Stand Or Not: It’s America

I’m a hardcore Patriots fan. New England for life. Football really is one of the few traditional sports that I can sit through and love every second of it. I don’t care about the things off the field, mostly. I mean, if I heard that a player I liked sexually assaulted women and beat their kids, I would stop being a fan of them and root for their demise in the league and legally. But aside from being creepy, douche-y, or otherwise a harm to society, I don’t care. You want to play football with a Trump sticker on your Patriots helmet? Fine, I don’t care just do your job and score touchdowns. You want to kneel during the National Anthem? Cool, make those blocks. I honestly don’t care what your political ideals are any more than I care about what an actor thinks.

I pointed this out on a friend’s Facebook, specifically stating that one’s political beliefs don’t impact me like that. A person’s response? “I’m not watching that crap.” I didn’t respond back. I don’t care if they’re not going to watch it. Them not watching the game has 0 impact on my life and how I feel about watching the game. Your beliefs have 0 impact on me as long as you aren’t trying to force me into believing in the same things. Then, I have a problem. Otherwise, I’m not going to argue with you about why you should watch. I honestly don’t care. It’s your right not to and it’s my right to watch. One should not have an impact on the other.

Another person pointed out how disrespectful it is that they are kneeling. I countered the point: “Jehovah’s Witnesses typically don’t stand for the Pledge of Allegiance or National Anthem, but no one seems to care. What’s the difference?” They didn’t think about it that way. So what is the difference? One difference is that Jehovah’s Witnesses believe their allegiance is to God’s Kingdom and not the country. The other difference is that the football players actually kneel or stand in solidarity rather than ignoring the anthem. So, I would argue isn’t it worse that Jehovah’s Witness don’t even acknowledge the importance of these symbolic words than kneeling in respect of them? The only reason it’s a problem is because politicians made it a problem. Also, religious freedom so I don’t care as long as they stop ringing my doorbell at 9 am on a Sunday morning.

That’s really the problem with everything. Everything needs to be politicized and you need to fall on one end of the spectrum or the other. They don’t believe in a gray area. They just follow whatever they are supposed to follow rather than just thinking about things rationally for a second. It took me 2 seconds when politicians started complaining to remember a friend of mine growing up who wouldn’t stand for the flag during the morning announcements because of their religion. I didn’t think anything of it because I grew up with this silly notion that, and I know it’s crazy, that their beliefs didn’t affect me. What’s the difference if it’s religious beliefs or a moral belief? Isn’t religion just a moral belief system? I don’t necessarily believe in religion or believe that you need religion to have morals, but aren’t morals just morals no matter the origin?

So stand or don’t stand. I don’t care. It’s your right as an American to follow your beliefs and as long as you’re not forcing others to have those same beliefs, then it doesn’t matter.

It’s Like Watching Something on Television

Who doesn’t enjoy watching shows that discuss political intrigue and unbelievable circumstances? We binge-watch television shows and movies all about these topics, discussing what would happen if this were the real world. We’d laugh; that would never happen.

…Except, isn’t it? What if we watched a television show where the president of a country that brags about freedoms, ends up deciding that they are going to be the president forever because they want to even if they are voted out? Because it isn’t possible that there are people who legitimately don’t want him as president anymore. Because people are tired of reading Onion article headlines and wondering if it’s actually real because the “reality” we live in just doesn’t seem quite real anymore.

I’ve been avoiding writing lately. I haven’t “felt” it. My heart isn’t in it because honestly my heart isn’t in much right now. The world around me hurts my brain and whatever soul I have left and I’m left here jaded because everything just feels so insane to me right now. My only thought is “Would everyone be so cavalier about what’s going on right now if the other party was doing it?” Because, I’m pissed at both sides of the arguments and I know for a fact that I would be pissed in either situation. If Schumer had said “Trump shouldn’t get his pick because we have 6 months left in the election” and then said “Early voting already started and Biden gets his pick”, I would be outraged. And I’m honestly enraged that people don’t seem to care about it except the Democrats, who are the party of righteous indignation. But are they outraged because they are right? Or are they outraged because everything outrages them right now?

