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Monday, September 17, 2012

The Occupy Movement - 1 year later

This morning here in New York I woke up and flicked on the "idiot box" to get an idea of what "news-entertainment" the local stations were covering.  Most were down in Wall Street covering a group of protesters commemorating the first anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Last year, a group of mostly young people took over Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan for several weeks beginning in late September and staying there until the police, like exterminators, cleaned out the park in November. 

The Occupy movement inspired similar protests in other large US cities and in cities across the globe.  There was really no agenda or formal structure to the group in New York.  That may have been the reaason for its disappearance from the politcal discourse since last year.  There was no real statment from the group at what its aims were.  Unfortunately in my opinion, the Occupiers missed their chance to mobilize as a counter-point to the right -wing Tea Party and could lead to Occupy endorsed candidates for political office.

Certainly the economic situation here in the US and worldwide has not improved since last year.  Unemployment is still high, the housing bubble has left many people underwater with mortgages too high to leave any discrectionry spending left and young people are saddled with high debt from college with no certainty of finding work. 

Perhaps the Occupy movement could have been successful if it had transitioned into a viable alternative to the political quagmire we see daily in Washington D.C.  By offering suggestions for solutions to our economic problems it may have provided the necessary spark to lead to bold and creative solutions.

Instead we've seen more of the same.  The too big to fail banks get their handouts, main street has seen in the words of Bruce Springsteen "vacant stores, seems like there ain't nobody come down here no more" and Mr. and Mrs. Joe Sixpack are sold out by our leaders in D.C. who are more responsive to the K Street lobbyists than their own constituents.  All the Federal Reserve wishes to do is print more money as Quantatative Easing III was announced last week.  How is printing more money a solution?  It just makes our dollar less valuable. 

What's the solution?  I don't know but it's not found in Washington.  I wish more Americans were informed about current events instead of what's on TV.  I also wish more people would exercise their right at the ballot box.  This is very important because it's our only way of exercising term limits on most of our representatives.   

Occupy (your thoughts),
Occupy (the voting booth),
Occupy (and become the change you wish to see),
Occupy (and demand solutions).

There is always a chance.   



Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Back into the trenches

Tomorrow brings the return to my classroom of 12 active teens full of energy and enthusiasm.  While it's only been three weeks since I've seen most of them, it hasn't felt that short.  I am looking forward to an exceptional and creative year with these children.  Also, good luck to my son and daughters as they continue their school journey at a new school.

Two quotes from Elbert Hubbert illustrate what teaching means to me:

The object of teaching a child is to enable him to get along without his teacher.


The teacher is the one who gets the most out of the lessons, and the true teacher is the learner.


cartoon teacher
Now to get some rest, it's back to business tomorrow.