College Debt–An American Tragedy

More than a trillion dollars in debt hangs around the necks of our young people in this country. How sad, we proclaim and go about our business. It’s too bad, we say, and allow our colleges and universities to continue their self-serving practices of allowing students to borrow and borrow until the sum of the debt seems to be meaningless. They borrow more. These institutions continue to offer majors that offer no career paths for those who carry the yolk of the debt. They will be saddled with debt that has no end when a job after college pays a minimum wage.

These young people cannot buy a car, a house, or take the vacations they dreamed about taking when they finished college. They often cannot even afford their own place to live. We have heard much about them living with their parents. These young Americans went to our vaunted colleges and universities with great hope and expectation. This journey was a big part of their American dream. A college education was just a part of their itinerary. This piece of their life was on the main highway to reaching their dream. Instead, for many, it has become a seemingly permanent detour.

But that is not the worst. Now we are being told that young people are selling their bodies to help pay their college debts. If this is true, it is a tragedy. How can we look in mirror?

Yes, the students should take more responsibility. But for those of us who have spent a lot of time at a college or university, we know the environment is very enticing, particularly if you can borrow money so easily to stay there. Because so many have grown up in the entitlement culture, it is easy for them to feel okay with borrowing the money. They feel someone else will pay my college debt.

 

The Discrimination of Privilege

Every day there’s a new scandal. The news is so scintillating because it is about sex. Now sexual harassment is on the front edge of texts and tongues. It is horrendous. It is evil. It is prevalent and it certainly is not new. Much of it is new to our ears now. But it has been going on in large and small circles. It is dominant in the news now, and we ask ourselves the question: Why didn’t these women come forward before?

I believe the answer is a simple one: Privilege possesses power. The price to expose power and privilege is  often a price too high to pay. For many who have worked years, sometimes their lifetime, to acquire jobs, achieve positions of prominence, or perhaps have achieved their dreams or goals, to stand alone against power and privilege may seem futile. How does a young woman rebuff the advances of the most powerful in their industry or institution? How does a career woman rebuff a Senator or President? Name any uneven relationship relative to power and privilege and the price of exposure of harassment and sexual abuse is often turned on the abused. When women see what has happened to other women who have said “no, they are reluctant to enter that dominion.

When you witness discrimination without privilege and secrecy it is heartbreaking. When you have been witness to blatant gender discrimination and you have experienced it yourself, it is much easier to understand what the addition of privilege and power add to the situation.

Power and privilege are like a secret club; they have their own protectors and protection.

Mexican Flags in Costa Mesa

If you were watching a political demonstration where many of the participants were waving Mexican flags, where would you think you were? If you saw the Presidential Candidate slated to speak at the meeting walking across a field and climbing barriers to get to the event because the front door was unsafe to approach, where would you think you were?

I would think that I was in some foreign country where the people were protesting for the right to speak, for the right to assemble, and the right to have a say in the election of their leader. In some of my travels, I have found myself in some scary situations involving protests. The flags that they were waving were their own, their national symbol.

Last night, April 28, 2016, in Costa Mesa, California, the flags that were in the hands of the Americans protesting  were Mexican Flags. Or perhaps some of the protesters were not legally Americans; nevertheless, they stood on American soil, obviously enjoying the “right to wave those flags. Or were they just the tools of those who would transform America to a nation devoid of its founding freedoms to a nation where a few would rule the dependent puppets of the State. In that America of little freedom, if any, those who waved the Mexican flags last night would have been whisked away, perhaps never to be heard from again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Freedom Requires Vigilance, Courage, and Action–Lessons from Pioneer Ladies

         Watching the political happenings lately, I was drawn back to some very courageous pioneer ladies who lived in Yoncalla, Oregon.

          In 1920, the gentlemen of Yoncalla had a “gentlemen’s agreement” tnat the incumbents would not hold an election for any of the town offices. They would just skip the formality of an election.

         The women of the town decided, “No, No.” They took matters into their own hands and produced a an all-female slate for all the city offices. The slate included Jennie Lasswell who was the wife of the mayor. Can you imagine the conversations at the breakfast table and other places in the Lasswell household when the mayor became aware of the election?

