What if all promises were kept?

Bird Droppings February 2, 2021

What if all promises were kept?

I begin each typical morning by waking up, fixing breakfast for my wife and her lunch, occasionally talking with one of my sons for a few minutes on the phone before they go to work, fixing my breakfast, and eventually finding my way to my computer. A little later, I try to catch a glimpse of the sunrise and get a few sunrise pictures. Lately, the clouds have hampered that endeavor, although the sky was exciting yesterday morning along with an amazing faint rainbow. I try and settle in on my computer, answer various postings emails, and write a bit before getting into anything else. I am trying to finish graduate school and write and read to complete my dissertation. I have a busy day ahead and hope for warming temperatures, perhaps not too much rain.

My original plan was to put in some effort on the word, reform, and that will have to wait a day or two. This morning, as I answered an email with a thought from the other day, I found this thought in thinking about today.

“One does not sell the land people walk on.” Crazy Horse, September 23, 1875

A great warrior and chief, Crazy Horse, died on the reservation because the army feared him, but he never understood why the soldiers wanted the land that was sacred to the Sioux. He never understood the concept that we wanted to possess it, to own it, and in that comes a driving force for us to win at all costs, Manifest destiny. Over the years, I have been involved in many discussions about culture. Cultures vary, and each is often about seeing the world differently. Several of my current reading efforts look at the world through feminist eyes and or those of Indigenous women’s eyes from across the globe.

While I finished my graduate classroom studies nearly twelve years ago, it feels like it was not that long ago we discussed these books and the culture of feminism. We discussed how we tend to look at others only based on our own beliefs and ideals. Bell Hooks, in her writings, discusses the appreciation of Paulo Friere and how he never wrote about feminism; actually, he addressed it but the title sort of went a different direction. A recent blog post on education addressed how Friere, as a male, honestly writes and or addresses feminism, which is a valid response. Recently, a former student of mine wrote about how anyone who is not mentally ill honestly discusses mental illness. As I look at my direction today, how can anyone who does not understand someone’s beliefs and culture even think they can relate?

“My father, you have made promises to me and to my children. If the promises had been made by a person of no standing, I should not be surprised to see his promises fail. But you, who are so great in riches and power; I am astonished that I do not see your promises fulfilled!” Shinguaconse, Little Pine

In many ways, we, too, still do this. If we have control, we promise much, yet it is only to get more, and a trusting person would not question a man of authority. If it was a questionable person, maybe yes, but we do this. We use the trust to get what we still want today. Look at our politicians on both sides, and never before have sides been so distant since the day our current president was elected. Throughout history, lies have done far more than war in the conquest and overpowering of peoples. The broken promises do more damage than any weapons. Look at students in classrooms as we go through a school and all the broken promises. We even legislated that all children will be reading on grade level by 2014. I said it was absurd in 2004 when the law passed. As a teacher of special needs kids for nearly fifty years, I knew not all children will read on grade level unless we decide to euthanize eighth graders who do not meet standards selectively. Who knows, maybe in the political arena, that concept will come up. Realistically if all children were homeschooled by 2014, as one candidate suggested, or all in elite charter schools where special needs are not allowed, it is no big issue. People joke, but charters are asking to be and are exempted from IDEA today around the nation.

“I would have been better pleased if you had never made such promises than that you should have made them and not performed them. . .” Shinquaconese

As we go through life as friends, parents, teachers, and employers, we often take advantage of the inherent trust. We use it to go forward with our ideas and concepts. We use promises we know we will never keep accomplishing our goals. The ends justify the means as our motivation. Look at how we are discussing oil exploration and destroying wilderness. No one is going to use it. Why not destroy it. It has taken me three weeks to get a photo of a male and female duck on a lake nearby so that we could identify them. By chance, a large group was near the bridge Saturday, and I got a photo as they all took off. I shot a male and female together in one frame of several images, and ring-necked ducks were identified. This duck is a Canadian winter transplant to Georgia. But what if greed supersedes and we destroy all the rainforest and wilderness and kill all the whales. My great-grandchildren will never know what waking to the sound of a red-tailed hawk calling or mourning dove sounds like. I am sorry, but that is worth not drilling or fracking and looking at another rationale for the twisted world of oil and gas profiteering.

I got a bit off on an issue that is bothersome to many, but we currently sell gas in surplus overseas, and certain politicians still cry drill, drill, and drill. Public opinion says if we open up more drilling in North America, our gas prices will decrease. It does not work that way. Oil prices are fixed internationally, and it is a supply and demand. Right now, China and Mexico are buying all the gas and oil refined they can get from us. So, pricing is based on capitalism, not regulation.

Interestingly, we sell quite a bit to China, which is supposed to be our gas and oil competitor. As we have a free market, American oil companies are in business for profit and selling gas and oil wherever the best price is. Currently, US consumption is down, and many countries are rising and willing to pay more than we are. So, we are victims of our free-market capitalism. So sad we never look at both sides of any issue and only listen to what we want. Currently, gas companies are under pressure from gas prices forced by no cuts in production.

Parents use the promises of a toy or treat with small children, and the child quiets down later. The parent forgets or maybe never intended to supply the prize. The child at first is confused, but soon as it happens, again and again, they become jaded calloused, and resentful. In school, so often, children with learning problems get passed along and soon distrust, bitter, jaded and calloused they are behavior problems or quit. Employers use similar ideas and goals to accomplish the task at hand, getting the job out, and soon employees are too calloused and unionized. Although now, in Georgia, we are passing a law that directly conflicts with the constitution regarding the freedom to protest against tyranny. A state legislator in Georgia is trying to pass a law that union organizing is a felony. As teachers, we are being warned not to use our “teacher email” for politics.

“… I have seen that in any great undertaking, it is not enough for a man to depend simply upon himself.” Lone Man (Isna-la-wica) Teton Sioux

Imagine a world where the word was bond, promises were kept, and a hand shake was a contract for real and students and children knew they were respected, loved, and cared for. Imagine that what was said would be and not change or be different. We do need each other, and we are social creatures and dependent on one another. We are to blame for so many of the issues we are confronted with through distrust and broken promises. A simple guide when you say something, do it. Perhaps I need to begin with myself, as we all do. Please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and your hearts, and always give thanks namaste.

My family and friends, I do not say this lightly,

Mitakuye Oyasin

(We are all related)


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