Tuesday, February 07, 2017

The collapse of civil society and a few other things

I really decided to do the Whole30 because I am so freaking depressed and anxious about the world since the election.  I like candy too much to parlay these end-of-days feelings into stunning weight loss on my own, but with the help of a crazy restrictive diet plan that is basically a manufactured eating disorder, I have been doing better at  remaining calm about the threat of global climate collapse, nuclear holocaust, the other kind of holocaust, and the rise of fascism/simultaneous destruction of democratic norms.  I remember on election night, I had to go lie down in a dark room for a couple of hours and then I couldn't eat for 2 weeks (but I drank a lot so I still got my calories-- don't worry), and I felt like a frog hurled into a pot of boiling water trying desperately to get out.  Now, though, the horror of what's coming down the policy pipeline for our world is normal, and I am the frog in the regular water that's slowly coming to a boil.  Which might be worse.  I have definitely, as MLK said, drunk the tranquilizing drug of gradualism.

This DeVos confirmation today, though, has made everything boil again.  How is this happening in America, and what kind of a people will we be in 4 years? How will democracy endure in the face of constant assault from our (maybe not even fairly) elected government? Attacking the free press.  Destroying our schools.  Providing us with the fuel of hate and hiding the tools we need to dismantle it.

Schools-- good, funded, regulated-- schools are important.  Happy, qualified, smart, humane teachers are important. From the time they reach kindergarten, kids are in school almost all day long, and bad teachers can have an effect on kids for the rest of their lives.  Harry still bears social/emotional scars from his devastating second-grade year, and that was with us fighting for him every step of the way. Ugh.  I just can't even.  All the sugar/grain/dairy/ alcohol, sweet, sweet alcohol fasts in the world can't make me un-see this.

We have a terrible education-opposed governor here who has gutted our schools, leading to the creation of dubious charters and more vouchers and poorer, more crowded classrooms and stressed out staff and really ambitious policies that lack the structural support to make them sound, and it's been awful.  I don't know how we can take any more draconian cuts with doublespeak names-- and you know what? My personal kids, like the ones who live in my house, will probably knock on wood be OK.  But what about the rest of our kids?  Gah.  It's too terrible to think about.  I need to get back to obsessing about if I have enough cheesecloth on hand to make ghee.

Other things:

  • I have recently taken up a quest to find all of the books I used to read at Bomma's house when I was little.  It's really, really fun because sometimes I can only remember an image or a line of text, and I have to really search for them.  I scored this little masterpiece for fifty-seven cents on Amazon and totally love it.
  • My new Madison Moms Blog post is up, just in time for me to start thinking critically about our junior high choices
  • Harry and I went to a panel on fighting Islamophobia last night that was excellent.  All of the speakers argued that we need to stop saying "Islamic terrorism" because that's an oxymoron, and it made me think about how carelessly that phrase is bandied about everywhere.  Harry took very studious little notes, which was the cutest.  He is also a really good note-taker, and he says he learned it in school.
  • At that panel was a US attorney who swears that our institutions will save us and has strong faith in the courts in particular.  I so wanted to believe him.
  • All 3 boys got their report cards (Cooper gets a report card because 4K is SERIOUS BUSINESS), and they were all excellent. Our district just revamped their report cards, and I was like oh whatever I will totally be able to understand this no problem, so I deleted all of the links to explanatory videos, etc.  And then, OF COURSE, when the report cards came, I was like oh shit I have NO IDEA what this means and had to watch the videos.  OF COURSE.
  • Harry's hockey team won their state play-down tournament and gets to go to the state championship tournament on March-- they are really, really, really excited.  They played really well on Sunday, and it was really fun to watch them and we screamed and cheered like the hockey parents we have become.  I even seriously scoured the internet for a hockey mom don't puck with me sweatshirt, but I didn't buy it because I am doing this thing where I put all internet purchases in a cart and leave them alone for 24 hours and see if I still want them and so far Sheldon's Lunch is the only thing I have wanted.
  • When I was starving for my lunch and Dorothy was slowly eating a big greasy hot dog on Sunday at the game, I almost snatched it out of her hands and devoured it, but that's mean, so I am still eating firmly on plan.
  • Sunday night Ben and I went to a Superbowl party where I was the only person not drunk, and it was still fun.  Also, Harry let me borrow his jersey.
  • Harry's Book Bowl team just won their school-wide competition with a perfect score, which is amazing, and now they advance to a district-wide competition.  I wonder if schools will still have Book Bowls when Dorothy is in 5th grade.  They definitely won't be reading books about kids in Sudan like Harry did, though, I bet.
The mighty Polar Caps after their state-bid-winning game:
 The hotdog I almost demolished:
 The best part is, we are not even Tom Brady fans, but his crazy manufactured eating disorder does make me jelly.  GOAT for sure.

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