Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick Touts Need To Arm Teachers

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) on Sunday pushed for arming teachers and reducing the number of entrances into school buildings after the latest mass shooting at a U.S. school afflicted his state.

Patrick, a staunch conservative, appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union” and ABC’s “This Week” to discuss responses after a lone gunman opened fire at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas, on Friday, killing eight students and two teachers.

“There was a teacher next door, a (former) Marine, who saw what was going on… Some feel had he been able to carry a gun, he could have stopped that shooter,” he told host Jake Tapper on the CNN program. 

Patrick said that as he visited a hospital on Friday night where some of those wounded in the shooting had been treated, students and parents alike said that teachers should be armed. 

He told “This Week” host Geroge Stephanopoulos that “our teachers are part of that well-run militia,” a mangled reference to the language of the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment. That amendment says that a “well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

“It’s guns that also stop crimes,” Patrick added.

Under a school marshal program in Texas that has been cited approvingly by President Donald Trump, teachers can carry guns on campus, with local officials ultimately making the call on whether that is allowed.

Patrick also said that the issue underlying the raft of school shootings plaguing the U.S. isn’t access to guns, but that “it’s about us.”

“We have devalued life, whether it’s through abortion, whether it’s the breakup of families, through violent movies, and particularly violent video games which now outsell movies and music,” he said.

He also reiterated the suggestion he first made Friday immediately after the shooting that school campuses be redesigned to have fewer entrances. 

“We need to get down to one or two entrances to our schools. We have to funnel our students into our schools so we can put eyes on them,” he said. 

Even before Friday’s shooting, several Republican politicians, including Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Sen. Ted Cruz, have been calling for training teachers to carry firearms. 

Trump repeatedly pushed that idea after the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, in which 17 people were killed.

This story has been updated with the direct language of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Video: Texas Governor Comments on Santa Fe High Shooting

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  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.

Source Article from https://www.yahoo.com/news/texas-lt-gov-dan-patrick-154358443.html

Parkland student: Trump’s stance to arm teachers is ‘crazy’

President Trump spent the last few days at the NRA convention in Dallas where he went into detail about his pro-gun approach in schools.

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EXCLUSIVE: As Teachers Forced to Beg for Money, Govt Can’t Find $1 BILLION They Should Already Have

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More than 30,000 teachers gathered to protest at the Oklahoma State Capitol this week, and while they are demanding that the state pass a bill that would provide an additional $150 million in education funding, some taxpayers are questioning why the teachers aren’t calling for the government to be held accountable for the way it is spending the money it already has.

While teachers march with signs that say “Fund Our Schools” and they share photos online of dilapidated textbooks that need to be replaced, they are calling on the state to solve their problems by increasing taxes. However, a study conducted by the 1889 Institute revealed that in 2014, only 48 percent of public school revenue came from the state.

The other 41 percent of revenue came from the district and 11 percent came from the federal government. Even if the state increased taxes and allocated more money for the education budget, the state’s more than 500 districts are responsible for determining the salaries of teachers and support staff as long as they are over a state minimum schedule.

Each of the districts is also fully equipped with a superintendent and administrative staff, raising concern among parents about how much school officials are being paid while the teachers who work directly with students receive a significantly lower salary.

Steve Dickson, an Oklahoma resident and political insider, told The Free Thought Project that he started studying the state’s budget for education when he heard teachers complaining about a lack of funds for school supplies.

“The teachers say they don’t have money for class supplies, but I have three kids in elementary school and I probably spend $150 for school supplies for each of them at the beginning of the year—two boxes of crayons, three boxes of Kleenex, Clorox wipes, reams and reams of paper,” Dickson said. “I’m sure the teachers are spending money too, but I don’t think they should have to. I don’t know where the money is going that the school districts are getting.”

Dickson said that when looking at the state’s education budget and the amount that is allocated for each student, he started questioning why the teachers were receiving such low salaries, yet the budget was already so large.

“We have a major corruption problem, and this is my biggest problem with the state government,” Dickson said. “I don’t think teachers get paid enough money and I don’t know anyone that does. If you’re paying $7,000 per student and you have 20 students in a class, that’s $140,000. If the teacher is getting paid $35,000, then where is the rest of the money going?”

Dickson said he is also worried about a number of financial scandals that have recently come to light, and how the state government plans to distribute funds in order to cover the costs of corruption within other state agencies.

In November 2017, the Oklahoma State Department of Health requested $30 million from the State Legislature and claimed that its 2,600 employees would not be paid if the request was not granted by the end of the month.

Interim Health Commissioner Preston Doerflinger said that the funding gap has accumulated over the last 6 years in which department officials regularly overspent on programs and covered it up by funneling money through internal systems.

