This was the week that was. It really was. I’m having a time of reflection as common sense citizens have been challenged to think for themselves these last few days. Here are some of my thoughts:
Super Bowl Half-time
This falls under the category of citizenship. We have most of Americans tuning in for the festivities. The opening of the Super Bowl was as American, patriotic, and as family-friendly as it gets. We “represented” well.
Half-time was another story. I was told that I didn’t understand Latin culture. I was also told that pole dancing occurred to help sell a book. Please. I was born at night, but not last night. Sex sells. It always has. When I heard that Shakira and JLo were the featured halftime entertainment, I expected some Latin dancing. As a woman who took a few Latin dance classes, I appreciate great artistry. I didn’t expect soft pornography in prime time to be sold as “culture, you know, for the children.” Even kids know inherently that this display was not for them. Can I just say that I miss a great American marching band and halftime show?
Clearly, there is a problem in that days later, we still don’t have a precise result. My thoughts? The problem is with the officials running the caucuses, not the people of Iowa. I have family in Iowa. The people there are not country bumpkins. They feed you and me. If you enjoy a great piece of pork, chances are it came from Iowa. They have a high standard of education in their schools. (Anyone remember taking the Iowa Skills Test?) My grandsons’ schools are continually being redistricted so that there is diversity in their schools. The people of Iowa take their responsibility to vote seriously. If you live in a highly-populated state, the caucus system is hard to imagine. Still, it works for those citizens who want to share in choosing their presidential candidates. It’s not outdated or any of the other slams I’ve heard from people of larger states.
Consider this: it’s not the people of Iowa. It’s NOT just an issue with the app (or is it now the coding?). What we may be seeing here is the first attempt to reorganize the primary system, take it away from We the People, and put the power to choose candidates in the hands of the political parties. It is something to be aware of in the future. You may begin to hear many rumblings of the merits of a Super Tuesday primary for all, or rotating regional primaries. In any case, We the People need to choose our primary candidates, not the political parties.
The State of the Union
It was one of those speeches where you either like the state that our union is in or you don’t. There doesn’t seem to be any middle ground in opinions.
I assigned my jr. high and teen students the task of watching the State of the Union address. I asked each group, “What did you learn?” First thing, in each class, the students said, “She (the Speaker of the House) tore the President’s speech up.” That is what they remembered. One young student recalled the dad who came home from the military. Another didn’t know who the man was, but “he got the Medal of Freedom.”
Misbehavior, medals, and dads who come home. This is what stands out to kids, ages 11-15. It was a disappointing moment when the Speaker tore up the speech. The kids learned that a public display of disgust or frustration is the appropriate response to someone you disagree with or don’t like. Some Congressmen don’t approve of President Trump or his actions, so they impeached him. They employed a constitutional remedy, knowing they had the votes. What is the remedy for a Speaker of the House who shows the world this display of physically tearing up the text of the State of the Union? Should future Speakers be allowed to show their negative response in a highly visible way? If not, why not? How will the People’s business get done in the future?
I thought it was fascinating at the end when Chief Justice John Roberts thanked all who helped him carry out his duties according to the Constitution. If you observed for any length of time, there was a dignified protocol in the Court of Impeachment trial. Justice Roberts invited the Senators to come across the street to the Supreme Court and hear an argument -or avoid one (as he drew a laugh from the Senators). He told the Senators that Supreme Court saves a front-row seat for them. I thought it was a class act to thank those who took their responsibilities seriously to carry out their constitutional duty.
This was the week that was challenging, interesting, emotional. Sorting it out and thinking it through is Common Sense Civics and Citizenship.