Starry Nights

Reposting from 2018 when a “plague on both your houses” was just a emotional line shouted out in desperation and not a world-wild reality that carved out even more distinction between those billionaires holding power and the rest of us dealing with all the fallout of a collapsed economy, a non-stop pandemic, and the Republicans still causing havoc. Regardless, I must say, as Shakespeare’s words fill my classroom and the minds of my students once again, we reach for hope. Will we ever attain those lofty hopeful aims? Will the old white men clinging to their past power ever step aside and allow for a new dawn and vision for a more diverse America, a more sustainable Earth, and a truthful assessment of our current challenges? Let’s say yes, for tonight, let’s find that thread of faith that leads to hope and believe in a perhaps. Yes, let’s.

Nine Cent Girl

As I embark on a Shakespeare unit with my students, nine graders reading Romeo & Juliet and AP Lit reading Hamlet, we start with questions. Questions Elizabethan thinkers might have pondered in 1598; questions we still ponder in 2018. I am struck with our timeless preoccupation over destiny: Are we the masters of our own fate? I ask students to think and write about their beliefs on this topic. Certainly, these teens, like those penned by Shakespeare, want to believe they are, indeed, in control of their outcomes, while I, I who have screamed up at the Heavens in distress, frustrated by the unpredictability of chance, those ‘why me’ moments; “O, I am Fortune’s fool” situations. As if we are pulled by strings invisible to our own hands. Just when we want/need/hope for a different outcome we must settle for what is… but as I look across…

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An Anniversary of Sorts

January 6th will stand in our minds as a frightening spectacle of unbridled violence and anarchy against our democratic America. Like all infamous days in our cable-news-social-media-in-your-face culture, visceral horror flooded our feeds, our lives, our living rooms, and rippled into the political arena like a firestorm not giving one hoot who or what it destroyed. And we all watched. For hours. Days. Weeks. Months. We watched as that horror was debated and dissected; as all the wordage like insurrection, coup, riot, protest and sedition were argued between politicians as if words still mattered.

Like so many of these hard dates that now populate our collective history, December 14th 2012, September 11th 2001, April 4th 1968 and August 6th 1945, January 6th 2021 was a nightmare that still causes us to sweat; yet we remain stagnant. And worse still  the Republican Senators and Representatives who by all accounts aided and abetted the criminals who desecrated our Capital are on the federal payroll, yes, still. And, even worser, the man who commanded the day, still perpetuates his lies to his mob. Should we really call him the former President? Can you even? Without any shame for America? I  think demagogue might be a more apt title.

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hope

We are in the midst of significance. After the darkest winter this country has witnessed since WWII, there is a new hope floating in the air, springing from an empathy from our leadership. Say what you want about politics, but soon there will be money in needy pockets, vaccines available for everyone, and acts of caring from Washington the likes of which will buoy this tired America straight into a better world. Today I see a brighter horizon. Sure the road is still muddy and slick and filled with challenging ruts, but with lifted eyes we can find the fulfillment of sweet promises that will change everything.

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