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A sane idea

I haven’t been in the mood to write a blog mainly because my brain is in meltdown. If you need to ask why, which planet have you been on this last year?а

Actually, I’d really like to know because I’m looking to get dual citizenship somewhere calm and sane. Even boring. Right now, boring looks good.

If that’s the case, why am I acting like a moth circling a flame? I can’t seem to help myself, flitting from CNN to ABC to CBS to The New York Times to the Washington Post (the fake news guys)… and checking out my go-to pundits and comedians. It’s therapeutic to laugh even when it hurts. аI also feel like I’m in the middle of the mother of all reality shows, just waiting to see who’s going to get fired.

But you can’t sustain your sense of balance on a steady diet of insanity and truthiness (thanks, Stephen Colbert). Today it has a new moniker – alternative facts. On top of that, the times are tough for the mentally lazy. All of a sudden, you’re expected to be a critical thinker. You must constantly check your facts and vet your sources. By the way, isn’t that what they’re supposed to teach kids in school?

There’s also a sense of urgency because, as never before, more people stand to lose so much – regardless of whether you identify as red or blue. It’s already beginning to sink in as seen at some town hall meetings where ordinary people are showing up to vent their frustration and anger about such hot button issues as the possible repeal of the Affordable Healthcare Act with no viable replacement in sight, immigration, Russia, and the environment. All of a sudden, it seems like the social contract we had with our government is in danger of unraveling in Washington D.C. -- health care, our kids' and grandkids' education, our jobs, our workers rights, and our retirement savings, to name a few. I’m leaving out the other human rights issues that clearly divide us ideologically (women’s rights, LGBTQs, minorities, Muslims, etc.). And tagging along like a stepchild comes the arts, which are in danger of losing federal funding. One of those is the National Endowment for the Arts.

I know it’s an easy target when political priorities change. You don’t see anyone marching in the streets for the arts, but Lyndon Johnson, who signed the NEA into existence said,а“Art is a nation’s most precious heritage. For it is in our works of art that we reveal to ourselves and to others the inner vision which guides us as a nation. And where there is no vision, the people perish.”

If that’s too high toned for you, here’s what Clifford V. Smith, former president of the General Electric Foundation said:а“GE hires a lot of engineers. We want young people who can do more than add up a string of numbers and write a coherent sentence. They must be able to solve problems, communicate ideas and be sensitive to the world around them. Participation in the arts is one of the best ways to develop these abilities.”

But the best argument came from a 7-year-old boy speaking up at a recent Arakansas town hall meeting held by Republican Sen. Tom Cotton in support of Public Television. Young Toby Smith said, “Donald Trump makes Mexicans not important to people who are in Arkansas who like Mexicans, like me, my grandma, and all my people.”

Here’s the clincher: “And he is deleting all the parks and PBS Kids just to make a wall … and he shouldn’t do that. He shouldn’t do all that stuff for just a wall.”

Yay, Toby.

With so much at stake for Toby and all of us, now more than ever it’s time for reasonable people of all political stripes to start talking to rather than past one another.

The 14th century Persian (Iranian) poet Hafiz had a suggestion.

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Let your

Intelligence begin to rule

Whenever you sit with others

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Using this sane idea:

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Leave all your cocked guns in a field

Far from us,

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One of those damn things

Might go

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Off.

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So check your trigger fingers at the door and let’s start talking.

Before you roll your eyes, I’m not a blindly optimistic Pollyanna who thinks holding hands and singing, “We Are the World” will magically bring us together. But we have to start somewhere.

In the meantime, I’m all for the resistance.

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Just hedging my bets

In case cool heads don’t prevail.

Up the resistance!

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ай Maya Leland 2014