“The budgets being presented to us were balanced budgets,” Doerflinger said. “At the end of the day, it is fund accounting, but we had monies being moved from various funds—in some cases, restricted funds—to be utilized for operations.”

Last week, a federal report revealed that the Oklahoma City Veterans Affairs Health Care System made $7 million in improper payments to the University of Oklahoma’s medical school in 2015 and 2016. The VA’s inspector general also found that several part-time doctors were being paid for times when there is no evidence that they were treating patients.

In another case, taxpayers in the state will be forced to pay $140 million in emergency funds after the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center and the Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences were caught using an expired waiver to receive inflated reimbursements from the Medicare and Medicaid centers.

The waiver program expired in 2001, which means that fraud has been ongoing for the last 17 years. While Oklahoma doctors who treat Medicaid patients are usually reimbursed at around 86 percent, the doctors who treated Medicaid patients through the OU and OSU health sciences centers were being reimbursed at a rate of 140 percent.

The state government was also forced to appropriate an additional $10.1 million for the Education Lottery Trust Fund after it was revealed last year that lottery funds had been used to supplant education funding instead of enhancing it. The actual funds that were budgeted appear to have disappeared, and there is no ongoing public investigation to locate the money.

Despite the fact that each of the scandals listed above has received significant media attention, there are a number of officials who have not faced any charges for their involvement. Instead, the agencies have turned to the state and asked for more money to cover-up the problem, and Dickson told TFTP he believes that the same thing will happen if taxes are increased in the name of additional education funding.     

“We’re paying a lot of money, but we’re not getting enough results for it,” Dickson said. “The teachers certainly aren’t getting paid enough, there’s too much administration, and then we’re raising taxes that I frankly think are going to get diverted to cover the losses from other mismanaged state agencies.”

In addition to money from taxes, the state of Oklahoma uses a variety of methods to fund public education. One of those methods is derived from the fees Oklahoma receives from its Class III Gaming compact with the Native American tribes in the state. In 2016 alone, the state of Oklahoma collected more than $132 million in tribal gaming exclusivity fees under the state-tribal gaming compact, according to an annual report.

Sonya Nevaquaya, a former tribal leader for the Comanche Tribe, told TFTP that while the tribes are forced to abide by strict rules and audits, the state government faces little accountability regarding how it spends the money it receives from the compact, which has totaled more than $1 billion since 2005.

1.123 BILLION DOLLARS has been paid into the state of Oklahoma from all the tribes in Oklahoma that have had a Class III Gaming Compact with the State since 2005,” Nevaquaya said. “This money is supposed to be for education—we the tribes get audited every single year to ensure the State is receiving every cent for Class III gaming if there are findings the state will fine the tribe. My question is, where has all of this money gone and who is auditing the state of Oklahoma for this Gaming Compact money from the tribes?”

Nevaquaya took to Facebook to share her grievances in a status that received more than 13,000 shares in two days. She said her goal was to inspire teachers to start demanding the state government face standards similar to the ones it requires from each of the tribes.

Teachers, ask the governor, ‘where did this 1.123 BILLION dollars go to?” Nevaquaya said. “The Compact expires in 2020—this is where tribal leadership should come together to negotiate a stronger Compact that can allocate money to all school districts and communities for education funding. We also need to have an audit performed on that State Compact gaming money to ensure the tribes and school communities the revenue from the tribal casinos Class III Games given to the state is accounted for by an actual paper trail.”

At the end the day, it is no secret that public school teachers in Oklahoma deserve a higher salary and access to updated textbooks and school supplies. But the long list of scandals that have been revealed in recent months involving the state’s agencies and the glaring lack of accountability among the officials who were involved serve as a reminder that simply increasing taxes will not solve the problems that are plaguing public education in the state of Oklahoma.

Source Article from http://thefreethoughtproject.com/oklahoma-teachers-protest-billions/

UK funding 33,000 teachers promoting jihad & martyrdom in Palestine schools, minister admits

In his answers given to the UK Parliament, Minister of State for International Development Alistair Burt confirmed that British taxpayers’ money is funding the wages of some 33,000 teachers who use the new curriculum.    

Earlier last week, Burt said that “all of their [the Palestinian Authority’s] schools in the West Bank are using the revised 2017 PA curriculum. UK-funded public servants and teachers … are therefore involved,” the Sunday Times cited him as saying, adding that £20 million (US$24.6 million) was spent on supporting Palestinians last year alone.

Study material from the schools in Palestine pushes children toward violence, a review by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se) discovered back in October 2017. It said the school program not only demonized Israel but also “provided a rationale for war.”

“The curriculum exerts pressure over young Palestinians to acts of violence in a more extensive and sophisticated manner,” IMPACT-se wrote. “The discourse is couched in terms of nationalist and religious martyrdom, across science, literature, history and religious education textbooks.” The report provides numerous illustrations supporting the claim. It describes how violence has even penetrated physics textbooks.

