Walk Out

On March 24, Dave and I will join the kids and march. There are marches planned all over the nation, modeled on the Women’s March.

I assure you that we know exactly why we are marching, and so does everyone else who is doing it.

She didn’t like the Women’s March. She mocked the appearance of those who marched (ironically) She has mocked me for marching in it.

She seems to dislike everything. I’ve rarely seen her actually like anything. Deb has called her Negative Nicole, and it’s an apt nickname.

But she can’t even bother to write anything herself. Nicole doesn’t express herself well in print, so she shares memes and links and other people’s words, often without reading them.

Joseph Dobrian is a moron, of course.

The Walk Out was sanctioned by lots of schools, yes, in part because in some cases, teachers wanted to join in.  They’re getting killed too, you know.  I suspect lots of teachers saw the event as a way to teach kids something about civic participation. Can you imagine a better way to introduce the subject into a class than to actually go on a march?

But it was not sanctioned by every school.

In Kentucky, more than 100 students got detention because they walked out.  The school attempted to substitute a meeting in the gym or some other stupid thing for the walk out, but the students understood that if you’re going to protest, you have to be seen.  If you’re hidden in the gym, nobody knows it even happened.

Do you know what those students did during their detention?

They wrote letters to their congressional representatives encouraging them to consider reasonable gun control measures.

Do you think they knew why they were marching?  Do you think they understand what they are doing?

I graduated from high school in 1966.  I watched my generation, my peers, march protesting the Vietnam War.  I was too hamstrung by my mother’s religion to participate myself, something I have always regretted.  Fundy religion saw the war as good for some reason (they always think wars are good), but I watched and I realized that those kids, mostly college students, or college-aged, stopped that war.

It took a while. One protest didn’t do it.  It took several years of protests. There were even deaths associated with protesting (Kent State). Lots of protesters went to jail for refusing the draft, including Mohammed Ali.

As a generation, we learned something, though. We learned that if you speak up, enough, with enough people, you can change things. Our generation did just that.  Those were the years when the Vietnam War was stopped, when Nixon was brought down, when Medicare became a reality, civil rights became a real issue with real answers and real legislation passed.

I was in the tenth grade when John F Kennedy was killed.  Coming on the heels of the fifties, it was a shock to the nation, something like 9/11 so many years later. The event profoundly affected my generation, and many of my peers took to the streets in response to it.  It was the kids who did it. Their parents pursed their lips and disapproved.

That’s what these kids are learning. They are approaching voting age. They are finding out that the only way to effect change is to participate. They are finding out that sitting there, on your phone, sharing a meme on Facebook, while refusing to vote or participate in any way means that you will continue to sit there while your teeth fall out and your children grow up totally uneducated, facing a very difficult future, and nothing will change at all. They are choosing a different path.

Were there some kids who marched simply because it was easy, their school wasn’t going to punish them, and hell, it beats sitting in class?

Of course there were, however, I bet they were in the minority.

I have to wonder how many of those kids, the ones who did it for a lark, will revisit that in the months to come and think, “You know, I think I’ll register to vote.”

If the opinion of the students marching was “government approved,” as that idiot above claims, we’d already have reasonable gun control in place right now. It’s not “government approved” at all.

While those students were marching, a dog died on a United Airlines flight due to a flight attendant forcing the owner to put the dog in the overhead bin.  Within hours of that occurring, House members rushed to introduce a bill to make it illegal to force anyone to put a dog in the overhead bin.

That is “government approval.”

Seventeen students were killed in a school shooting, and the best those same representatives can offer is thoughts and prayers.

The person with no clue is Nicole.

These were not organized school events.  The students themselves did the organizing.  The march I am attending on the 24th was organized by students.  Yes, adults have joined in, but the original impetus came from the kids in Florida who found activism as a way to work through their shock and grief and fear.

Denigrating that is so horrible it makes me sick.

Nicole doesn’t know the first thing about the public school system.  Her children have no friends, so she doesn’t interact with public school students.  She makes all sorts of pronouncements about it but knows nothing at all.

We live in a world where most families require two incomes to stay afloat.  Most families actually want to have a real bathroom and running water and refrigeration and something other than a garden shed to live in. How are they supposed to home school, Nicole?  You don’t even home school. You do nothing at all.

The only “active shooters” on your property, Nicole, are your own children.  Let me explain what I fear.   I fear your son, Quinten, who marches around your property regularly carrying a gun, with a scowl on his face,  watching anyone who drives by. Don’t even bother to try to deny this. He’s been seen over and over again doing just that.

Every kid isn’t Quinten, though.  Every kid isn’t facing a future with no education, brainwashed with fear and paranoia.  More than a million of these kids are facing the future with optimism, determined to speak their minds.  They are the future, not Quinten.  I suspect future presidents are in their midst.  Certainly future congressmen are.

