12 September 2009

100 Issues for 100 Days: #26

#26: What Have They Got That I Ain't Got?

I didn't update last night partly because I was in bed by 8 and partly because 9/11 is always a difficult day for me. Being on the West Coast for 9/11 is a mind-trip. And being a teacher of middle to high school students who were born and raised on the West Coast is basically a mindfuck.

For the most part, children are out of touch with the impact of that day. But this is the only place where I've consistently encountered children who
laugh and treat that day as a joke. To top it all off, my advising group is currently discussing "courage", which is one of our school's guiding principles. The topics essentially go hand in hand but for students who don't see that event (or most events that don't affect them personally) as important, it's hard to get them to understand the sacrifices that people make.

On a personal level, discussing courage with my students makes me wonder, why should they know what courage is when they never see it displayed? We talked about what courage looks like an what it sounds like and a lot of them talked about jumping in front of bullets and saving lives but what about the student that says it's not okay when they see someone making fun of another? Or the shop owner who stays in a dangerous neighborhood rather than abandon it?

We also talked about moral courage vs. physical courage. In the article I provided for discussion, the author referenced voting Obama into office as an example of Americans showing moral courage. My question is, what have we done since then? Now that he's there how are we supporting him because right now it seems like all we hear are the people who didn't vote for him. I'm not saying that I'm perfect because I've definitely missed out on opportunities to go to town halls and show my support but I have written to senators and representatives. Below is a clip from Real Time with Bill Maher where he talks about the lack of courage the Obama administration and the people who voted for him are showing. We have the majority and we need to exercise it. I feel strongly that the moment we show that we are not ready to back down the other side will because right now they're just blowing lots of hot air.

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