Do I agree in the choice to let President Trump select a Supreme Court Justice when an election has already started despite not letting President Obama do the same several months out of the election? No. If you can’t do it in one situation, you shouldn’t do it in the other. When you are on camera and you reiterate this point, then back it up because it benefits you, it’s wrong. It isn’t about benefiting you politically; it should be about what’s right. If they had let President Obama get his pick out and then did it now, I wouldn’t necessarily like it but it wouldn’t be wrong. What’s wrong is potentially putting someone up who wants to make laws based on their religion, not the constitution. A Supreme Court Justice should uphold the constitution, not push a religious agenda.

I don’t want to talk about any of that. I don’t want to keep talking about how insane the world we live in right now is. I don’t want to remind people of how divisive the country is and how people either don’t realize or don’t care that they aren’t helping matters. I hate how in the past I could point out logical flaws in people’s posts without any problems or even with comments of “I never thought of it like that”, but now I refrain because people don’t care about what’s logical or reasonable. They don’t like the effort of free-thought. Everyone has to have an agenda. You are either with them or against them. It couldn’t be possible that I don’t like President Trump and not be a Democrat. It can’t be possible that I’m not that keen on Biden but am not a Republican. People seem to think that independent thinkers actually exist. We do and we’re pissed.

We live in a television show now. We live in a television show that has ruined actually watching these types of shows. Why should I finish watching “House of Cards” if I’m essentially living it? What happens if I wished “Designated Survivor” actually happened, but maybe without Ben Carson taking over as president? It doesn’t matter anyways. I’m getting close to just thinking that it just doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter what party is in office if you can’t fix the underlying problem: the States of America are not United. They are divided by race and religion and political ideals. They are divided by the principle of “whoever doesn’t agree with me is the enemy”. It doesn’t matter if they back up their opinion with rational thought; it’s not about facts or logic. It’s about right and wrong, even if the truth is somewhere in the middle.

It’s Another Day

It’s Tuesday, a day when I’m supposed to come up with some though-provoking topic to inspire something. Anything. But I’m less than inspired by the world around me. Today is one of those “dead inside” days, where I’m just going through the motions of… whatever it is this dumpster fire going on around us is. Today, it’s all random thoughts as they come to me. This is “Random Rantings” after all. Plus, the writing experts say to always write on a schedule, even if there’s nothing to write about. So, here we are.

I don’t sleep well, so last night I put on the DNC in hopes that it would put me out. It did. I’m not inspired by politics. I appreciate the argument that this election is for the soul of our country, but I’m afraid to point out to everyone that the soul has been long lost in favor of partisan divide and brainwashing that both sides have brought upon the masses. If there’s hope for our country’s soul to be saved, I hope to be alive to see it. Today, I’m more cynical than ever and I roll my eyes at those who in one meme point out this fact but in the next meme out some talking point for the political side that they so blindly follow. I think people my age are getting more news from memes than they are from the actual news. And no, that’s not a good thing. I did wake up a little bit afterwards, then just watched some infomercials.

I read the news, listening to our school committee say that the phased-in plan that they chose was the best option because it gave a choice. But, there’s no choice. There’s no real choice. It’s either your kids won’t get a proper education or they get sick/get others sick and add more statistics into this pandemic that’s supposed to be a hoax or something. And masks, am I right? Good thing my kids aren’t the first to go in. I’d be even more pissed about my decision if my kids were the sacrificial lambs here.

There was a dog running loose in my lawn yesterday, one that looked well-loved and just lost. I tried to help him. He didn’t want my help. It was interesting that I felt more compassion for that dog than most of my neighbors. Then they tossed trash on the sidewalk and I remembered why that was the case. I sighed, went back into the house and fed my dogs some treats.

