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  • Writer's pictureJane Thompson Hasenmueller

JANEGOes off…

During my teaching years, I wrote this on the chalkboard the first day of school each year and then had a discussion with my students about it's meaning. As an English teacher I wanted my students to be able to hear and read new ideas, think about them, talk about them, and learn something, or at least be able to think about a topic in a new way. If you never challenge your beliefs by reading and thinking, discussing and sharing, how do you know what you believe?

Our world has turned into a polarized mess and a daily throwdown of hate and intolerance. I'd propose that a big part of this situation we find ourselves in now has to do with our inability to entertain a thought different than our own because we hardly talk to anyone, we let our biases rule us, and we live in filter bubbles. We hide behind our devices where we can scream and shout, call people idiots (you know who you are) and worse, rarely interact with other humans. And even more detrimental, we don't read books, especially ones that would challenge us. Books on democracy and what that means might be a good idea for a lot of people these days. Like maybe the majority of members of congress, (i.e. the puppets of lobbyists, big money, big pharma, big food, and of course big tech.) Books, the real thing, is a cognition builder not only for children learning to read, but for EVERYONE!!!

Sigh. Let me now step down from my READ A BOOK SOAP BOX! (But seriously, READ A BOOK!)

Unfortunately the far right and far left are both very loud, vocal minorities. They need to take heed of Aristotle and maybe lighten up a bit. EVERYONE does not have to agree with you. We do not need Christian Nationalism, we need Christians who follow the teachings of Jesus and set the example, and if I'm not a Christian, maybe I will be, or maybe I'll just act in a Christian manner because I'm a decent human being, you get my drift? We do not need to be CANCELED because we said something you disagree with and hurt your feelings. Maybe we all need to understand, it matters what you say, and be willing to say I'm sorry. Decency towards others is important. Freedom of speech does not mean say anything. We all need to take personal accountability for ourselves and respect the right of others to do likewise.

I read lots of different philosophies. Here's one that always sticks with me from the Dali Lama. He says love and compassion is his religion. Wouldn't it be nice if we all opened our minds to this thought and followed that 'religion'*?

Until next time,

Peace and Joy my friends,


*a pursuit or interest to which someone ascribes supreme importance (from the Oxford Dictionary)

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