“A science textbook teaches Newtonian gravity through the image of a boy with a slingshot targeting soldiers, to explain power, mass, and tensile strength,” the watchdog wrote in the report. “An eleventh-grade physics textbook teaches circular motion through the use of a slingshot in another clash with IDF soldiers.”

Another textbook encourages nine-year-olds to be martyrs with a picture of students looking at their friend’s empty desk with the sign “The Martyr.” A poem in a history book meanwhile calls for violent resistance against Israel: “I vow I shall sacrifice my blood to saturate the land of the generous and will remove [uzilu] the usurper from my country will exterminate [ubidu] the remnants of the foreigners.”

Sacrifice of life is also widely encouraged, as dying is “better” than living: “Drinking the cup of bitterness with glory is much sweeter than a pleasant long life accompanied by humiliation.” Martyrdom and jihad are “the most important meanings of life,” claims one fifth grade Arabic-language textbook.

“Giving one’s life [fida’], sacrifice, fight, jihad and struggle are the most important meanings of life, especially for a people suffering from the scourge of occupation, of siege, repression, harassment, demolition and arrest,” another page says.

The Palestinian Authority introduced the new school curriculum for grades 5-11 in August. It is the first full reform of the Palestinian curriculum since 2000.

MP Joan Ryan, chairwoman of Labor Friends of Israel, has slammed the funding of Palestinian schools that use the curriculum.

“It is absolutely appalling that UK taxpayers’ money is helping to support the teaching of a curriculum which incites violence and terrorism and spreads anti-Semitism,” she told the Sunday Times. “The government must immediately suspend all aid to the Palestinian Authority until it commits to wholesale and urgent revisions of the curriculum.”

The Department for International Development said in a statement to the newspaper: “Our support is helping around 25,000 young Palestinians go to school each year. The UK government strongly condemns all forms of violence and incitement to violence.”

Source Article from https://www.rt.com/uk/422968-britain-palestinian-schools-jihad/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

School District Arms Teachers With ‘Bucket Of Rocks’ To Defend Students From Mass Shooters

Schuylkill County, PA – A school district has announced that in its attempt to stop a possible mass shooter from killing students and teachers, every teacher will be armed with a 5-gallon bucket of rocks.

Blue Mountain School District Superintendent David Helsel told WBRE News that he believes this strategy will provide an unexpected line of defense that could take out the shooter, without him realizing what hit him.

“We’re empowering our teachers and our students to do something,” Helsel said. “They hit somebody in the head it could actually knock them out or even hit them in the temple, it could kill them.”

The school district consists of 2,600 students in three elementary schools, one middle school, and a high school, and while it may be one of the first to announce its plan to arm teachers with rocks, Helsel said the plan has been in the works for nearly two years, and it is the most he can do to arm teachers under the current laws.

Randy Nunemacher, a middle school math teacher, was supportive of the idea. He told WBRE, “We’re going to throw them at a person who comes through the door as hard as we can.”

Middle school math teacher Jill Kerstetter said she believes this plan gives power to both the teachers and the students because the students can also take part in throwing rocks at an intruder.

It gives me just a little bit of confidence to know that our students aren’t just sitting targets,” Kerstetter said. “I’m not sure anyone has one answer, but doing something is better than sitting doing nothing.

The announcement comes at a time when the country is debating whether teachers who have concealed handgun licenses and have received the proper training should be allowed to carry guns in the classroom.

Following a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, student Colton Haab spoke out in support of arming teachers and faculty. He said that he believes football Coach Aaron Feis, who was one of the 17 people killed in the massacre, may have been able to take down the shooter if he had been allowed to carry his gun on campus.

“I believe if we did bring firearms on campus to teachers that are willing to carry their firearm on school campuses—and they got their correct training for it—I think that would be a big beneficial factor for school safety,” Haab said. “Because if Coach Feis had had his firearm in school that day, I believe that he most likely could’ve stopped the threat.”

There are a number of public schools in the United States that allow teachers to carry concealed weapons, based on the belief that replacing “gun-free” zones with warnings of armed personnel, will serve as a much stronger deterrent to intruders.

The Harold Independent School District in Texas was one of the first in the country to allow concealed carry, and Superintendent David Thweatt told KFDX News that not only are the weapons concealed, but the faculty members who carry them are approved by the school board, they receive additional training, and their identities are not made public.

“They keep it on them at all times,” Thweatt said. “Folks who come in, if they are coming in to do something like just happened, then they don’t know where they are going to meet resistance and that is very critical to our plan. So, it’s very simple, train the individuals and keep them here. Make sure people know that is exactly what we will do to answer an intruder.”