We received our mail-in ballots yesterday. I look forward to not having to actually trek 2 miles to get to my polling area that doesn’t seem to ever have enough parking and have lines normally, without their being a pandemic. That’s why I normally do early voting. But, with pandemic closing down city hall essentially (but our kids are going to school… go figure) and the construction, going to city hall sucks these days too. Mail-in it is.

When I woke up this morning, I did hit my September weight loss goal already. That was exciting news. Hard work really does pay off sometimes. It’s a good thing I actually sincerely love salads and working out. It’s also a good thing that I found a diet that actually works for me and is sustainable. I hope this means I can be back into running shape soon. I do love some fall runs, with the foliage around me and the smell of people burning leaves. Fall is the best. Too bad people don’t understand things like “pandemics” and now I can’t enjoy the fun fall activities I love. Because like everything else, people ruin everything. Making homemade pizza for supper may make me feel better about everything.

That about sums up the random thoughts in my brain today. Hopefully Thursday can bring something more inspiring. I’m just really tired of screaming about local politics and other annoyances that we can’t escape in our real life.

And… They’re Going… Maybe… Sorta

Finally, the school committee voted, on a new plan that was just proposed and wasn’t even discussed last week. One person abstained. Seriously, why be on the school council if you can’t own up to making a vote on such a hard choice. If you think it’s hard and messy right now, imagine being one of the parents who have to make some very difficult decisions right now. Yes, it’s a mess, but votes matter to constituents.

The new plan is a modified phased in approach, where the vocational students, vulnerable students, and those with IEPs/special needs attend school on the first day. Then 3 weeks later, they phase the next group of kids. Then the keep phasing kids in every 3 weeks until finally all the kids can be in school together. All of the kids in the schools together, while there’s a pandemic going on, right in time for flu season to hit. Then we get to play the fun game of “Is it COVID or Is It the Flu?” I do love a good mystery game…

What do I like? I could send my youngest, who receives services, to school and know that there won’t be as many kids. Maybe even less than 20 in the entire school, and it would be less risky for him and myself. Since he doesn’t really see his grandparents, because of you know… a pandemic, it’s only me that I have to worry about dying. Also, that means I get rid of my kid finally after having him 24/7 for what feels like a century. If you knew my precious little Loki, you’d get it.

There, I mentioned everything I like about the plan. One of the arguments is sending the kids for their social and emotional development. So my kid, being in a room potentially alone with a single teacher (because apparently the fine details aren’t important or something), isn’t getting that development from interacting with peers. Because he’ll have no peers. If they do intermix classrooms, how would that work of they separate the kids? How do you argue that they need to form a relationship with the teachers if that may not even be their teacher when full face to face opens?

Then, there are the high schoolers. They didn’t even have a plan out for the seniors returning to school. Are they just not returning? When they do return, what does the cohort system look like for them? Does my son still get AP classes? Will he have to suffer in classes he didn’t want rather than those he was really excited about, like his forensic case studies class? How are they going to ensure that the buses aren’t overloaded? Is the attendance policy voided for the year due to the circumstances, or are we going to have to pay hundreds of dollars in medical bills (if we’re lucky) every time our kid has a cough so they can be cleared for school?

As parents, I think we deserve more than “We’ll cross that bridge when we get there”. I definitely think that we deserve more than what we’ve seen on this school council to the point that I think we need to really reconsider the people who serve us. I think that if I had the funds, popularity, or even anything that I think would be a good quality in a school council member, I would run because I think I would do better. I think that you shouldn’t be able to abstain because you’re angry or because you’re too scared to vote either way. I think you should push for exact details before voting on a plan. If not to make an informed decision, to at least get details so the people your plans actually impact can know what to expect or what to do next. I think that you shouldn’t be as confused, or more confused, than your constituents who are watching the meeting. And I especially don’t think that you should make things even more confusing for us.

