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Sunday Reflections: But What Will the History Books Say?

I had written a fabulous piece about how newspaper headlines refer to women (for example – how they often don’t include their name and refer to their male partners name instead) to post here today. It’s a great piece and I will post it soon. But . . . last night the news came that yes, we now had fairly strong proof that actors from Russia have worked hard to influence our 2016 election here in the United State of America. What’s more disturbing, many of our political leaders seemed to suggest it doesn’t really matter all that much. But it feels like a direct affront to the idea of democracy and to our political sovereignty if you ask me. It’s an assault to our very ideals and foundation. It is, in a word, terrifying.

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So I spent some time last night doing some creative writing and I wrote out a passage that I envisioned from a future history textbook. Creative writing is often something that we ask our teens to engage in so I try to practice the same periodically. I share that passage with you here today. What will the future history textbooks say? Perhaps it will read like this.

Chapter 16: How the Former United States of America became the United Republic of Russia

The United States of America began its slow incorporation into the United Republic of Russia in 2016 when the Republican party chose party over country. Up until the year 2016, The United States of America had a very contentious relationship with Russia, with most of the preceding decades termed a cold War (particularly in the 1980s). Some leaders of the time had warned that Russia was trying to manipulate the 2016 elections in their favor, but the information was buried, particularly by the Republican Party and Mitch McConnell, the President of the Senate at the time.

After an election in which the Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton won one of the largest popular votes in contemporary history (with a lead of 2.7 million votes), the Republican candidate Donald Trump was declared the winner of the electoral college. Soon after, evidence came to light which affirmed that yes, Russia had acted to influence the election and install a puppet candidate that was sympathetic to their cause(s). It also came to light that the Republican Party had known of this information as early as September of 2016 but that they tried to bury that knowledge.

After a loud and concerned public outcry that highlighted how this activity was a direct threat to the nation and its very ideals and foundations, the Republican Party – who had previously spouted patriotic rhetoric and had demanded investigations into things like the Benghazi incident and the Clinton Foundation emails – became suddenly silent about the election scandal, choosing instead to maintain their party’s political dominance that had recently been acquired with the aid, assistance and interference of Russia. Unfortunately, they would soon learn that their political dominance was not in fact a guarantee.

Russia soon came in and slowly dismantled the United States of America piece by piece and law by law. Within a year, the former United States of America became an ecological disaster and a political nightmare as the dictator of Russia, Putin, declared himself to also be the dictator of the USA and renamed the 50 formerly independent states the United Republic of Russia. The United Republic of Russia continues today and its newer citizens do not know the political freedoms their country used to have or the riches they use to share within their borders.

Many members of the Republican Party of the former United States of America would later express regret at the loss of their country, the harm that their choices brought to their families and friends, and the loss of democracy in general, but by then it was far too late for them to do anything to rectify the situation. History judges them, and none too harshly if you ask those who were alive at the time and can remember what it was like to live in the former United States of America.

**Please Note: This history textbook has been banned by the United Republic of Russia and you read it at your own risk.**

Here’s the deal, if you are not concerned that Russia tampered with our democratic election, then you are not fit to serve in a democracy. And I say this to any elected official in any party and in any position. And if you, a citizen of our democratic nation, do not care about this, then perhaps you don’t care about democracy as much as you claim to. This is what’s at stake: democracy.

Spending the Day After the 2016 Election with Teenagers

 

thingsineverlearnedinlibraryschoolI have been a teen services librarian for 22 years, maybe 23. I have sat with teenagers through a lot of moments. Many elections. 9/11. I have talked with them about war, the economy, and yes, about their abortions. Some teenagers we see once or twice, others we come to know more personally. They tell us their hopes and fears. They share who they are at the deepest core of their being. Wednesday I sat in a room of teenagers as they processed what this election meant for them. I tweeted about what I heard and saw and gather those tweets for you here. Listen to our youth, I implore you. We are their voice. Whatever we do next doesn’t just affect us, it affects them. Now and in the future.

 

TLT16
TeenLibrarianToolbox
@TLT16
Yesterday a teen came into the teen MakerSpace. She was shaking and gutted. She was drawn inward when she is usually so outgoing.
a day ago
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@TLT16
Someone asked about the election and she said, “Do you know Pence wants to send gay kids away and torture them until they’re straight?”
a day ago
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TeenLibrarianToolbox
@TLT16
I know but I don’t know who else knew that she identifies as GLBTQ. In fact, 3 of the teens in that room did.
a day ago
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@TLT16
Later a new teen brought up the election and it was getting heated, so I changed the subject. “Buy can we talk about Mike Pence?”, she said.
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TeenLibrarianToolbox
@TLT16
“You’re really scared, aren’t you?”, I asked. “Yes, this cuts into my soul. They hate me,” she said.
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TeenLibrarianToolbox
@TLT16
“They want to send me away and torture me,” she said. Here she was, standing before me, scared and dejected. Not scared, terrified.
a day ago
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TeenLibrarianToolbox
@TLT16
All I could do was tell her this: “There are many, many, adults who love you. We will continue to fight for your safety & civil rights.”
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TeenLibrarianToolbox
@TLT16
But it honestly didn’t feel like much. It felt empty.it felt impotent against the backdrop of her very palpable fear.
a day ago
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@TLT16
We have a handful of black kids who come to our space on a fairly regular basis. And they have increasingly shared the racist insults
a day ago
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that have been hurled at them. We have had to intercede a couple of times in that very space to keep them safe. Racism is very real:
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TeenLibrarianToolbox
@TLT16
I haven’t seen those kids all week. Not once. And I keep hoping they are safe and know that yes, they are loved. I miss them. I fear.
a day ago
Another teen posted this on her social media. She is 13. https://t.co/wb12FiRGYr
Another teen posted this on her social media. She is 13. pic.twitter.com/wb12FiRGYr
TeenLibrarianToolbox@TLT16
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a day ago
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@TLT16
These are kids. Our kids. Our communities. We are supposed to be mentors and role models. And we shape their world. We are responsible.
a day ago
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TeenLibrarianToolbox
@TLT16
But listen, here’s what these examples prove. Our kids are watching. They are listening. They are learning, both the good and the bad.
a day ago
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TeenLibrarianToolbox
@TLT16
We. Must. Do. Better. We must be better. For ourselves. For each other. For them. For our now. For our future.
a day ago