Monday, January 20, 2014

January 20, MLK Day

A good day to remember how important it is to make sure everyone gets equal rights, equal opportunity, and equal chances.

Is that realistic? No, and the longer I live, the more I see that level playing fields aren't a reality. We can each do our best to make sure that we are not part of any system that perpetuates oppression, that students and any other people in our charge not only get a fair shake, but get encouragement and see what's possible. But we can't make sure that anyone gets a level playing field.

I had so much fun two Wednesdays ago (January 8) in Marshall, MN at the Southwest Cooperative Young Writers' Conference. Students were eager and engaged. Freya and I had fun meeting students and spending the day talking about writing.

Then I wonder...how many of those eager young writers will publish the books they want to? Will working long hours, piles of other responsibilities, the need to keep bread on the table, keep them from realizing their dreams? Maybe, but some will reach their dreams, and having a dream is as important than being successful in many, many ways.

I'm a big Downton Abbey fan. I don't watch live TV much at all, but I've caught up to season four on Netflix and Amazon Prime. It reminds me of the sharp divide of class. We pride ourselves that in the U.S., such classism doesn't exist, but that's a lie. If we think we have no such class divides in the U.S., we are living with our heads in the sand.

Look at what money can do without regard for its effects: Fracking destroys property, health, animals, and long-standing family ranches or farms because big oil and gas companies have the money to do so.  Frac-Sand mining is doing the same thing in Minnesota and Wisconsin because Fracking is such a big industry that the silica sand miners can get what they want, take the property or make it worthless, mine the silica, sell it for billions, no matter how many people the company tromps all over in order to do so.

Lime Township has been up in arms for most of two years, battling the new Jordan Sands processing plant and mines. What's happened? The entire township full of citizens can't stop the power of a big wealthy company with the potential to make billions more.

Class? Money? Yeah, my friends, I'm afriad it's everywhere.
This could be very depressing, and if we let it, it is. However, the fact remains that we have to each do everything we can, to chase our dreams and to make the world as just and safe as possible. To fight injustice and the greedy destruction of our planet however we can.

If we don't, then we are living with our heads in the sand.
 
 

2 comments:

Berthold Bratigan said...

Hey there Becky--

I've also recently gotten addicted to Downton. Caught up on the first three seasons and now following the 4th. Are you familiar with a NYT columnist named Maureen Dowd? If not, I think you'd enjoy her tremendously. Here's an interesting column she wrote a while ago on Downton:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/08/opinion/dowd-beautifying-abbey-road.html?ref=maureendowd&_r=0

Besides the fact that her heart's in the right place, I love her writing style - razor sharp wit with exquisite sarcasm.

I hope all's well back there is sub-zero land.

Best regards, Mike G (Bertold is a Google pseudonym; haven't started any blog yet.)

Rebecca (Becky) Fjelland Davis said...

Thanks, Mike (Berthold)!

I love Maureen Dowd. I will go read her column on Downton! Thanks for the comment!