Thursday, November 19th 2016
Last night at our elementary school’s “International Night” celebration of all our different cultures, instead of a cultural table, I ran one called “Civics 101,” even if “Civics .101” is more apt.
Gavin helped me letter this poster, which is the whole premise of my activity:
Welcoming visitors to the table, I would ask them;
QUESTION 1: “Do you know what the ‘government‘ is?” Little kids wouldn’t know, medium kids would struggle with a definition, and some older kids would erupt with, “Executive! Legislative! Judicial!”
ANSWER 1: Exactly, I’d tell them. “‘Government‘ is the people in charge of all the rules for our city, state and country!” This usually landed fine. Sometimes I’d add, “You’ve probably heard of some of the jobs in the government like ‘president,’ ‘governor,’ or ‘mayor,’ but there are LOTS and LOTS of jobs in government.”
QUESTION 2: “And do you know what kind of people have those jobs?”
Usually kids did not know. Although one amazing girl said, “Kind people?” It was heartbreaking to not be able to affirm her guess. “Fair people?” she ventured? “Not necessarily,” I said, “Although that is what I am going to wish for.”
ANSWER 2: “Nope; REG-U-LAR people!” I told them. “Regular people like YOU, like ME, like your little BROTHER, like your MOM… all of us!”
QUESTION 3: “AND,” I’d continue, “When you grow up, do you know WHO gets to be in charge of the rules?”
Usually they didn’t know. And here comes the pay dirt:
ANSWER 3: “YOU DO!” I’d tell them. Time after time I got to experience this exhilarating moment witnessing these children light up and their jaws drop open in astonishment to learn that THEY can be in charge when they grow up!
QUESTION 4: “And that is why I’m here to ask what are YOUR hopes, dreams or ideas for how the world should be!? If you can write anything on one of these cards, you can choose a sticker and earn a BADGE for being a STAR PARTICIPANT!“
I promised the principal I wouldn’t get political, but of course being a rebel I included a slightly subversive message by using a SAFETY PIN to affix everyone’s badges (which if you haven’t heard is one way to display that you are a “SAFE ALLY” in the face of all the unthinkable hate crimes that have arisen since the election of that total fucking orange piece of shit for U.S. “president”).
Gavin graced our table with his assistance when he wasn’t flying around the event himself.
FINAL POINT: When pinning on the badge I say, “Even if we’re not in the government or too young to vote, we can still tell them how we want things to be, and it’s their job to listen to us! That’s why SAYING what you want tonight makes you a STAR PARTICIPANT. Hi five!”
STAR Participants included students, teachers, parents, guests and Assistant Principal Joey.
The cards themselves covered an array of possibilities, including our best friends’ kids who said, “MORE STAR WARS” and “there should be such thing as apple pie day,” respectively. (No doubt they’d win a lot of votes with this platform.) ♥
Other hopes, dreams and ideas include:
- I hope that I can be free
- I want country to be nice to each other
- I hope there will be peace in the future!
- No one would stereotype any one and think of them as “weird”
- More money to go around for people that are poor
- That everyone will be kind to all.
- That nobody is ever lonely
- I wish that Everybody could be the same
- To not Litter!
- United Countries of EARTH
- Free College Education
- DonlD wont win
- I hope that in the future the world will have good leaders
- I do Not wuNt DONOlD CHRUMP to BEE MEaN
- I want clinton to be presebint for ever and ever.
- I want clinton to be presudent for ever and ever
- I HOPE THE KIDS OF HTE FUTURE ARE HAPPY!
- to be a great country
- PePole be kind
- [smiley face drawing]
- That we live in a world that loves everyone
- I hope that the United States of America will cooperate with out war
- Instead of “America First,” I hope our nation’s motto becomes “The Planet First.”
- Everyone can stay here!
And possibly my very favorite of all:
It was exhilarating to be the bearer of this news to these kids, and the idealist in me is willing to be heartened with hoped for the future when I listen to their vision for the future.
I mean really, perhaps all we need to remember is: BNIS.