I understand the importance of being in school for kids. I understand being a working parent who doesn’t particularly like the idea of remote learning, because working from home while being a teacher is hard. Yes, I’m fortunate I do work from home and can accommodate the remote plan while others can’t. But I also can’t say I have any faith at all that my children will be safe going back to school, especially since I have more questions than answers. And honestly, the fact that so many people don’t actually know what the decision was even after watching that meeting shows just how awful the whole situation is. If we didn’t understand what’s going on, it’s the fault of those people in charge.

So what’s my plan? I guess I’ll find out when they can tell me what their plan is because I have no idea what’s going on. Or hope that the Governor scraps it and calls it a day because some school districts can’t get their stuff together.

An Impossible Position for Parents

Exactly a week ago, I wrote about the impossible position our schools are in. How no matter what their decision will be, there will be a lot of people pissed at them. Now, it’s time to talk about the impossible position we as parents are in right now.

As parents, it’s our number 1 priority to ensure the safety of our kids. We are responsible for making hard decisions every day about what’s best for them. We plan out where to live to make sure they are in the best schools we can provide them. We carefully pick out a pediatrician so that they get the best care we can provide them. We make every decision to do what we think is best for our kids. The minute a decision is made that isn’t in the best interest of our kids, that’s a failure on our part. We’re not perfect as parents; we’re just trying to make it through the day without anyone dead, if possible, and with as much of our sanity intact that we can salvage.

This pandemic has divided parents as much as other hot topics such as vaccines, breastfeeding, babywearing, and staying home/going to work. The thing is that at our core, every parent has their own ideological beliefs that drive them. Some parents think that school is so important to kids that they are willing to just risk it. It’s no worse than the flu anyways, right? Some parents don’t have the option because the world is fundamentally stacked against the working people, so they have to send their kids to school out of financial necessity whether they believe it’s safe or not. Some parents are so stuck on the idea of remote learning because of fear of the virus entering into their carefully crafted bubble or just because they believe that masks are deadlier to kids than the coronavirus is.

Then, there are parents like me that are torn. Sort of. My oldest, as long as if there are sports and he can participate in them, will likely do remote learning either way. I just don’t understand how they expect to keep high schoolers maintained enough for proper contact tracing if a virus outbreak in the school happens. I just have too many questions that I feel aren’t addressed. Does he get in a cohort with kids who have the same exact courses as he has? Does he have to sacrifice classes, like his AP classes, because he’s in a cohort that doesn’t offer those classes? Sure, it’s been 18 years since I’ve been in high school, but high schoolers like mischief. They like rebellion. They probably won’t wear masks, or they’ll pull that super awesomely effective move where they wear the mask under their nose. They’ll huddle around each other and the schools won’t properly monitor that. They’ll pull down their mask and cough on someone screaming “Corona!!!” thinking it’s hilarious. Plus, he’s on an already overly crowded bus. Even in cohorts, how are they going to manage the safety of the kids on the bus? There are too many questions and I personally enjoy having a child who is alive and being alive myself that I just can’t risk it.

The issue is then my youngest child. He receives services in school. He’ll be 8 when school starts. He has anxiety attacks and a sensory disorder that they said he would’ve grown out of by now, but hasn’t. He requires movement breaks and his noise-cancelling headset when he gets anxious or the class is too loud. How is that going to work in the new COVID classroom? How can we expect that these kids are going to keep their distance or even keep their mask on? How can we expect that they will wash their hands regularly? What about when they eat together? They need their mask off to eat, so how does that happen safely with kids? But, he’s at an age where school is so important for his social and emotional development, an area where he does need help in.

I understand that sending him to school is a preferable choice. Even at the beginning, I mentioned that my plan was to go hybrid for my youngest and remote learning for my oldest. But after last week’s school council meeting, I don’t trust that they really have a viable plan to keep my kids safe. Even if they have a plan, I’m not sure I trust the higher ups to follow through with their end of the bargain. This puts us parents who have to make this choice in a really hard spot. What are we supposed to do? The default for me as a parent is to err on the side of caution, suck it up, and do my best. That means both will be in remote learning, even though I’m risking the mental health of my child (and myself, the way last year went). But that’s our difficult decision.

