The Broad is Back!

February 19, 2018

Young Folks Taking The Lead

This is a letter I’m about to mail to the students of Stoneman Douglas High School, but I thought I’d post a copy here because I am that in awe of them. I love them all so much because they have taken a tragedy and refused to be broken. Instead, they are finding their power. This tired, frustrated fighter is being renewed by them. Bless them all.

Dear Students of Stoneman Douglas High School:

I am writing this to tell you how much I absolutely love you. Honestly! I am a college professor in New York City, so for the most part I love young people. But what you are doing fills my heart with joy.  You are taking something absolutely horrendous, turning it around, and learning that you have power and a voice to make change. And you will make that change.

I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for standing up when our administration won’t. When the adults around you seem to be bent on arguing semantics and bowing to rich lobbyists, you are doing what our Founders wanted our people to do. You are democracy in action. As a long time believer in the power of the people to enact change, I am feeling so blessed to see what you are all accomplishing. It’s early days yet, but people are listening  and they are being galvanized to act.

Never forget what Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Be thoughtful in your action, then act. You are changing the world. And you are showing the elders who underestimate you that you are passionate, involved and far less docile than they think.

Brightest blessings to each and every one of you. You have endured more than most ever will and instead of being broken, you’ve soared.

With much love and solidarity,

Margarette Connor, PhD

October 3, 2013

Still Hoping for Power to the People

“We want to empower our people; we want to strengthen them; we want to provide them with the kind of qualifications that will enable them to build up their own country themselves.” ~ Aung San Suu Kyi

When Aung San Suu Kyi said these words, she was referring to the people of Burma, but I think this is what we should want for people in all places.  But instead of empowerment, much of American culture (and I’m speaking as an American–I know it’s similar in other places) sets out to disempower the people.

Yesterday I spoke of our broken educational system. I do often wonder quite seriously how much is done deliberately. We have a popular culture that glorifies ignorance, stupidity, vapidity and violence. We undermine authority figures in almost all genres of entertainment. Authority isn’t a bad word, but if we teach people it is, no one will want it or seek it other than those who turn it into a bad word through their actions.

This post started on my other blog, but as often happens when I’m thinking about things that are important to me, it spills onto this one.

I’m deeply disturbed by the state of America right now. Not just the current crisis, but by all the factors that brought us here: poor education, weapons of mass distraction, selfishness and even a sense of ennui in so many people. Working hard for too little money, scraping by, living paycheck to paycheck dulls the mind to other things.   According to a report released last year, over two-thirds of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.  It’s hard to think about eroding freedoms when you’re worried about missing work and getting pay docked.

This is a trend that must be reversed.

I teach to empower people, but as much as I want to give my students the tools they need to take control of their own lives, true control, free from the overbearing corporate influences playing on people today, no one can be empowered with the desire to wield power.

So many people are perfectly willing to abdicate responsibility for their own lives. This is a sad way to live.

Actually, as I tell my students, this can be a fine way to live. Nothing is your fault when it fails and no hard decisions need to be made. Multitudes aer plenty happy in this kind of life.

Those who want to live freely know that they must have power over themselves. And as Francis Bacon famously wrote, “Knowledge is power.”

Societies have changed radically in the past. All things are cyclical. When I call for change, people tell me, “You can’t change anything. This is the way it is now. It is what it is.”

Lie. That’s a lie sold to us by people who don’t want change. We can turn this around, hopefully. It will not be easy, but it can be done, but only if people want to be empowered.

 

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