A Teachable Moment

Former local teacher union pesident Morty Rosenfeld periodically attempts to make sense of the increasingly senseless world of public education.

Voting Republican

I can’t stop thinking about two stories on the front page of today’s New York Times. The first talks about the Trump administration attempting to kill the Obama administration’s clean energy standards – standards that were designed to move the United States away from fossil fuels and towards a world effort to curtail the man-made causes of climate change. In a speech in Kentucky the other day, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Scott Pruitt announced that the war on coal is over. The other article concerns China’s clear determination to be a leader in clean energy technologies, particularly in the manufacture of electric cars.

Where Republicans were once leaders in the protection of the environment, we now have a party owned and operated by the most rapacious business leaderships. It was Richard Nixon, after all, who created the EPA by executive order in 1970. There was a bi-partisan consensus then that our environment was threatened by the excesses of a capitalist economy which had put profit ahead of the purity of our air and water and the health of our citizens. Today the Vice-President of the United States is a creationist, the President a climate change denier their party committed to an energy policy that runs the very significant risk of severely reducing the economic clout of the United States in the not too distant future.

Most American don’t want this to happen, but they nevertheless continue to support Republicans for elected office at all levels of government, and in so doing support policies inimical to their welfare and their children’s future. Somehow we must convince reflexive Republicans that when they vote Republican at any level, they are supporting the degradation of the environment, the suppression of voting rights, the war on reproductive freedom, healthcare only as good as one can afford, the unfettered ownership of guns, the privatization of public schools, religion over science, white supremacy over democratic diversity and an America isolated from most of the democratic world.

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DACA Protest

Judi and I were pleased to march in Hicksville on Saturday with some five hundred others to protest the decision by the Trump administration to end the DACA program, the executive order by President Obama that provided a mechanism for children brought to this country illegally by their parents to live, go to school and work in our country. It was heartening to see so many people willing to give up a precious Saturday morning to express their outrage at the anti-immigrant policies of the current administration.

Hicksville is a very appropriate place to have held this march. Increasingly, it is an immigrant community. As we marched from the Hicksville Long Island Railroad station to the Governor’s office on Old Country Road, immigrants working in various shops and buildings along the route came out to applaud us, obviously moved by the support of the marchers for the cause of justice for immigrants. Their response reminded me of just how unwelcoming our country must seem to all immigrants these days.

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