does not make a V for victory.  When can we give this system an F and be done with it?         
By the time I was four my mom got tired of reading me stories again and again.  She always said, “I’m not a teacher, and never wanted to be a teacher.  She was however desperately bored.   She opened the book and said, “this is the word The.” What a stupid word I thought.  “What does it really mean?”  I asked.   “It’s in all the books and when you know it you will always get that word right.”  I looked through my book and was impressed.  I could read “the” a lot.  “So tell me some real words”, I asked.  In the beginning... 
 What a world reading is.  To be 49th in the country says we are a very poor state indeed.  A poor people.
Between my mom and some teachers, I learned to read.  For me what is essential about learning to read is having someone’s undivided attention for at least a few minutes once in a while.  Reading level circles, reading evaluations teach lessons in humility, not reading.  I’ve seen children blanch, almost faint and develop a hatred of school in some of these situations.  What is your experiential truth?
What would happen if we built schools?  Besides more work for more people, including teachers.  What would happen if there were 12 to 15 kids in any class, besides education?  There might be community, fellowship, respect and a sense of personal validity for each student and teacher.  What kind of society would that make?
Not the kind of society of individuals that street gang politics could manipulate easily.  It’s never on the agenda.  So they will spend money on evaluating how little a people you are and how much you need them.  They’ll have you chanting their slogans.
After all, few of you can read, and what do you know?
I was teaching a teen with Downs Syndrome how to read and four of his friends who also had Downs decided they wanted to learn too.  They had great symbol memory, and what is reading anyway?  How hard can it be?  Learn to read or teach someone to read.  You can give them the world. Call me or the library for some help.
I met a Maya shoe shine boy from a rural village.  He taught himself Spanish, then English, then French and he was working on Japanese and Chinese when I met him.  No money for school, he taught himself enough to go to University part time.  He opened the first Computer Cafes in Guatemala and last I knew had about 14 Cafes.  He also saw to it his siblings got an education and could start their own businesses.  He had a black belt in Karate “to boot.”   Still able to speak his Maya dialect he’s lost nothing and gained the world.
Where are you and what are you doing?

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