Archive for December 17, 2011
Patriots, dump the tea!!
A Henry County, Iowa Democratic tea party on the anniversary of the Boston Tea Party, December 16th. Check out the website for the Henry County Dems here.
Carol and I have been involved with a group called Dream Catchers in West Liberty for quite a while now. One of our early mentees is now in high school. High schoolers are quite busy folks these days and getting a chance to speak with him often involves going to see a performance or a game.
So Thursday evening we went to see him at the first ever “Improv” show at West Liberty. We had no idea what to expect. In talking with our mentee all we knew was that he was really enjoying working with the Improv group. We had no idea who, how many or what kind of stuff they were doing.
The Improv group is led by Math Teacher Slade Hovick. I was surprised to see there were only 6 members. Apparently there are 10 members but others had prior commitments. The 6 who performed pulled it off quite well.
As the title “Improv” implies the whole show was improvised on the spot. This, of course, caused some consternation as to what the actors may do or say. However, fears were not realized and the whole evening was fun and at times hilarious. For 90 minutes the audience, which was mostly classmates, was kept in anticipation and laughter as the actors moved quite fluidly from scene to scene.
Throughout the night the audience supplied such basic necessities for a scene such as place, subject, profession of the characters or theme of the story. So there was no way for the actors to have prepared anything. A quick mind and keen sense of humor were all the actors had to work with.
Some of the scenes were such things as Slideshow,” “one word story,” “changing emotions” and many others. If you watched the old Drew Carey Show “Whose Line Is It, Anyway?” you have a good idea of what went on.
There were a couple of times where the audience was roaring and one place where even the actors totally broke up (where the gorilla speaks and says “Meow”).
We are hopeful that this program will continue. We also hope that our mentee continues with the program. He has a bit of a flare for this type of thing. It is good to see that despite cutbacks and other challenges, programs like this can be offered. And a huge hat tip to Mr. Hovick. As if teaching math weren’t enough of a challenge. But to see him nearly roll on the floor in laughter, I think he is getting something out leading this group. I hope he will be able to keep it up.
Your Grandmother and I have lived many years. Your life is just beginning. As I look ahead for you, I hope fervently that America and mankind as a whole ends the greed and the unsubstantiated hate that once again takes us to the brink of destruction.
We have lived through a time that was in the beginning one of excitement for what the future could bring. We were part of that generation born after the end of the most destructive conflict ever. Horrors of hate were unleashed during that war that forced world leadership to confront finally how truly damaging it can be.
But unfortunately, when the generation dies out that suffered the scars of war, the memory of the true horror of war is hard to keep alive. Your great-Grandfather fought in that war. He would never speak of it. His medals lay in a drawer never to be seen until the day he died.
Yet out of that horror came the great push that finally would propel man to help his fellow man to a decent life despite poverty or background. Through education, healthcare reform, collective bargaining and political involvement, slowly even painfully barriers were slowly broken and America in particular could see a time when the good of the whole country, not just a few would predominate.
Sadly as we got generations from the great war, memories faded. The greed, the avarice, the hate had never left. It can never be conquered. The best we can ever hope is that through constant vigilance we can keep its destructive forces at bay. Sadly we let it escape and once again it is loose in the world creating the conditions where few are privileged and many are oppressed to some degree or another.
But my greatest hope is that this is the United States of America. Over its life, America has had many attempts at takeover by the rich. But it seems when things look darkest, the people, who actually run this country stand up and say “NO.” It looks as if we are at such a point now.
My hope is that we bequeath to you a country that once again reaches back to its egalitarian roots. A country where there is a basic living standard for all and that affords a decent life. A country where basic goods are held in common for all, not held in private and sold only to those who can afford such a commodity. A country where people no longer die from lack of health care, nor starvation, nor from being the wrong color.
All this is within our reach. We have more than enough resources to accomplish this. The question is, do we or will we ever have the political will to stand up and say “Enough!”? No more stupid, wasteful wars. No more turning commons over to private individual for only them to profit on, no more homeless people in a land of plenty, plenty, plenty.
This is what we want to ultimately give you. We don’t have it today. You see, we are working on it. Have been for quite a while. And it is not like building a swing set or a playhouse. It will never be done. But we will work and work and work hoping that at least you can use it one day.
But others will always be trying to stop our work and destroy what we have built. We won’t let them. We will work with our friends day in and day out to get things ready for you when you are old enough to take over.
Oh, and you will still get toys from us. Toys to spur the imagination. Because some day someone has to pilot that first trip to Mars. It may as well be you. There are diseases to conquer, it may as well be you that does it.
Let me leave you with some great words to always carry with you. Words that will always remind you that whatever you do you must keep seeking:
“Some men see things as they are and say why.
I dream things that never were and say why not.”
These words were from a great American named Robert Kennedy. I hope our memory of him never fades.