Dave and I will join them on Saturday, March 24.

A LITTLE UPDATE: I graduated from Wade Hampton High School. Good for the students, a pox on the administration. This is why we support the ACLU.

And another little gem, pointed out to me by a friend.


Educated: A Review

The book is called Educated.  The author, as you can see, is Tara Westover.

Here’s the Amazon link.

I first saw a review of this book before it was released.  I was interested immediately for obvious reasons, as you’ll see.

Tara Westover was raised as the youngest child in a large Mormon family who lived outside a small town in Idaho.  While not off-grid (I stress this because lots of sites get it wrong and say that her family is off-grid and they are not), they were pretty isolated and the kids were homeschooled.

Like another family we know, the mother seems to have begun by doing actual homeschooling, and this shows in the educational status of the older children (advanced degrees). However, by the time Tara came along, they’d sort of given that up and she was essentially “unschooled,” Naugler-style. Most of the children were home birthed; Tara had no birth certificate until she was nine and had to take an educated guess about her actual birth date.

The book is the story of her journey out of that world, where her father believes strongly that government is evil and they spend lots of time preparing for the end of the world, where doctors are bad and they rely solely on herbal stuff and homeopathy (basically, nothing at all), and well, you get the idea.  I’m sure you can guess why I wanted to read it.

Instead, I pre-ordered the Audible version and listened to it, and perhaps that made it more profound for me than it would have been otherwise.

As an aside, and just to say something about the book’s credibility, I mentioned this book to someone I know who is a professional fact-checker, and he said, “If you had the print copy, you’d see that I fact-checked this book.”

That’s enough for me. He’s meticulous. This book’s facts have been checked, re-checked, and a magnifying glass taken to them.

This is Tara’s first book. As such, it has some of the hall marks of first-time book writing, and occasionally gets a wee bit tedious with descriptions of the mountain (yes, it’s beautiful, we get it).  Having said that, she didn’t self-publish. This is not amateur hour. It’s Random House.

What I thought was going to be a story of how difficult it was for Tara to navigate the real world and get a Ph D, attending both Cambridge and Harvard in the bargain after growing up like a Naugler, turned out to be a story about the self and how it’s defined, about what it means to have a family and what obligations that entails, about finding yourself when your self has been squashed like a bug from the day you were born.

I found it fascinating and disturbing and moving.  Oddly enough, I identified with a lot of it.  I didn’t grow up like Tara at all, but I did grow up in fundamentalist religion, and I know about having a squashed self and a family that simply doesn’t get it.

She writes about studying at Cambridge and how the world of books and history changed her. I know about that. I’ve never been to Cambridge, but I sure understand what happens to a squashed self when it finds hitherto forbidden reading material.

She also writes eloquently about how her family defined her, and about how for too many years, she let them.  I know about that too.

Toward the end, on one of her last visits home, she relates how she used her mother’s computer to send an email to a friend, and when she woke the computer up, the screen was open to an email exchange that her mother had with her sister. They were talking about her and about how evil she was.

When I listened to that, I felt a sense of deja vu. When I first deconverted, after I finally had to tell my mother, we were visiting her in North Carolina and she asked me to check her computer because there was something wonky about it.  I did the same thing that Tara did. I woke the computer up and the screen was open to an email.  It was a conversation between my mother, my sister, and my mother’s pastor (my former pastor).  They were discussing my mother’s hypothesis that I was schizophrenic.  I had to be mentally ill, you see, because I had deconverted from their religion and it’s impossible to do that according to their belief system. They were shaping me, my self, to fit their narrative.

Tara’s experiences dwarf my own. I’m left gasping at the horrors she endured, and I kept wanting to yell at her for going back for second and third and fourth helpings, but I understand it.  Breaking free is tough, and frankly, for most people, impossible.  She is extraordinary.

If you’ve wondered what happens to kids who grow up in these sorts of environments, get the book. (Note: there are other places to buy it. I get nothing at all if you buy from Amazon. It’s just handy.)

Here’s a fairly lengthy interview with Tara where she discusses some of the stuff in the book. If you plan to read it, don’t watch the interview first, as it contains a lot of spoilers. Watch it afterwards.







Homestead Act V

HOMESTEAD ACT Act V Scene 1 new

NOTE: When I began watching this, I wondered what in the hell Sheer Luck had been thinking and where in the world was she going with this.

Many of the clips she uses are from every lunatic preacher my mother revered and listened to (except the Mormon stuff which she considered of the devil).

I kept thinking, “What does this have to do with anything?  I mean, I get the basic idea, but why spend so much time on it?”

Watch it. Watch it all the way to the end.

All will be made plain.