         It seems that enough folks in the town agreed with the ladies. The entire slate was elected. Mary Goodall Burt became the town’s first female mayor. Mary was a PacificUniversity graduate and a former teacher. Teachers played a prominent part. Council members were: Jennie Lasswell, also a former teacher; Bernice Wilson, a teacher; Nettie Hanan, a community activist; and Edith Thompson, active in women’s organizations and community work.

         I wanted to name them for you because so many pioneer women remain nameless in the history books. I’m hoping someone who reads this  will carry a name or know someone who might know the area or a name. These ladies stepped forward just a year before I was born. And it was a big step. But they knew it was not right not to have an election. They were living in the struggle for equal right and the difficult movement to gain the vote. This was just not a Yoncalla Affair. These wonderful women were ordinary women living a pioneer life in Eastern Oregon who stepped up to do what was right. .

         I am grateful that the baby girl born in New Albin, Iowa a year after this successful campaign is able to tell the story. It is one of the wonderful stories of pioneer women of the Northwest that I honor in “Pioneer Women of the Northwest.” 

         When I think of these women, I don’t dare say or think that I cannot make a difference. I am one, but I am one who has had \the opportunity to follow incredibly brave, courageous, and strong women. I hope that I have helped to clear some brambles from the path of those following me. It is still a journey that requires courage. But I am determined to do what I can to make it better for my granddaughters and my grandsons. Freedom alwasys has and always will require vigilance, courage, and action.

George Washington–Lest We Forget His Real Birthday

 

George Washington was born in Westmoreland County, Virginia, February 22, 1732. He was the eldest son of Augustine Washington and his second wife, Mary Ball Washington. They were among the prosperous gentry in Virginia. George spent his early years on the estate on Pope’s \Creek along the Potomac River. His father died when he was eleven years old, and soon thereafter he went to live with his older brother, Lawrence at Mount Vernon.

 Not much is known about his early years or his early education, but he was probably schooled at home as was the case with many of the gentry. The typical subjects were mathematics, reading, the classics, rules of civility, and practical subjects like surveying.  His mother taught him the Bible and how to pray. She taught him from the Anglican book of prayer. She also taught him from other godly books. One of the books, titled Contemplations: Moral and Divine by Sir Matthew Hale, was kept by him his entire life. When it was found in Mount Vernon after his death, it had extensive underlining. He used it all of his life. Because of his training, he became a man of great faith in the Divine.

 Revisionists may even admit that Washington was virtuous, a man of high character, perhaps even religious, but quickly say he was not a Christian, but a deist. They must eliminate evidence to the contrary and distort and lie to disparage this great man.  In 1891, a collection of his personal possessions was sold at auction. Among them was a small manuscript book containing 24 pages of prayers written by Washington when he was young, perhaps 20 years old. They are witness to the depth of his faith and his religious beliefs. In one of the prayers he states:

 O most glorious God and Jesus Christ, I acknowledge and confess my faults in the weak and imperfect performance of the duties of this day. I called on Thee for pardon and forgiveness of sins, but so coldly and carelessly that my prayers are come my sin and stand in need of pardon. I have heard Thy holy word, but with such deadness of spirit that I have been an unprofitable hearer…Let me live according to those holy rules which Thou hast this day prescribed in Thy holy word…Direct me to the true object, Jesus Christ, the way, the truth and life. Bless, O Lord, all the people of this land.    

   George Washington is often called a Deist, one who believes in a god who got it all started and then stepped back from the creation, but there are many anecdotes and happenings that show his great faith.

One such instance is his resignation address before the Continental Congress at the end of the war.

 Happy in the confirmation of our independence and sovereignty, and pleased with the opportunity afforded the United Stats of becoming a respectable nation, I resign, with satisfaction, the appointment I accepted with diffidence; a diffidence in my abilities to accomplish so arduous a task, which, however, was superseded by a confidence in the rectitude of our cause, the support of the Supreme Power of the Union, and the patronage of Heaven.

 The successful termination of the war has verified the most sanguine expectation, and my gratitude for the interposition of Providence, and the assistance I have received from my countrymen increases with every review of the momentous contest.