Parents always find their way when making these impossible choices. It’s not for us to judge others for their choice. This isn’t a time where you call the remote learning families “scared wusses that fall for media scare tactics and propaganda”. This isn’t a time to put down those pushing remote learning as “bored, stay at home mom keyboard warriors and what about us parents who actually work”. We’re all trying to do the best we can in a situation that we’ve never had to face. There’s no parenting book on how to raise a child during the pandemic. Even if they were, how useful are parenting books anyways? They just make you feel bad about yourself because nothing works for you. We are forging our own paths here and a little more support and a little less judgement is the right play here.

We Look Towards Our Leadership… And They Failed

We trust our school council with the lives of our children. Our children, the most precious things in a parent’s life. These are the people who we are entrusting right now to make an informed decision on what’s best for the education of our children during these uncertain times. Sure… we have an option of remote learning no matter what they decide, but that’s not the point. The point is: why weren’t they better prepared?

The schools should have been working on a plan since March to come up with all of these “what ifs”. What if this virus gets worse? What if it’s still a major issue come fall? How do we do a great remote learning plan in case we need it? How long do we offer remote learning? Will we open school in phases, like the state did? There are so many questions I have. What if my senior in high school gets exposed one time, then needs to quarantine for 14 days? He can only miss 16 days for the entire school year, so what happens if he gets sick or has to quarantine for another 14 days? Are they getting rid of the attendance rules? My youngest has anxiety attacks. Are we going to put him in a “sick room” with another kid who might have the virus because he’s showing symptoms, so he can get infected? What if he has an anxiety attack and tears off his mask because he’s hyperventilating? These are real concerns and I’m not unique in struggling with them.

The meeting had flawed statistics. Of course the remote learning wasn’t successful. Half the time the sites were down and the teachers were completely unprepared and were thrown into this remote learning plan without any real experience with it. How can you say that you can’t really measure attendance and the success of remote learning and then show charts of how unsuccessful it was? Great, there haven’t been many cases of kids getting sick in Chicopee… because parents have been smart about protecting their kids. My kids also didn’t get a bad flu like they normally would during the early spring because they weren’t in school either. The original basis for the recommendations for face to face learning are flawed to begin with. But we’ll stick with the flawed recommendations because…. why not?

Maybe we should listen to our teachers. You know, those people who are severely underpaid for what we expect of them and under-appreciated who are tasked with educating our children for 180 days a year. Maybe we should take their concerns, being on the front lines and all, and listen to what they think is best for our kids. They’re the ones in the schools. They are the ones we are asking to risk their lives for our children. Maybe they should have more of an impact on this decision.

At the meeting, it seemed like the representatives were unprepared. I sat through this 2 1/2 hour meeting for answers, because I wanted to be prepared. So I could make the best decision for my children. So I could be prepared. I looked to the school council to help me be prepared. I looked to them, the people that we as citizens of this city voted in, to give us answers so that we knew what we were going to do as a family for our kids. And these leaders and our mayor failed us.

Some members of the council, including my ward 7 councilman, asked great questions. What about lunchtime in the high schools? The representative from one of the high schools stated the precautions they were going to take. My son laughed. “I can barely get lunch some days because the cafeteria has no room for us. How do they think we’re going to accomplish 6ft. distance?” He’s right. My kid gets it. Why don’t they?

It started out to be a reasonable discussion with the school council giving their comments, until the Ward 1 councilor passionately spoke on the subject. Which led to a heated… tantrum. Which led to a postponement of the vote. For a week. Us parents need to wait anxiously for another week when they should have been better prepared. They should have had a better plan. The meeting was a failure. It was embarrassing as a resident of the city to see things turn ugly like that. It was frustrating to sit for nearly 3 hours to get answers, to get nothing but watching grown adults shout at each other. It was awful to realize that we have trusted these people to make these decisions and they couldn’t do it. Instead we get a “Well, let’s do remote learning until Springfield starts their hybrid approach to see if it’s safe enough for our students”. What? Let’s see how those sacrificial lambs do in the next city over to see what we’re going to do? Insane.

