I generally try to avoid politics here.

I feel, however, it is important to express important things.

And right now, I want to express my sorrow at the escalation of wars in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. I am distressed and concerned about the possibility for a very serious and wide-ranging involvement.

What can we do?

What follows is “more of the same” concerning my focus on citizen participation in government and education.

Teach our children to be kind.

Teach our children to do the right thing.

Teach our children to be responsible and pro-active.

Teach our children that violence is a last resort only, when actually physically threatened. Not ever as a way to avoid a future confrontation.

We can model responsible, respectful dialog with those who have contrary opinions. We can choose to be role models for each other as well as our children.

We can make thoughtful choices about our involvement in our own political processes.

Today there is a glut of information available. Most of us have complicated lives and cannot track all the issues that are out there. But most of us can track one or two that are personal. Pick one to be a focus and be active in participating in the discussions and decision-making.

Then:

Hold our elected officials accountable — corporations can contribute to campaigns, and corporations can buy advertising. Corporations can send lobbyists to have conferences.

But the people elect the officials, still. On those issues you feel most strongly about, exercise your rights.

We have the right to contact our representatives. We have the right to vote our consciences (if you are eligible, but not yet registered, please register — there is still time before the mid-term general elections). We have the right to petition the government for redress of grievances.

And vote. When the PEOPLE vote based on their consciences rather than on which campaign seemed more well-heeled, rather than on the loudest talk radio voices, then our system really does work.

Don’t ignore the local, smallest elections, either. Our nation is shaped by the local politics, which have a way of affecting national politics. Many of our national politicians began as little fish in local ponds… if we elect quality people there, then we will have quality people at the state and national levels as well.

Right now, I don’t know what to do. I have written to my favorite state elected official with my opinion, and beyond that…

I just don’t know.

I am working so hard to establish myself as a teacher, and that is consuming most of my energy this week. The rest of my energy (maybe 10% of my normal?) is divided between my family and our future home.

I also have a responsibility to my students and to future generations.

I do not ever want to say that there were important events afoot and I “did nothing.” I want to say that, to the best of my knowledge and ability I did what I could.

And so, this blog post.

I believe that the best way to ensure a good life for everyone is to teach our children to value honesty, have pride in work well done, and to seek to help those around them. It leads to more cohesive communities and supports a greater sense of stability.

I believe that the demos in democracy is important. I have a confidence that when the people seek out information and have respectful debates that (most of the time) the better path is chosen when a point of conflict emerges.

I believe that the republican (which means representative) form of government provides a more nimble response than the consensus or compromise of the entire populace can. However, see above: the people are responsible for communicating with and holding their representatives accountable.

Participate.

In whatever way you can, do what is best.

Follow your heart.

Be honest, be kind.

For the events in the wider world?

I don’t have answers. Just a lot of questions. Fears. And hopes.

Our world is beautiful. People are more similar world-wide than they are different. I believe it is possible to live in peace without allowing tyrants to take advantage of good-hearted people.

I just don’t know what I can do, as a teacher and a parent, to turn the world back from the brink I fear it teeters on.