Inspiration for this shout out to teachers comes as I sit in my kitchen and listen to my sixth grader; ninth grader and husband, a Santa Fe Public Schools fourth grade teacher, each participating in their virtual classes. I would like to mention that I do not intentionally listen in on them. I am usually moving around them. Believe me, I know the absolute last thing my kids want is for there to be even a glimpse of their mom caught on camera, doing work at my computer, cleaning up the kitchen, etc. Nevertheless, I am a witness, like a fly on the wall or a white-haired head, to the hard work and absolute integrity that educators are bringing to their students every day from their homes.
I hear teachers validating students, encouraging students, challenging students and giving second chances. I hear teachers modeling how to listen and how to be heard, not interrupting others while in the midst of their thinking or speaking processes. I hear teachers being moderators of debates. I hear teachers practicing patience; showing fortitude; respecting opinions; being spontaneous and funny, creative and flexible, inclusive and clear, honest, empathetic and compassionate. I hear teachers and students learning to use their voices and learning to listen more actively. I hear hope. My love and admiration for educators runs deep. As a parent, an educator myself and just a little old fly buzzing around the room, I am awestruck by what you are bringing day after day to your students during this trying time.
It is not a coincidence that the philosophy, a bit right of the Chicago School and the gospel of James M. Buchanan, of Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett and that which she used to justify the finding that the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional are the principles Buchanan used to justify a position that Medicare is not constitutional. If the government cannot do health insurance via acts such as the ACA, it cannot do health insurance like Medicare. Similarly, Social Security is deemed a disability and survivors’ insurance. Those principles can endanger the continued use of Social Security. These folks have been working toward this moment since Brown v. Board of Education. And our senators should step up and not give her the easy go that she’s being given.
Many of us painfully remember the words President Donald Trump said at his inauguration that, under President Barack Obama, we had been living in “carnage.” Now, after three-plus years with the Trumpster, we know firsthand what it is like to live in carnage. More than 216,000 dead Americans, the economy in shambles, caging children and separating families, mocking people with disabilities, telling members of the military they are losers, relentless lying, and on and on. In my opinion, Trump has a serious personality disorder called malevolent narcissism. Some narcissists are reasonably tolerable. Malevolent narcissists have deep mean streaks and care only about themselves. If you like feeling good about doing the right thing, then vote with all your might for Joe Biden. Another four years of Trump would be real carnage from which our country would never recover.
Benefits of fire
There has been much talk of the Medio Fire in these pages, some hysteric. It’s hard not to be distraught with smoke billowing above our city and homes threatened. But the truth is not all wildfire is bad; in fact, wildfire is essential to Western vegetation. One might even say, like rain to a rainforest. The National Fire Plan notes an average of 145 million acres burned annually in the preindustrial, conterminous U.S. That’s 14 times more than in the worst years of the last decade. Of course, we can’t have that much fire in the modern U.S. But to put things into local perspective, just 16 percent of the area inside the Medio Fire perimeter burned at high severity; the remaining 84 percent burned moderately or not at all. The Medio Fire is a good example of how wildfires work for us, controlling fuels inexpensively and at scale.
An apolitical court
It is unfortunate that some (“GOP scamming Catholic voters,” Oct. 8), believe the Supreme Court’s function is to “stop abortion.” The Supreme Court is supposed to decide cases based solely on its interpretation of a law’s adherence (or non-adherence) to constitutional principles and precedent. The SCOTUS isn’t supposed to “stop” (or start) anything based on people’s beliefs, no matter how fervently held, or even how good a law is (or isn’t). Congress makes the laws. The Supreme Court decides whether or not they exceed constitutional boundaries. That’s why it is important that the court be as apolitical and nonpartisan as possible, a concept that been badly eroded in recent years.