At this point, I’m not sure why I’m more afraid to send my kids back to school. Is it because we’re still in the middle of a pandemic that doesn’t seem to be going away? Or is it because these representatives of our city are the people making the decisions that directly impact my kids?

The Impossible Position of Our Schools

Our district just laid out a draft for the upcoming school year. I feel bad because no one is going to be happy. The fact of life is that they can’t please everyone. They will get slammed with insults. How dare they make our kids wear masks?! Good luck. Maybe I’m unique in making my kids practice wearing masks in anticipation of this requirement, even if we’re at home. Why? Because the masks aren’t going away anytime soon and neither is this pandemic. It’s common sense.

The smart play would be to take this process in phases, much like the reopening of the state. Start off by doing the remote-only option for students who don’t need any special attention at the schools. This allows the students who actually need to be in school, whether they receive OT or other services, to go there in the safest way possible. Then, as the situation starts to get better, slowly transition into their hybrid model. Then finally, when they get to the threshold of under 5% positive cases, they can safely return to full-time. It should be a slow, phased-in process. If it’s good enough for reopening the states, it’s good enough for the schools. If things start to get bad again, roll back to the previous phase.

Granted, I’m not an expert on the educational system. This is all opinion as an outside observer. I think a rational approach, not a political one, is the approach we should take. This isn’t the teachers being too lazy to teach; it’s them not getting paid enough to risk their lives (or the lives of their loved ones). They didn’t sign up to be babysitters, people who take bullets for our kids. But that’s often the realities of their job. The perception of their job. It’s not their fault a pandemic has taken over the country and there’s no leadership stepping in to stop it. They definitely didn’t sign up to potentially die of a virus in a slow and excruciating manner because parents need the kids to back to school.

As a parent, I’m concerned about sending my kids to school. I’m concerned about them bringing something home that could kill someone with my craptastic immune system. I’m concerned about them bringing something to school that could potentially kill someone else. I’m concerned that my kid won’t keep his distance from others or keep his mask on all day. I’m concerned that my oldest will take an overly crowded bus to school, then swap around to 7 different classes and god knows where he got whatever he brought home. It’s a mess. This whole thing is impossible for our underfunded school systems to deal with. And they aren’t the ones responsible for this mess.

So let’s not get mad at the schools for trying to keep our kids and themselves safe from becoming another statistic of this virus. Let’s work together and start supporting our schools for everything that they do for our children. Ask what they need. My school district gives out lunches during the week, even though it’s summer, to ensure the kids are eating well. My school district seems intent on wanting the safest approach while still educating my children. I appreciate them for trying their best and working with what they have. They deserve our appreciation, not our scorn.

Misinformation and You: How You’re Helping the Problem Get Worse

I browse my social media feeds, and it’s shocking how many people take memes seriously. As if memes are a way to get valid information. I hate to be that guy, but they’re not. Memes are funny and catchy. Generally, if you read information on a meme, it’s probably not true. The way people stand up for Dr. Stella Emmanuel for her brave stance on the “COVID-19” hoax is what is wrong with America today. This is why we have anti-vaxxers and a resurgence of diseases that really should be a non-issue anymore. Why are the same people against anti-vaxxers now supporting the claim of someone who talks about demon sperm? Because they see that their political party supports her, so she must be reliable.

If Dr. Fauci had said anything about conditions being caused by demon sperm, as someone who suffers from gynecological disorders, I’d say dude is crazy and maybe we shouldn’t follow what he says. I don’t care about political parties; I care about science. The problem is that science can be skewed and people eat that stuff up and believe it. Why? Because their political party fan pages tell them so.

