I have solemnly swore to myself that I will stay blog-wise away from the 45th president of the US till 2024. Yes, I still predict T to win again in 2020. The signs are there and honestly I do think that there are enough States out there who are very content & even thrilled with the way things are going down there. No, I am not a citizen myself and so in a way I don’t think that I am impartial enough to give my balanced opinion about how the White House is running the federal government. Still, I have got a very emotional relationship with that gigantic nation that has also shaped me as individual. Having spend there a year myself and having been back already numerous times to visit friends and now also family I do think that I have a deeper insight into a nation that even starts to make less and less sense to many of us.
Not that there is no resistance at work and there are still enough voices out there who do try to point out why many disagree with what is happening. Education and health care are just two of the things that will always make me wonder why they are so differently to our system but believe me in the mindset of many Americans social security is not the holly grail they are after. In the land where many wish to have total freedom about their personal assets and wealth you are not always very willingly to invest into a system that will not automatically guarantee personal benefits. Governmental decisions are considered in many cases a way in which a citizen might feel he/she might loose something he or she is not willingly to give up.
Freedom remains a very hot topic in the US. It is that one word that has shaped the nation. So many adventurous souls have found there what they could not find anymore in Europe or other remote places. It became the place where also many people found the liberty to worship their faith without the fear of being persecuted. Plus that nation has granted over the centuries so many people opportunities to chase after their dreams.
So yes, I still love that country. I wear my class ring still with gratitude and fond memories at heart and at touch down in any American city it does feel like homecoming. Even the most imposing border control officer can not make me crumble. It is part of ‘the game’…and even the insane tipping (or at least when you are used to Belgium) I do with a gigantic smile and gratitude. Customer care is here also a total different ballgame and the weeks after a trip across the ocean I will always be a bit more annoyed how so many sales assistants do not seem to care or give you the cold shoulder. Plus that I will always love to attend a church service in the States. What I always find in a church I have not found anymore in my own nation. Traveling to the US is being able to change gears and activate a certain personal modus that can make me feel so much more alive.
Okay it is also linked with the intense relationships I have over there. That there now also very close people have moved down there makes it of course a bit more personal as well. But still, there are some things that I will never ever get my head around. Not that this also not happens while being at home. One look at the newspaper and I need to run to the chocolate counter of the local supermarket to find some comfort. Once more I have to calm myself down by using the mantra ‘Nobody is perfect’ and honestly I don’t think is there is one nation that has got it all covered. Everywhere there are cracks to be found.
Yesterday I did decide to compose a tweet after trying to put the ‘18th’ shooting in a school in 47 days in the States. Yes, I first did think that these numbers were fake news but in one way they are not. You will even find a recent news article that will tell you that this is not a correct number and that some of these shooting did not involve any school children and have not caused any harm. One of them took place on the roof of an empty closed down school. So even the statistics are under fire when it comes down to getting a point across. Let it sink in, 18 in less than 2 months! Yes, I did predict shortly after that the president would mention rather the mental status of the nation than the fire gun involved in this drama. That there were other more courageous politicians who once again did demand to change the legislation when it comes down to carry a gun was also predictable. Also the calls for prayers for all involved and the gratitude for those who were first responders were not a surprise.
There are so many people who will now make statements why this has happened again. Numbers and statistics are showing up once again and believe me even my nation is not doing so well either when it comes down crime. We have our own problems to tackle and those also involve some irrational issues. Belgium is surreal and many Belgians are aware of it and will not agree with what their government when it comes down to following the law. In case you were wondering if we ever had shootings taking place inside of a school…not that I can think of but a few years ago did a certain individual walk into a day care center and did kill with a knife 2 babies and a day care nurse. A very dark day in our national history.
Can you imagine that you suddenly get a phone call at work from the police telling that your baby has died by a stabbing in a nursery? Unthinkable but it did happen. It happened in Belgium and it did certainly took away a certain feeling of security. The person who did commit these crimes has got mental problems. These seemed to have been ignored and even his parents at the time had tried to point out that they were aware that something was not okay with their son. Despite all the warning signs it still happened…and so we needed action.
Suddenly did many day care centers had to change into fortified safe houses. Security became a major concern. In some cases you might not even know what there is a day care center when you walk or ride by. All for security reasons. There are still people out there who are able to commit crimes and we can all get our hands on a sharp knife. But at least we have taken action towards to keep nurseries safer. Not that this comparison is a suitable one. Still it is action undertaken by individuals who care, deeply care about the safety and wellbeing of others.
