Civics .101

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 1Exactly, 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.


The event includes a massive international potluck and at one point I drank in the sight of him stuffing a veggie sushi roll in his face as he whooshed by our table with nary a glance my way.  Glorious.


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.



Hopes, Dreams & Ideas proudly displayed out front.


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:

  • Peaceful
  • 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
  • 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:


“Be nice.”


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.



About circuskitchen

performing artist, mom, wife, daughter, sister, aunt, niece... just a regular extraordinary person
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2 Responses to Civics .101

  1. Baba/Bubble Wow says:

    What a won-fucking-der-ful idea. The one single thing that has made me BEE Hopeful this week was watching a mediocre Netflix blood-and-guts series called “Roman Empire”, an Empire that did NOT have in place any plan for “peaceful transfer of power.” To get rid of their psychopath emperors-for-life (and they had plenty of them), assassination followed by retribution and civil war to fill the power vacuum was the only option. So the photo of the BNIS President Obama shaking hands with the PSYCHOPATH President-Elect in the Oval office seemed a smidge easier to bear after contemplating the alternative forms of government, which triggered the Wars of the Roses, the Hundred Years War, the French Revolution, the Russian Revolution, and assorted other massive bloody conflicts that killed millions of innocents and wiped out economies for decades. Jon Stewart said on TV this week, (I’m paraphrasing): “The reason we have to keep defending and fighting for healthy democracy because it is not natural. Tribalism is what is natural.” If we didn’t know this before, we know it now.

  2. Paul Oberhauser says:


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