Let’s Talk About Civics: The Basics

Last week, I introduced my new Monday series: Let’s Talk About Civics. This series will be an ongoing conversation about civics, including how the U.S. Government works and the rights and duties of U.S. citizens.

To start off the series, today’s post is about civics fundamentals. A civics 101 if you will. This post focuses on the foundation of the U.S. Government (what ideas lay the foundation of the government) and the basics of the U.S. Government system.

For most of you who attended an American school, this is rather basic information you (hopefully) learned at some point. But we need to understand the basics before discussing the rights and obligations. And I hope this makes us all take another look at our government as well as generates some good conversation.

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The Sketchbook Project: Phase 1

One of the few benefits (or downsides, depending on how you look at it) of being furloughed for a month was I spent a lot of time on the internet. In my wanderings, which were mostly on book or book-related sites (of course), I found the Brooklyn Art Library‘s Sketchbook Project.

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Let’s Talk About Civics

Over the past few national election cycles and now with the federal government shutdown, I have been dishearted to hear and read the misinformation, and lack of information, on how our government works. I’ve also been a bit horrified to read how people don’t understand our rights and duties as citizens, as well as how some elected officials are actively working to prevent or discourage citizens from exercising their democratic rights.

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It’s Over . . . For Now

Relief. At least for now.

After 35 days of enormous stress, I feel a bit like a mack truck has run over me. It has been an incredible amount of stress to endure, sitting, waiting, watching, counting every penny to try to make it last.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, let me catch you up.

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An Open Letter to Mitch McConnell & All of Congress

Dear Senate Majority Leader McConnell,

I am just one of 800,000 faceless furloughed federal government employees being used as a pawn in this shutdown power struggle. And although I don’t expect you to ever read this, I felt compelled to speak because as an American, I have that freedom.

And I won’t bore you with my shutdown story because it’s clear the (increasing) hardships faced by those of us furloughed have no impact on you. If any of those Christian values you all love to preach actually meant anything, then the numerous heartbreaking shutdown stories I’ve been reading would have pushed you to reopen the government weeks ago.

No, I won’t bore you with my personal story of hardship.

Instead, I’d like to point out how you are misguided in thinking that throwing money to build a wall will solve anything.

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Thoughts on Death & Grief

There are certain times of the year that are hard for me and this is one of those times. This week marks the 9th anniversary of my father’s death.

Death is not an easy subject for most of us. We don’t like to talk or think about it. When we have to speak of it, we use “soft” words and phrases, like the person passed. And we certainly don’t like to be reminded of it. We tend to shrug it off as if death, and the resulting grief, are something we can just do and move on.

Death and grief are inevitable in this life. The one experience that we will all share.

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