For Santa Fe High School…and all the others we’ve failed since Columbine

As a parent of teenagers, my heart breaks at these high school shootings and the texts exchanged between parents and children during them. In a way, this is found poetry, based on actual text messages, though I changed the wording so it could be between one parent and child. Please, please, when November comes, think about how long it will be before you are the one who receives that first text followed by the next desperate If-I-die one.
A Last Tenuous Connection
By Michelle Garren Flye
Someone shooting in the school.
I love you.
I’m coming.
Don’t. We’re on lockdown. You might get hurt.
My teacher is dead.
OMG. Stay quiet. Stay safe. On my way.
If I don’t make it, I love you and thank you for everything.
Don’t talk like that.
I’m so scared.
I know you are. I’m almost there.
No matter what I love you.
I love you too.
I’m here. Where are you?

Today is another test for civil disobedience

pexels-photo-905191.jpegToday, all over the country at 10 a.m., school children will exercise one of America’s most fundamental rights. In an act of (hopefully) ringing civil disobedience, they will walk out of their classrooms for seventeen minutes in protest of the lack of government action on sensible gun control. In the wake of the Parkland shooting and our national government’s subsequent groveling at the feet of the NRA, students across the nation will seek to make themselves and their opinions heard through this act.

Good for them.

Today of all days I think it is important to remember that civil disobedience has shaped our country in some wonderful ways.

  • Without civil disobedience, women would not have the right to vote.
  • Without civil disobedience, African Americans would still be enslaved.
  • Without civil disobedience, we’d all be paying taxes to Great Britain.

And yet, this week alone, I have seen some horrible reminders that civil disobedience can (and usually is) forced to become militant.

Consider the case of the two Seattle Seahawks football players going to practice who were followed by a woman who screamed at them that they better not kneel during the national anthem because her tax money paid for them to play football. I won’t even address the tax money fallacy or even that she was screaming obscenities at two men who aren’t actually known for kneeling during the national anthem. My problem with this is that they have every right to kneel during the national anthem if they want to and feel the need. Hell, the way things are in our country right now, I have a hard time keeping my knees from buckling during the pledge of allegiance and national anthem rituals I once embraced wholeheartedly.

But worse than that were the comments I read on a local news story about how school systems in our county are dealing with the school walkout. Two school systems issued statements promising to support the students in peaceful protests and to provide safe spaces for them to do so. Comments on the online story ranged from supportive to a some really ugly sentiments like the students were making themselves targets by walking out of the school and one from a parent who said no kid of hers better take part in such a display.

Are today’s young people willing to make their peaceful cause a militant one? Women were imprisoned and beaten for demanding their right to vote—and they kept marching and demanding. In the 1960s, some—not all—African Americans fought back against similar treatment when their peaceful sit-ins and marches were threatened. The Black Panthers were a frightening and militant group who were ready and willing to kill for their cause.

And, possibly the most poignant history lesson of all to every American citizen out there, when throwing tea into the Boston Harbor in protest of British taxes didn’t have the desired effect on the British government, war was the result.

So listen to your children. They aren’t tomorrow’s voices anymore. They are today’s, and you ignore those voices at your own peril.

Why I am writing about politics

It’s not a decision I made lightly. Friends and colleagues both warned me not to jump into the political arena this year. “You’ll alienate your reader base,” they said. “You’re a romance author. You’ll sound like you’re trying to be an expert at something you’re not trained in.”

What did I do? I ignored them. And there’s a very simple reason why. This year isn’t about politics at all. Politics are about policies, and there must always be some give and take about policies. This year is different. This year is about defending our country’s values, principles and freedoms. They are in danger, and Donald Trump is the threat.

I started my crusade on Facebook at the beginning of the year, trying to encourage friends and family to truly look at what Donald Trump had said and done since launching his presidential campaign. His off-the-cuff remarks about Mexicans being rapists and drug dealers, his horrible comments about women, his passion for waterboarding and other forms of torture, and the worst of all, to me at least, his advocating for killing the families of terrorists. And let’s not forget his promises to limit both freedom of the press and freedom of religion. Any of the other Republican candidates would have been better for our nation. But they didn’t become the presidential nominee. Trump did. And so I vowed to keep posting until Donald Trump was no longer a threat to my country.

Well, he’s still out there. And I’m still writing my articles for whatever they’re worth. And that’s part of why this blog has been so neglected. I’ve only let my politics sneak on here once or twice before. But with the election less than a month away, I’ve made a decision. I hope it’s not a dumb one.

I hope it doesn’t make you hate me or decide not to read my books. If it does, that’s my loss.

In an attempt to reach more voters, I’ll be posting on here now. You’ll see what I believe in right up front. There’s nothing romantic about politics, but there is passion. Passion for preserving our country’s founding principles. There is love. Love for our country and our fellow man. There is desire. Desire to make our country a better place for everyone.

And that’s why, for the next month, I’m dedicating this blog to anyone who believes that we must defeat Donald J. Trump in the 2016 Presidential Election. I’ll post my #StopTrump articles here and then to Facebook. If any of my other talented, like-minded fellow writers wishes to join me, I will welcome them.

Ten reasons to vote today–out of the horse’s mouth, so to speak

1. If you fear making anyone mad, then you ultimately probe for the lowest common denominator of human achievement. — Jimmy Carter

2. I hate to see complacency prevail in our lives when it’s so directly contrary to the teachings of Christ. — Jimmy Carter

3. We become not a melting pot but a beautiful mosaic. Different people, different beliefs, different yearnings, different hopes, different dreams. — Jimmy Carter

4. Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future. — John F. Kennedy

5. Change is the law of life and those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future. — John F. Kennedy

6. The time is near at hand which must determine whether Americans are to be free men or slaves. — George Washington

7. Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves, and the only way they can do this is by not voting. — Franklin D. Roosevelt

8. Americans…still believe in an America where anything is possible. They just don’t think their leaders do. — Barack Obama

9. Leadership is about taking responsibility, not making excuses. — Mitt Romney

And finally:

10. Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. — Theodore Roosevelt

That last one really says it all, doesn’t it? Source for all quotes is BrainyQuote.com.