So what’s the common denominator here? People who blindly follow and don’t really care about facts. They just eat up whatever people want them to think and just trust it or don’t really care to do their own research. And the people in charge are okay with that because if you can think for yourself, you’d call them out on their crap. Me? My allegiance will always follow the facts. I do my own research because, we have the internet and you can always do all the research you want on your own. However, the minute that you just follow a specific biased site or non-reputable biased sites that flat out lie, then you aren’t really doing your own research. You need to read around different sites and determine what’s real and what isn’t. It takes time and patience, but damned if you come out more logical on the side.

Maybe I’m just unique in the fact that I don’t side with any political party because I mistrust them. I can maybe think of 1 or 2 or maybe even 3 politicians that I would really stand up for, and that’s a very small number. And spoiler: they aren’t from the same party. I respect politicians who state facts, not skewed opinions offered as facts. I respect politicians who stand by their principles, even if it makes people hate them. That’s what I respect. That’s why I don’t trust Pelosi or Schumer or Trump or McConnell. They want us to be divided because it gives them more power over us. It pits us against each other so they can retain the power that none of them really deserve.

I feel like I keep reiterating the point here, but people need to start waking up. People are dying from a virus because it was made into an “Us. vs. Them” political statement. It isn’t. It’s a “the damn virus is going to kill us all if we don’t stop being jackasses who only care about what political party someone is” problem. I saw a Facebook thing, and it said “How many of your friends are Biden followers and how many are Trump followers?” My answer: who cares? I don’t determine someone’s worth by their political beliefs and if you do, that’s your problem. Strike that, that means you are the problem. You are why America is going downhill. We’re Americans, dammit. We are built on the principle of free speech and following our own beliefs. We didn’t become free because people sat around and listened to what people in charge told us to believe; we became free because we fought against that.

Can I Send Them Back Yet?

Like most parents during this coronavirus pandemic, the upcoming school year has given me a lot of anxiety. This anxiety could be eased if I had some sort of expectation of what will be happening in the upcoming school year. With about 6 weeks to go until school starts, I’ve already started getting my youngest in the routine of going to bed/getting up early so he’d be awake for school. But aside from that, my normal preparations of buying school supplies and clothing that I’d normally start planning early based on sales isn’t going to happen for me yet. Why? Why should I buy $200 of school supplies per kid if they don’t end up back in the classroom? Why spend double that on clothes if they are just going to be in their pajamas behind a computer?

I understand why there is so much uncertainty. People were hoping this would be gone by August/September and the kids could go to school as usual and things would be great. But people are dumb (yes, I said it. Dumb people who don’t take precautions are why this is still a problem.), so things can’t go back to normal yet. But where does this leave us? They say we will have some idea of what’s going on by Friday of this week… or of next week. They did release something to give us an expectation of what to expect, plan-wise, but there are too many unknowns.

Based on the information as I interpreted it, there would be a hybrid option and a remote learning option. Every kid is different, and this is exactly the situation in my household. My oldest, who will be a senior this upcoming school year (yikes!), takes an overly crowded bus to school. My youngest walks to school and has a 504 plan in place. Both of these scenarios requires a different approach and I’m a firm believer in individualism.

If given the option, I would let my oldest take remote learning. He’s a bright kid who can work well attending classes online and would keep up with his work because he has goals of going to college and going into forensics, something that he takes very seriously. Plus, I would argue he is at a higher risk of infection because of him being on an overcrowded bus and just because he has a mask on, doesn’t mean the 3 people he’d be sharing the row of seats with would. There’s also the fact that high schoolers switch classes throughout the day, meaning there is an even higher risk of contact. Common sense would tell me if there was a kid that was going to be likely to bring it home with them, it would be the high schooler. He’s likely going to at least miss out on swimming anyways with everything going on, so there won’t be a risk of him not being able to participate because of remote learning.

