Archive for the ‘politics’ category

Casting a Vision for the Future…

September 4, 2008

I rarely discuss politics on this blog (or anything serious for that matter!) I have withheld my opinions about the presidential election, in part because I wanted to see how the nomination conventions would unfold. Also, because I do not want to be pigeon-holed and turn people away from reading.

But watching Governor Palin’s speech this evening sparked in me a response. I don’t know much about her except what I have been reading over the past couple of weeks. I was encouraged to see a woman placed on the ticket. I like the idea of their being compelling, thoughtful candidates from both parties.

Unfortunately, Governor Palin came across arrogant, smug, and bordering on desperation.
She didn’t spend time delivering the ideals of her party or running mate, but instead focused on McCain’s character versus Obama’s. I sat their wondering, “What do you bring to this election? …sell me!”

Her speech was a sarcastic attack on the celebrity and alleged lack of experience of Obama… coming from a self-proclaimed “PTA Hockey mom.” Needless to say, I felt that her speech lacked real substance.

I think many are distracted by the “rock-star” persona of Obama… I don’t think that’s why he is popular. Obama has a growing following because he eloquently paints a picture of a preferred future. He casts a vision… rather than trying to defend himself or his party. Can Obama deliver on that vision?  Well, that’s the million dollar question.

Republican candidates seem to spend so much energy on defending themselves and on spreading fear and negativity… younger generations are becoming impatient with this approach. The one exception I’ve noticed is Governor Mike Huckabee. His speech was articulate, respectful and compelling. His comments about the presidency being an office rather than just a symbol were intriguing.

But my question for the Republican party: how does growing big business and shrinking government help middle and low income families (the growing majority of Americans)?

I have the answer… it doesn’t. I experience the effects of this each day, and see it in the faces of the people in the community where I live. It is time for a change.


One Week’s Worth of Food Around Our Planet

December 28, 2007


Click here to look at what families from around the world eat in one week.

Each picture tells a story. The first thing I was struck by was the obvious contrast in volume between all of the other pictures and the last picture of the family from Chad. I also looked carefully at the amount of foods that were packaged as opposed to fresh and local.

All kinds of thoughts and questions are running through my mind from these images…

1. What might we learn about others by what they eat?
Food is a window into getting to know others – their customs, values and traditions. I would like to begin inviting others from my community who are racially and ethnically different than my family to involve us in some of their meal customs, so we can learn about their lives and build friendship.

2. What would my family’s week worth of food look like?
Would it reflect good stewardship or overabundance?
Would it show a commitment to health, wholeness and local economy?
How could we share what we have with people in our community?

3. What can we learn from those who have less?
How can we help families locally and globally who struggle to provide food for their family?
What groups can I contribute to that help those in need?

When you look at these photos, what do you notice?
Which of those families food would you most enjoy? Which would you not enjoy?
What thoughts and questions come to your mind?

I would love to hear your responses!!

(Hit to Jay)

Invisible Children: Mac@work Profile

October 29, 2007


Every night, thousands of children march into the cities of northern Uganda, seeking respite from relentless persecution. For more than 20 years, soldiers from the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) have nabbed children while they slept, like real world boogie men, and forced the kids into indentured slavery as brainwashed child soldiers. Peace talks between the LRA and the Ugandan government have begun, but the kidnappings still occur.

Motivated by the unseen war in Northern Uganda, Invisible Children was created by three young filmmakers with a singular mission:
To use the power of stories to change lives around the world.

Apple recently highlighted the efforts of Invisible Children, Inc. and their use of technology to make a difference in the world.

“If you’re going to change the world, you have to think outside the box,” says Jason Russell, one of founders. “You have to challenge the rules and laugh at the status quo. The Mac speaks to the creative spirit and the mind. It allows you to imagine what you want to do and allows you to accomplish it.”

Read the entire profile from Apple by clicking here.

Find out more about the movement of Invisible Children by clicking here.

Penn’s Kramerica…

September 10, 2007

Sometimes I see pictures and I cannot pass them up… When did Sean Penn turn into Kramer? Yo Yo Ma… he looks like he slept in a dumpster.

Yes, he is sitting at the feet of the President of Venezuala, Hugo Chavez, probably talking about the evil imperialist ways of the United States. Good South American food, fast cars and fast times… I wonder if Hugo will make Sean do his Jeff Spicoli voice, “That was my skull! I’m so wasted!”

Local Demographics

May 21, 2007


Our local paper, The Courier News, is publishing a week long report focused on demographics and test scores in education. Sunday’s paper gave a breakdown of elementary schools in Elgin and District U46.

My son is fast approaching two, but still years away from school. However, I am always interested in anything to do with our local community. My wife and I moved to Elgin in order to live in a more diverse context, so we (and our children) could have a broader perspective on life.The people moving out of the house we bought were doing so in part because of the growing number of Hispanic and low income families in our neighborhood. Yes… white flight. Yuk.

Well, the newest report confirms that our area is diverse! The report details that of elementary students who attend a few blocks from us (Highland School) 70.8% of qualify for free or reduced lunches. That means their combined family income is less that $34k annually. It also detailed that 68.2% of these students are non-native english speaking. That means we (I) better start learning spanish!

The Courier’s report focuses on how income levels and language barriers (especially spanish) are directly correlated with lower test scores. That seems like an obvious connection… but what are we doing about it? Are we working toward teaching students english? Maybe, but not hard enough.

We are hoping to help be a part of the solution in some way. I am a proponent that students should learn both english and spanish right away. One of the schools on the east side of Elgin is doing just that, and trying to mix classes with 50% of students whose native language is english. Pretty cool.

Dare I say it… could we offer testing in spanish and english? I wonder if this could be a helpful solution, at least for primary grades as they are still learning english. Then, I think we should also begin to test the all of the students in spanish when they get into middle and high school. Conservatives would have a fit over this, huh?

This whitey and his family are staying put, and trying to learn from those who are different in background, income status, color and language. I think the best attitude is to be humble and realize that those who are different from us have a lot to teach us.

“The kingdom belongs to the least of these…” –Jesus