 The Continental Congress stood and shouted, “Long live General George Washington! First in War! First in Peace! And First in the hearts of his countrymen!”                                                         

 

 

George Washington–Lest We Forget Who He Was

From the time that his mother sent him off to war and commended him to the providence of God and reminded him to private prayer, Washington continued to give testimony to his belief in the providence of God. He became a legend, as a warrior, even to the Indians; it seemed impossible to kill him. He believed that he “was protected beyond all human probability and expectation, for I had four bullets through my coat and two horses shot under me, yet escaped unhurt, although death was leveling my companions on  every side of me.”                           .

There is too much in Washington’s own pen and those who were close to him, for the revisionists version of him to have any credence. He prayed regularly. Each night at nine o’clock he would go to his library to pray; people who had to seek answers in case of an emergency would find him on his knees praying in front of his open Bible. He did the same thing early in the morning. Washington also kept the Sabbath; he attended church, he did only those things that were absolutely necessary. He was a pious man

 Washington even conducted worship services for his troops when there was no chaplain assigned. During the French and Indian War when he was in charge of the troops defending the country, he led the troops in religious services. He was a man of such honor, he conducted a burial service for General Braddock who died in the French and Indian War. Washington was just a Colonel, but he carried a small Anglican book of worship and prayer. Washington would retire to his tent each night for prayers, or go into the woods if he couldn’t get away from people.

 Washington believed in Divine Providence. When Washington became commander in chief of the American forces in the Revolutionary War, an order to the troops confirmed his belief.

 The General most earnestly requires and expects  a due observance of those articles of war established for the government of the army, which forbid profane cursing, swearing, and drunkenness. And in like manner he requires and expects of all officers and soldiers, not engaged in actual duty, a punctual attendance of Divine service, to implore the blessing of Heaven upon the means used for our safety and defense.

 This was a most remarkable man. He was a noble and pious gentleman. Assassination of character would seem impossible as you come to know this man. Perhaps it is because his life was lived in such a devout manner to religion and civility, that the efforts to destroy him are so brutal and untrue. He must become know again to our young, those in the middle who have learned the distortions, and a reminder must be given to those of us who are seniors lest we forget.

                          

 

 

Food Stamps–A Blessing or a Curse

          Could it be both?

          Like so many issues, we are not willing to sort out the issues to answer that question. Political views focus on the politics of the situation, rather than the problem.

          It is easy to see the blessing for those who are truly in need. We all can advocate for the mother who needs food for her children; we can empathize with those who have lost their jobs. We know people who experience temporary misfortune. There are those who are not able to make to the end of the month. There are folks who need help. But I think when we reach the level of one of every five families receiving food stamps, it is truly necessary to “find the problem.” We must ask what is happening in our America.

          We all have seen the frauds, those who are happy to take the government aid whether or not they need it. There are those who see others getting a food stamps so they want to get theirs. And then there are the politicians who profit politically from the subsidies and aid that they can secure. I worry most about the insidious nature of those who believe that the folks who become dependent and believe that it is their right to be given  “free” stuff; will create a permanent voting block and therefore, give them control.

          There are so many pieces to the puzzle, and the more who get food stamps, the bigger the puzzle becomes. We nibble at the edges to put the easiest pieces in place much like we start with a jig-saw puzzle.  The larger the puzzle, the more difficult it is to sort out the pieces, but we can find those pieces if we are willing to identify what fits together. We take identifying colors or shapes or hints of similarity and create a manageable situation.

          We can do the same with the food stamps puzzle. We surely must know that not one in five families should be receiving food stamps. We surely know when we make it easier and easier and easier to get food stamps, more people will do so.

           We have plenty of evidence that feeling comfortable with one lie, one fraud, makes the second easier. We know that the farther from the source of the money received, the less personal it is and the easier to accept; it’s that big government pot–that rainbow of government gold.

          So what do we do? ”Tune in tomorrow.”

 

Proud to Be a Veteran

 Every one is a veteran of something because you have done it for some time, but being a Veteran because  you have raised your right hand to serve your country, uphold its Constitution, and protect it from enemies from within and without, is quite a different matter. You are allowed to wear that uniform that sets you apart and requires much of you.

        Military service was not on my planned life’s journey itinerary. That is, until a young female naval officer came to talk to the girls in her former high school in Aberdeen, South Dakota. Those girls just happened to be in my physical education and biology classes. These kids were among those I taught in my first teaching job.

