“Blowing in the Wind”

The photos last week of the little 5 year-old Syrian boy who had survived the bombing, touched my heart. Often I have to turn off stories about the Syrian war. By now it is possible that between 200,000 and 400,000 thousand people have died. Often all I feel I can do is pray. I am a peace supporter. I protested the second Iraq War of George W. Bush for months and months. I became a peace advocate in my 30s, so I was not a hippy in the 60s and 70s and part of the protest of the Vietnam War. However, today Bob Dylan’s song touches my heart, particularly the line:
“Yes, and how many deaths will it take ’till he knows
That too many people have died?”
When will all these wars end? “Blowing in the Wind” answers that question for me.

That is how I feel about the endless wars that have been the backdrop of my entire life. I did not experience them directly, but I had a taste of them through teaching some of the immigrants I taught English to as an English-as-a-Second Language (ESL) teacher. First, I learned a little from my Vietnamese students in New Hampshire and even in North Carolina and also from the other teachers who taught with me. This was long after the War in Vietnam had ended (in 1990).

The first year I taught as an ESL teacher, I read “When Heaven and Earth Changed Places” by Le Ly Hayslip. Ms. Hayslip is Vietnamese, so the book was written from her perspective. When I saw the movie that Stone made from her book, it became much more the point of view of her American soldier husband, so Hayslip’s story was diminished. In any case, her book helped me to slightly understand who I was teaching at the time. I learned that first year teaching that the wars we Americans fight, when our troops leave these countries, they are left destroyed. After destroying their countries, then there is new wave of displaced people and immigrants who have suffered the ravages of war at the hand of American foreign policy.

Later in my career I taught Korean students, Palestinians, a few Syrian students, long before the present war in Syria. One of those students had a family that was living in Egypt when it used to be more stable. I had the good fortune to teach students from most of the countries of the world and because we needed to practice speaking and listening besides teaching English, I was able to learn something about their lives.

I love the USA, but I have deeply revulsion to our foreign policies in world. I believe that since the end of World War II, which ended before I was born, most of our foreign policies have been bankrupt, greedy, and very destructive.

A man who understood war well, President (and General) Dwight Eisenhower, warned us Americans before he left office at the beginning of 1961 NOT to create a “Military-Industrial Complex”.

“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”
-President Dwight David Eisenhower

This is President Eisenhower’s entire farewell speech:

http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/ike.htm

Our politicians did not heed Eisenhower’s wisdom. Greed superseded wisdom.

I have no idea how to stop all of the wars. What I do know is that I personally must be at peace within myself and like myself. When I am feeling down, I notice I am NOT as kind to others. I have to start by being kind to myself. Stressing myself about “getting things done” and pressuring myself is NOT a good way to treat myself. Also when I disconnect myself from my heart and my source, I find I think and act more negatively towards others. I believe this is the beginning of callousness towards others and the “roots of all war”. All I can do is correct myself. If each of us, focuses on our own lives and also is willing to work with others, I believe it is possible to end war. Also getting the profit and greed out of war and selling implements of war: guns, rockets, etc. to others is also necessary. No telling when that might happen. No matter what, I can still be as peaceful as I can and live a happier life because I choose to be kinder towards myself and others.

I love this song. It says my point of view in a song, “Down to YOU”. Thank you, Bonnie Raitt.

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Bumpersticker Philosophers 2

I thank the bumpersticker philosophers for sharing what is important to them. One of the first I saw is a saying that is a great reality check.

bumpersticker 1

bumpersticker philosopher 1

What I like about this saying is, it reminds me to accept what is rather than what I would like something to be.  This is a grown up saying; if you can do this, then you are taking life on its terms, not your own wishes and desires. Sometimes I have found getting to what is or was, can at times be painful. There is freedom on the other side of that pain. And the other part of this saying is: we get “it” when we get it.

bumpersticker 2

bumpersticker philosopher 2

This is a political philosopher’s viewpoint. This law has made it possible for people to donate any amount of money to a candidate.  Our Supreme Court sold us little Americans out.  You can tell I do NOT like this law either.  The person who had this on her bumper was speaking for many people including me.

bumpersticker philosopher 3

bumpersticker philosopher 3

What I like about this coexist sticker, it includes all faiths, peace sign, and it is GBLT friendly. That is  lovely, an all inclusive bumpersticker. I would be really happy if we could LIVE this. I CAN start with me.

The Huffington post did an interesting column about bumperstickers. Their version is much sarcastic than mine. It is still fun reading.

http://www.cracked.com/photoplasty_855_what-27-popular-bumper-stickers-really-mean/

I am a semi retired teacher, so this next bumpersticker is another one I can nodded my head to.

bumpersticker 4

bumpersticker philosopher 4

There is so much truth in this bumpersticker.  All of the rest of us are left behind and particularly our children.  In most states school-age children still have to take the grueling end of the year tests. Everyone hates them except the test makers. This bumpersticker manages to put down both billionaires and a terrible education law.

I did not get a photo of  a sign I saw last week on the side of a van.  I saw this van while I was driving on a city street. It was quite an old van.  As I drove passed it, on the side I saw the sign: “Get Away Van”.  Thank God for people like these; they help keep me smiling and sane.

 

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Bumper Sticker Philosophers

When I have to sit in traffic behind someone or am in a parking lot and I see a bumper sticker I like, it can change my mood and give me pause to think. I like bumper stickers like that, and I thank the philosophers who put them on their cars.

Bumper sticker 1

Bumper Sticker 1

I “loved” these two bumper stickers because they state basic values that make sense. Living them in our daily lives is a greater challenge. It is always good to have a reminder to be our better selves.

Where I live there are farmers and farmer’s markets close by. I am very fortunate to have access to high quality food. Therefore, these two bumper stickers say it all.

bumper sticker 2

Bumper Sticker 2

bumper sticker 3

Bumper Sticker 3

This bumper sticker is referring to the GMOs that Monsanto Corporation puts in the seeds they sell. Several states in the USA are trying to require labeling of GMOs because we still do not know for sure if they make humans sick or not.  Seeds that have been genetically modified do require more toxic spraying-yuck!

bumper sticker 4

Bumper Sticker 4

I liked this one because it is mysterious and astronomical with a touch of spirituality. This one makes me scratch my head and wonder.

bumper sticker 5

Bumper Sticker 5
Question the Answers

This bumper sticker is a little out of focus and says “Question the Answers”. When I googled “Bumper stickers and TED talks” I got this AMAZING TEDX talk that made me question whether I ever want to use another TED talk for this blog. It is also a good example of “Question the Answers”. Check it out. Benjamin Bratton  is a philosopher and designer who has questioned what we are doing with TED!  TEDX talk appears at the end of the article.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/shana-ting-lipton/benjamin-bratton-ted_b_4531802.html

bumper sticker 6

Bumper Sticker 6

I love the song “Imagine” from John Lennon. I sang it with the first Japanese students in the USA that I ever taught before I became a teacher professionally. I love the words of the song anyway. I chose this to be the one “peace” bumper sticker in this blog.

bumper sticker 7

Bumper Sticker 7

This is was the last bumper sticker I took a photo of. The car was in a parking lot. I talked to the owner of the truck that it was on and thanked her. This is one of my favorite messages- if we could only get it and live it!

My thanks to all of the bumper sticker philosophers! I’ll be happy to continue driving behind all of you!

 

 

 

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