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photo by DonkeyHotey

I woke up this morning, turned on my radio, and heard a story that happened in my state about a Senator’s son who saw two men in his yard trying to remove his parents’ Romney/Ryan sign. He went out and confronted the men and was severely beaten and choked. Isn’t this trespassing, destruction of property, and assault and battery?

I read numerous reports of threats that if Romney is elected there will be rioting and assassination attempts on his life. People, these candidates are human beings, fathers husbands, sons, and brothers, just like you and me. What gives anyone the right to threaten their lives because they are from a political party other than the one endorsed by the angry, disenfranchised, and out of control?

This past weekend, a man who was issued a four-year restraining order for domestic violence against his wife shot up an area day spa where she worked killing her and two other women and injuring four more before turning the gun on himself.

Seven weeks ago a white supremacist shot up a Sikh temple in a nearby suburb on a beautiful Sunday morning because he didn’t like Muslims, which the Sikhs are not, by the way. They responded by being there for the spa victims this weekend offering hugs, help, and solace.

Our governor was forced to go through a recall election while extremists trashed the capitol building for weeks prior exercising their “freedom of speech” rights. He won a second time. When Milwaukee mayor, Tom Barrett, conceded that election, a woman slapped him in the face because she thought he was conceding before all of the votes were counted in Milwaukee.

I received no less than five pieces of mail today in which political candidates bashed each other and each other’s policies, and nowhere did it say what these candidates were willing to do for me, this state, or our country to solve the problems we face and make the world a better place.

I can’t bring myself to watch the presidential debates because I am beyond sick of the eye-rolling, snorting, interrupting, and out-shouting on both sides of the political divide. Even the moderators are ignored and disrespected.

People. What’s going on? When did it become okay to attack each other ruthlessly for having differing political or religious beliefs? When did it become okay to threaten someone’s life if they get elected to public office? Why aren’t people protected from hatred, sometimes losing their lives for their religion in a country that’s supposed to protect religious freedom? Why are some women still preyed upon by their violent husbands when they’ve filed numerous complaints and received restraining orders, and what effect does a restraining order have exactly?  Apparently none.

Does anyone remember the Golden Rule? I was taught to treat others as I would want to be treated. It is so sad to me that we hide our political persuasion because we are afraid of being bullied or derided for our beliefs. I don’t want to be shouted at or threatened for my political convictions, thank you very much, and I don’t want to have my property destroyed or my children hurt trying to defend it. Nor do I want to be afraid of going to church or a day spa or a movie theater on the chance that I may be shot to death.

I would like to be informed of the POSITIVE plans that the candidates have come up with this election year to fix what’s wrong in this country; I am very well aware of everyone’s shortcomings. I can’t turn on the TV or look in my mailbox without having everyone’s faults and foibles thrown in my face.

While it may sound simplistic and silly, I think we could all use a reminder of what it means to play well with others, to exhibit good manners, and to exercise some self-control. Supposedly everything we need to know about life we learned in kindergarden. I wonder if there’s a refresher course offered somewhere that we could all take.

Update: So I did some searching and here it is. A poem by Robert Fulghum published in 1990 from the book All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten. I think we all can learn a lot from this, and maybe if this kind of thinking catches on the world will be a better and safer place. I just may send a copy to the 2012 candidates.

photo by cleverclaire1983

All I Really Need To Know
I Learned In Kindergarten

by Robert Fulghum

– an excerpt from the book, All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten

All I really need to know I learned in kindergarten.
ALL I REALLY NEED TO KNOW about how to live and what to do
and how to be I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not
at the top of the graduate-school mountain, but there in the
sandpile at Sunday School. These are the things I learned:

Share everything.

Play fair.

Don’t hit people.

Put things back where you found them.

Clean up your own mess.

Don’t take things that aren’t yours.

Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.

Wash your hands before you eat.

Flush.

Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.

Live a balanced life – learn some and think some
and draw and paint and sing and dance and play
and work every day some.

Take a nap every afternoon.

When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic,
hold hands, and stick together.

Be aware of wonder.
Remember the little seed in the styrofoam cup:
The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody
really knows how or why, but we are all like that.

Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even
the little seed in the Styrofoam cup – they all die.
So do we.

And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books
and the first word you learned – the biggest
word of all – LOOK.

Everything you need to know is in there somewhere.
The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation.
Ecology and politics and equality and sane living.

Take any of those items and extrapolate it into
sophisticated adult terms and apply it to your
family life or your work or your government or
your world and it holds true and clear and firm.
Think what a better world it would be if
all – the whole world – had cookies and milk about
three o’clock every afternoon and then lay down with
our blankies for a nap. Or if all governments
had a basic policy to always put things back where
they found them and to clean up their own mess.

And it is still true, no matter how old you
are – when you go out into the world, it is best
to hold hands and stick together.

© Robert Fulghum, 1990.
Found in Robert Fulghum, All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten, Villard Books: New York, 1990, page 6-7.

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