Already some parents and students have expressed their opinions. Some of them have done it very fiercely and with a lot of conviction. On top of that I also have read also some news articles who also put in question what these ‘victims’ say now openly. We are even at the point that many will already shake (including elected officials) their heads and say that is won’t make any difference and they are even blaming other officials that this has happened on their watch. Sorry but to use the words of one student that is BS. We all need to start somewhere.
So if then high school students suddenly say that time is up and something needs to change who are we then to say that they do not get their head around government. These are children who go to school, are educated and take exams, write assignments about many subjects. I think they will get their information somewhere and not only from googling it. Plus in the States there is the subject American Government that you can take in high school. From personal experience they very well explain how their government works and laws are made. One of my best teachers at the time in the States was exactly my AG teacher. He made me very much aware how politics and government works and he even made me reflect about how my own government functions. I have not stopped being a critical thinker ever since.
Over all I do personal think that when students and teachers speak up and when a community starts to express their feelings and thoughts about what they think is necessary should that then be ignored? Personal freedom involves also a sense of security. Safeguarded not only by a document written a few centuries ago. If a certain group of people starts to question the situation then I do think that the politicians that have been voted into office have got the obligation to listen to their constituents. Not only to those that have donated freely to their campaign fund. And it is not that because the majority of school children does not have the right to vote yet that they do not matter. That is actually BS!!!!
From a personal experience I do know how the voice and the mind of a teenager can ‘change’ through out puberty but there is also something else that I more and more become aware being a teacher. It are these minds that we help to form and that we get to invest in. Not only parents raise children. It does take a whole village to raise a child….if you then assume that these young minds will remain silent through out their whole teenage period then you must be living on Mars. I keep saying that I as a teacher are the witness of amazing things that can happen in a classroom. It makes me heart jump. Yes chances are like that I would jump in front of a bullet to safe guard all my students because. Not that this part of my job description but honestly when my school goes into practice lockdown modus even then I for a split second become very much aware that I might end up doing the unthinkable. Why because if it is going to happen I might end up do things that I have never ever done before in order to save a life, any life. No matter what. There have been teenagers and teachers inside that school that have done the unthinkable. Even standing against a door to make sure that the shooter would not easily get access into the classroom. I have a child myself who goes to school and I trust the teachers completely that educate A.
That mental issues are a bigger issue is also not a surprise. All around the world do many, young and old, feel the pressure mentally weighing on them. Many call out for help and therapy sessions are now also part of a teenage routine. Yes, there are still people who will not find the help they are after or what that they do not find the right people who can help them due to many reasons. It might take sometimes very scary things before people can/wish to see what is going on inside the brain of someone and even then.
My GP and in-house doc and my father have already numerous times pointed out that medicine is not an exact science. Oh yes, when we are a patient we so much hope that a doctor will help out and get us back on the road to recovery as fast as possible Well, psychology and psychiatry are in a sense more challenging then amputating a leg or arm. Not that that later action will not also affect mentally the patient.
It is a scary world out there and it will remain that. But that that there are people who try very hard to come up with ways to prevent bad things from happening is surely a blessing. No,believe me that day care centers had to start to invest in high tech security measures was not done light hearted. People can still get their hands on knives and even guns. That has not changed but at least many are trying to prevent that it will happen again.
Nope, the US does wish to have a ban on guns….that would be ten bridges too far. Still if you listen very carefully then you hear very clearly that these youngsters wish to be taken serious and that they call for a government that is willingly to admit that there is more to be done than just send over their thoughts and prayers or visiting for a photo opportunity. ‘No, a ban on guns won’t prevent bad things of happening.’, is a very lame excuse not to do something. There are so many ways to try to make society a safer place where the younger generation feels safer and more taken care of. I don’t wish to see the US changing again into wild far West as much as I like the music of Enrico Morricone.
The millennials are told to be a lot that many of us wonder to what the world has come to. But when I hear the students speak up (even the young ones) I am still hopeful. The potential, the dreams, the aspiration, the courage, the creativity, the endurance, the faith, the strength to make a difference in the future is still out there even if when politicians, science and media is telling them that they might end up facing a very dark future. Who are we to deny them a safe world in which they can become the individuals and the society they wish to be? If you dare to call this BS then you take a good look into the mirror and then try to come up with at least one or two names who have granted you opportunities and kept you safe. If your mind remains blank then give it an other shot. Aim right between the eyes because the answer is in front of you. You do not even need a gun to understand this…honestly you do not…many children understand this. And this is not BS….