I Have No Idea

Yesterday I posted a weird picture that I haven’t used before and made myself cry gushers of tears again for the boy the picture is a portrait of.  I suppose it is a catharsis I didn’t really need.  I woke up today with a blistering headache to keep my perpetual backache company.  Could that have been caused by the crying and the blues that ensued?  Probably.

So, I have no idea for today.  My brain hurts and my heart is burned out.

I checked Facebook where I had posted this quote from Malala ;


I wasn’t really prepared for controversy.  I should’ve been.  It is obvious from the guns versus books graphics that it would stir emotions in my liberal author and teacher friends, as well as my conservative cracker anti-Muslim friends.

My aunt, a former career teacher, responded first.  She wrote, “Like the thought.”  She was a great third grade teacher in Iowa for many years.  She loved all kids then and still does today.  I want to be like that in retirement too.

But the next response was from a former high school friend who voted for Trump and hates all the people the Republican Party orders him to hate.

“Sounds great like most sound bites. Much harder to explain and implement.”  My friend, Ali Hassenbutter (not his real name, but this will make him angry as well as protect his actual identity), likes to take jabs at me for being a liberal, and the subtext here is that, even though I was a teacher for many years, I don’t know what I’m talking about when it comes to education.  So, I answered him with some heartfelt teacher-ism.

“I had Egyptian and Lebanese and Arab students in my classes at Garland ISD. They are people just like us. You help them learn English. They make American friends. Americans learn that most Muslims are not terrorists. What’s so complicated about that? Unless you start slamming doors in their faces and treating them as less valuable than you are.”   I admit to maybe being a bit snarky in that last line, but sometimes he gets my goat.  (I know I should just let him have it.  I have never liked my goat that much anyway.  It smells bad.)

A fellow ESL teacher from Garland chimed in even though she doesn’t know Ali.  “And these students added spice in our classroom…  Just like they do in the USA.”  She knows all the students I was referencing.

Then one of my other Belmond classmates who knows and probably detests us both as heathens added his words of wisdom, “The real concept here is that we are in fact ALL HUMAN.”  See there?  The Bible banger gets it.  And I really appreciate when he steps in and tries to make peace.  He’s somewhat nutty at times, but his new-found religion allows him to believe like I do that we should choose love over hate as our default response, even to terrorism.

But Ali comes back with;   It takes both approaches to this problem. But then there is Berkley as a shining example of education gone off the rail.”  He’s at least trying to sound like he is listening to our comments, but then he pulls this old red hot chestnut out of the fireplace.  He offers it like the opinion of the crazy, racist uncle at Thanksgiving Dinner.

“Yes, because it was the teachers’ fault at Berkley. That poor young racist agitator from Breitbart was supposed to have a peaceful forum for spewing his hateful mouth garbage at young liberal college students, and the college administrators who granted him that right didn’t bend over backwards far enough to prevent a violent reaction.”  I know, sarcasm is the resort of the defeated.  I should be championing love over hate and freedom of speech over my personal revulsion to Milo.

My teacher friend had this to add;  “I understand the “right” instigated that incident.”

“Yes, but they wore masks to hide their identity. That makes them automatically liberals, doesn’t it? If I am able to follow Fox News Logic, anyway.”  Sez I.

And so, there we stand, at the very beginning of a month-long Facebook love/hate debate.  And I will lose.  You can argue with brick walls and score more debate points than you can arguing anything political with Ali.  And the frustrating thing is, he’s an ordinary decent human being and stand-up guy too.  Not just a dismiss-able deplorable because he voted for Trump.


I have no ideas today.  I have a headache.  If I can’t defend Malala’s heroic logic, then I can’t even argue my way out of a bowl of chicken soup.  Doomed to drown in chicken broth.  At least I will die healthy at the bottom of that mixed metaphor.  That should be worth a laugh.