Then there is my youngest. If given the option, I will be sending him for hybrid learning. First of all, he has a 504 plan with occupational therapy and I’ve tried unsuccessfully to perform those services for him. There’s also the social aspect of it. While my oldest spends all day texting or talking to his friends on Discord or playing games with them, my youngest still needs to develop those important social skills. How to behave in the classroom, how to interact with other kids. Those are things that can really only be learned in the classroom. Having time in the classroom if it’s safe enough, meaning that they can follow the safety guidelines, is beneficial to my youngest during this crucial time in his development. Would I be mad if I didn’t have this option? No, because safety is more important than anything and I’d rather do remote learning with my kids than put my family or other people at risk of getting sick. Honestly, parents already send their kids to school sick half the time because they can’t take the day off of work or they don’t want to deal with it. That’s just not acceptable under these circumstances, so who knows what kids are going to be going to school with. I hope it’s safe and while regulations are great, they puts a lot of assumption that people care enough to follow them. They don’t seem to do that already.

I don’t put any blame on our school district for not having more answers. Should they have been planning something since this all happened, just in case? I would hope that they already had some sort of idea of what the next school year could look like, even if they only recently received the state guidelines for reopening. I’m trusting in the teachers of this district to be the voices of our students, like I’ve trusted the teachers in this district since my own experiences growing up in these schools. My trust in the school council is far less certain, but I’m hoping for the best. This is something new that we’ve never experienced before. This is a new way of life that doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon, as cases are starting to spike in some areas.

In Careful Consideration: A Political Post

I try to avoid things that are too political. Why? Because in the polarizing world that we live in today, you get disgusted comments about how you’re a lib-tard snowflake or a Trumper without anyone taking what you are saying with any consideration at all. People don’t want you to disagree with them or have thoughts that are independent of a political party. That’s insane, right? Not being bound to a specific political party, rather just having your own, independent thought that doesn’t have a party? Crazy.

I have opted against that. I’m sure in my passing comments you can gather that I’m not a fan of the president. He was voted in and I respect the office, but it’s way too hard to respect the man in the office. I didn’t necessarily like President Obama, he had his moments that I applauded him for and things that left me go “Huh, how about no?” And that’s OK. Because your beliefs don’t have to be bound to a political party. That’s what America’s all about. You can be different. You can speak your mind. You can say that you don’t agree with the president without it being more than just “I don’t agree with him”.

It does scare me in writing this. If a president can just send a militarized police force wherever he wants in the name of “Law and Order”, what’s to stop him from secretly going after anyone who speaks out against him? It’s apparent that no one cares to stop him from doing anything shady. I don’t see him deploying secret military to quiet down KKK rallies. What if President Obama did that? Would that still be perfectly fine? The answer is probably not and there would be riots over this blatant disregard of the constitution, as there should be. If people are protesting responsibly, respectfully, and there’s no violence, then anyone has the right to protest whether you agree with them or not.

I keep thinking about things that are going on right now and all I can think of is “What if President Obama did that?” President Trump blames President Obama for stuff all the time, but I distinctly remember watching Fox News segments where they would go off on President Obama because he blamed President Bush for things. “Well, you’re president now and the buck stops with you, right?” President Trump blames President Obama, and all they do is defend it saying “Well, he’s right to blame him because look at the mess he left for President Trump to clean up.” You can’t have it both ways. You absolutely can’t have it both ways. And, no, I don’t think it has to do with Fox News being racist; it has to do with the fact they are pandering to the Republican base as CNN and MSNBC pander to the Democrats. It isn’t about fair reporting; it’s about money, power, and ratings.

It is with careful consideration that I make such controversial statements as I just did, that you can criticize a president no matter what party is in power. You can criticize politicians that are paid with your tax payer dollars to represent you. That’s what America is all about. Unfortunately, it’s been a long time since people would consider other points of view and be open-minded to the fact that they’re wrong about something. Maybe things would start getting better if people were more loyal to silly things like facts than a political party that only wants power and money that comes from their positions.