        I was a mere 21. She talked of the War, the Navy, the opportunity, but most of all the duty. It was early 1943; Pearl Harbor was still a raw subject. The War in the Pacific was horrific. The War in Europe was difficult. The young naval officer was not a recruiter; she was just a citizen turned patriot. She was going to do whatever she could to help those brave men aboard the ships, the planes, and the landing barges that carried the men to islands in the Pacific that became infamous and those that sometimes weren’t even named on the maps of the world.

        The Navy needed physical education instructors to work with the physical fitness of the WAVES, the women in the Navy, she said. I could do that; I could serve my country. After I enlisted, I was sent to Minneapolis, Minnesota, for my physical. During my interview, the officer suggested that I was too young to be an officer. In my youth, I became enraged and gave a lecture to her on the lack of relationship between age and maturity. She was not pleased, decided to rid herself of the upstart, and sent me to take the physical. Having been blessed with good health coupled with my attention to my fitness, the physical was a breeze.

I raised my right hand, repeated the words of the oath, and I was in the Navy. I thought that I would be able to finish out the school year, but that was not to be. I was called to my first duty base in May, 1943.

        Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, was like a foreign country to this small town girl from Iowa and the pheasant filled prairies of South Dakota. It is a beautiful and elite women’s college. The town was definitely a cultural adventure for me. We ate at the famous Inn in the city. I came to understand that the food was extraordinary. But then I only knew lobsters existed because I studied Biology in college. I came to relish the new things to explore. It did not take long to appreciate the fine cuisine at the Inn.

        I came also to understand the uniqueness of the women with whom I served. I was one of very few with just a bachelors degree; most had masters and doctorates. It was amazing to learn what people had left to raise their right hand. So many left very prestigious positions. It truly was an interesting, diverse mix of women who had accomplished much in their civilian lives; I did not truly understand how much until after the War when I came to understand fully the glass ceiling.

        As the training came to a close, we all eagerly awaited our “orders.” Mine took me to the Naval Air Technical Training Center at Millington, Tennessee, not far from Memphis. It was a huge base with a Naval Air Station across the street and a Naval Hospital just down the street. The military during the War was a great melting pot and equalizer. The uniform of the United States Navy or Marine Corps was the same for celebrity, teacher, farmer, business executive, movie star, football coaches and football stars, famous chefs and photographers, holders of gold medals, the college grad, or the kid who dropped out of school. Insignia told you what they were doing, but most certainly not where they were from. But we all took the same oath.

Yes, I am proud to be a veteran. I have been able to speak of my pride when folks express surprise that I was in the Navy. Some seem to think that women in the armed services were quite different from those that I knew. My children know that I am proud; I know they are, too. My grandchildren know that I am proud; I know they are, too. My friends know, my colleagues know, and any shipmates I meet certainly know. The sports guy who wants to stop playing the national anthem at sports events will never know or understand my pride. Too bad. His loss.

       America, feel my pride.   I am just one among so many. But I am ONE. As long as I have voice and pen, I will tell you about my  pride.  Do not ignore those who would silence the pride of those who know it. And above all, preserve the voice of those who served and paid the price of the silent voice. They rest with pride; we must be their voice, too.

 

Anerica First–Status of Our Ship of State

 America First  was published in 1916 by the American Book Company. It was written by Jasper L. McBrien, who at the time of the writing was School Extension Specialist for the United States Bureau of Education, and a former Superintendent of Public Instruction of Nebraska.

McBrien writes in the Foreward:

The rising generation, both native-born and foreign, to get the full meaning of this slogan (America First) in its far-reaching significance, must have time for study and reflection along patriotic lines. There must be the right material on which the American youth may settle their thoughts for a definite end in patriotism if our country is to have a new birth of freedom and if ‘this government of the people, by the people, and for the people is not to perish from the earth.’ The prime and vital service of amalgamating into one homogenous body the children alike of those ho are born here and of those who come here from so many different lands must be rendered this Republic by the school teachers of America.  

Brien continues: The purpose of this book is to furnish the teachers and pupils of our country, material with which the idea of true Americanism may be developed until ‘America First’ shall become the slogan of every man, woman, and child in the United States.

 I cannot say it better.

I have lived most of the years since this book was published. I have lived the changes. I believe that we need a large dose of patriotism now more than ever before. In my 92 years, I have seen our ship of state on so many different courses. Sometimes we seem rudderless; this always seems so tragic when we have been given by our Founders the greatest set of maps, our founding documents, ever devised for any people with which to keep a ship of state on course. They were carefully designed to make certain that the government was of the people, by the people, and for the people.