Filed under angry rant, commentary, compassion, education, feeling sorry for myself, foolishness, humor, Liberal ideas, politics, strange and wonderful ideas about life

8 responses to “I Have No Idea

  1. Kat Kantor

    Most of my friends agree …we just can’t “discuss” much with the trumpers. I would rather drown in that bowl of chicken soup trying…. than keeping quiet listening to their bullshit. Hope your headache goes away..

  2. “my conservative cracker….”

    Was this characterization really necessary ? Why isn’t it considered a racial slur ? It offends me me because I was a teacher in predominantly black schools in Miami for 33 years and some still called me cracker. Keerist. I’m Italian born in New York and a born again Presbyterian. I have 3 sort of semi adopted grandchildren that are Haitian, two mixed white and black by blood, 1 mixed white and Hispanic by blood and 1 white by blood. I did vote for Trump who I concede is a jerk but was an anybody but deceitful Hillary voter. Please don’t classify as cracker because of it. Naturally I know the set of people to whom you refer. I wonder if there is another way to portray them in words as unsavory as they do seem.

    I remember during that Zimmerman mess my grandaughter white/black who was 9 at the time asked me “Grampa are they going to shoot me because I am black ?” What a dreadful thing that was to hear. I thought “Oh my dear child, that would be the end of the world.”

    “racist agitator from Breitbart …” Now on this group “neoNazis certainly fits. You do seem to try to be balanced in the essay I think. This is why on my blog, which I thank you for supporting, I never do political, religious, social editorial cartoons. Just silly humor for all stripes of folks to enjoy. I understand your headache. I wish it was a simpler world void of senseless and irrational bigotry. A real issue of deep concern of which few seem to be attentive is that the damaged reactor from the nuke plant in Japan is still spewing radiation into the Pacific at an alarming rate. It is threatening the very life of the planet. Regards, Carl.

    • I am sorry if I offended you. I may have offended Ali too. This was supposed to be a hyperbolic description of some of my friends who constantly seem to attack my ideas about education, not a racial slur. I too have been called a cracker by Texas students, along with honkey, vato loco, gringo loco, and a number of things I can’t even repeat in Spanish. We do get more than our fair share of that as teachers. I will definitely be more mindful of the use of that term in the future. But I really did have a severe headache. I was a little meaner than usual… about on par with the criticisms I get from that group of friends for being a liberal communist idiot. Believe me, they use words I simply cannot. I will not refrain from defending the idea that terrorism will be fought more effectively the way Malala suggests, through education, rather than with bigger bombs and more bullets.

      • I’m really not offended. Sometimes distasteful words do have accuracy. Yes, education is the key. Keep the faith. I understand and those crackers really can be obnoxious. Do you know the origin of the word ? Florida does have a very long standing horse raising industry and the crack of the whips as the cowboys herded them made them called crackers. I don’t know how or when it got its contemporary meaning. Well this old Goldwater Republican has been called a liberal communist idiot too as I support the unions. “All power to the workers !” and “Workers of the world unite !” sound like reasonable slogans to me , communist or not. I am ashamed of those Tea Party, Freedom caucus Republicans trying to block all the sensible conditions of health care. I like it when they call me WOP. Dago and spick. That means they recognize my Roman blood and naturally the Romans are the superior people. Oooops. Tee hee…

      • I’m glad you are not offended. And I agree we need to defend ideas like labor unions and education and sensible health care measures more than we need to cling to political labels like Democrat or Republican or even Independent… whatever that means now. My family was basically Eisenhower Republican from the 50’s to about 2000 when my father lost faith in W. Bush’s crueler trickle-down policies. I have always considered myself a Kennedy Democrat, and I blame LBJ for the murder of Kennedy, though I recognize the good things we got from the Kennedy era came to us only through LBJ’s efforts. We are all human beings, and my conservative friend gets my goat when he refuses to recognize others as people. (I definitely should let him have that old goat. It sure hasn’t done me any good.)

  3. I think you are wonderful.

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