I fear the shoals, the rocks, the reefs, and horrific storms ahead. The folks in Washington, D.C. the past few weeks have managed to keep the ship afloat for a short period of time, but the ship of state has taken on much water and I believe is listing badly. And the captain of the ship was missing from the helm. This morning, October 17, 2013, he broadcast a message to the passengers of the ship. Mr. President, if you would do what you asked the passengers and the crew to do, our ship would be whole again. Please listen to what you so aptly preached this morning. However, your words during the past weeks,”I will not negotiate,” are words that will certainly land our ship on more rocks. And as our ship takes on the water of partisanship, derision, hate, and acute political nastiness, our nation, this incredible experiment in government, will no longer be the shining city on a hill. We will no longer be the America that has been free, a nation composed of Republicans, Democrats, Independents, and others, who were first Americans. We will be searching for the light of freedom. We will no longer be the America that was first in science, technology, invention, compassion, aid to others, opportunity, freedom of choice, individual responsibility, freedom of religion, speech, and assembly.

America needs to be first, not in pride, but in humility and gratefulness. O captain, o captain! Where are you steering my beloved ship?

Religious Freedom and Our Schools

One of the more amazing things that I have come to examine more and more is how cleverly the transformers have used “religious freedom,” one of the great tenets on which our Founders based everything. Diabolically, they have taken this great foundation of tolerance for all religions and turned it on its back. They used our deep desire for tolerance of religion to preach to us about tolerance in all areas. While they are extracting tolerance from us, they are free to practice intolerance. If we show the least bit of resistance, they know how to make most of us feel guilty. They have most certainly used all areas of our society when and how ever they could.

They have flooded our schools with multiculturalism. They have used our national instincts for tolerance to promote their agenda. While they have been removing more and more Christian ideas and ideals from our books, they have been putting more and more about other religions in our school books. While they are teaching our kids more and more about tolerating other religion, they have been distorting the historical facts about the religious content of our beginnings.

Universities, where I have spent much of my career, are the worst offenders. To find a conservative professor is quite a task. I have taught my classes during student strikes; I was told by my peers that I must not do that. Opposing the strike was not a good political move. I insisted that I was only conforming with what they were striking for—freedom of speech and assembly. If the students who were striking had the right to not attend class, then the students who wanted to attend class must have the same right. Oddly, no one seemed to be able to dispute that logic.

Universities are populated with boatloads of Marxists. Many don’t outwardly admit to the name, but they teach and indoctrinate their students with those ideals. Most young people who attend the liberal colleges, most are, come home after a short time to discuss with their parents if conservative, how wrong they are. “You don’t understand. Your way of thinking is old fashioned. There are more modern ways of thinking about our political system and our economy.”

The change in many, including my own, occurs when they get their first pay check and discover how little “they have left” after all the deductions are made. “Mom, this is not fair.” It’s a natural place to take them back to what you taught them in the first place. They find an eternal truth. Old doesn’t mean bad or outdated. So it is with our Founding Documents, our founding ideals, and our God given rights. They are no more out of style than the Bible is for a Christian. .

Churches have been used extensively to fight the battles of the transformers. The strange part of this is that one would expect most religions to want to keep Christ in Christmas, would want to keep our Christian beginnings in the textbooks and in our teaching, and our God given rights ever before our student’s eyes as God given rather than government given. I suspect that sometimes our church people are the most vulnerable to the tolerance pleas and the subsequent guilt that follows if they don’t succumb.

Our School Boards that succumb to the distortion of the holidays, who don’t follow what’s in their textbooks or what is being taught in their classrooms, are also at fault. It is difficult at that level to know. Often you are “protected” from knowing for the fear of “micromanagement.” Our young people are in school many hours a day during their formative years. The battle that Texas and other states fought and are fighting, belongs to all of us. The inclusions and exclusions in our textbooks are critical to our future. As McBrien said in America First many years ago, “There must be the right material on which the American youth may settle their thoughts for a definite end in patriotism if our country is to have a new birth of freedom and if “this government of the people, by the people, and for the people is not to perish from the earth.”  This is so true for this day.