The debate over whether teachers should be armed also comes at a time when school resource officers are failing to protect students. In addition to a number of school cops who have been caught on camera harming students, the sheriff’s deputy who was on duty at the high school in Parkland chose to wait outside of the school while children were murdered inside, instead of putting his own safety at risk.

Former deputy Scot Peterson can be seen on surveillance footage standing outside of the building and refusing to go inside and confront the shooter, even after he said over his police radio, “Be advised we have possible, could be firecrackers, I think we have shots fired, possible shots fired—1200 building.”

In the case of the Blue Mountain School District, Superintendent Helsel said he hopes the 5-gallon bucket of rocks in each classroom will serve as a deterrent to would-be school shooters who consider targeting their district.

Source Article from http://thefreethoughtproject.com/school-district-arms-teachers-bucket-rocks-defend-students-shooters/

Nets Fearmonger Over Teachers With Guns in Schools

On Wednesday evening, the CBS Evening News and the NBC Nightly News both seized on a few instances of school teachers — a tiny number out of more than three million teachers nationally — who accidentally fired guns in schools as the networks tried to undermine the push for training some teachers to carry guns.

CNN’s Early Start earlier in the day also hyped one of the California story as anchors Dave Briggs and Christine Romans also marveled over a gun control group placing 7,000 shoes on the Capitol Lawn to commemorate gun-related child deaths.

Referring to gun accidents in California and in Virginia, NBC host Lester Holt talked up the “outrage” over the incidents: “With school safety and the debate over arming teachers in the headlines, outrage is erupting over two incidents in our nation’s schools that could have easily turned deadly.”

After correspondent Miguel Almaguer began his report by informing viewers that a teacher in California with law enforcement experience accidentally shot a gun into the ceiling, causing minor injuries to three students from fragments, the NBC reporter then showed a soundbite of an unidentified man dismissing the idea of arming teachers: “We’re talking about arming teachers, and the security personnel that are trained can’t seem to make it work.”

Almaguer then recounted the case of a teacher in Alexandria, Virginia, who accidentally fired a gun in his office without even injuring anyone. Then came a soundbite of school superintendent Lois Berlin fretting over the possibility of arming teachers: “When we talk about arming teachers, that’s what worries me because we had this happen with someone who is a highly trained officer.”

The NBC correspondent then ominously concluded: “Coast to coast, students put in danger by the very people in charge of their safety.”

On the CBS Evening News, host Jeff Glor included the California case in the opening tease: “Also tonight, three California high school students are injured when a teacher accidentally fires a weapon.”

As he introduced the report, Glor warned that the California case was not “an isolated incident.” Correspondent Mireya Villareal began by recalling the California case before moving to that in Virginia. She then brought up a third case from a couple of weeks ago in which a school teacher with a mental disorder was arrested for firing a gun in his classroom. She then fretted: “Incidents like these come amid calls to arm teachers in schools nationwide.”

On the same day’s Early Start, CNN anchors Briggs and Romans also brought up the California story in a brief after they recalled the liberal anti-gun group protesting in D.C.

Notably, a few weeks ago, when ABC and FNC both gave substantial attention to the case of two women who were caught on video using guns to defend themselves from an armed robbery, CBS, NBC and CNN all seemed uninterested in showing viewers an example of how beneficial a gun can be to fight off a criminal as they completely ignored the story.

In fact, all one has to do is visit websites like selfdefensegunstories.com or concealedamerica.com, or just do a Google search to find many recent local reports of people who have used guns to defend themselves from home invasions, robberies, sexual assaults, and other crimes all over the country. There are even recent cases of armed citizens rescuing lone police officers who were being overpowered by criminals — one in Jacksonville, Florida, and one in Springfield, Utah.

Other notable cases are women fighting off sex offenders in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and Blakely, Georgia.

There’s even a man in Oswego, Illinois, who used an AR-15 to defend his neighbors from a knife attack. 

Source Article from https://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/nb/brad-wilmouth/2018/03/15/nets-fearmonger-over-teachers-guns-schools

Trump Announces Support For Arming Teachers, Backpedals On Gun Purchase Age

The White House announced support Sunday for firearms training for some teachers to protect schools, and has backed off an earlier call by President Donald Trump to raise the age individuals can purchase assault-style weapons from 18 to 21.

The series of proposals generally fall in line with what the National Rifle Association supports in the wake of the massacre last month at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that killed 17 people.

On Monday morning, Trump reiterated the proposals in a series of tweets. He defended his plan to allow “highly trained expert teachers” in schools, also saying that “armed guards [are] OK,” calling them a “deterrent!”

Regarding raising the minimum gun purchase age to 21, he deferred to state lawmakers, claiming that there is “not much political support (to put it mildly).” The NRA opposes the measure.

The nation’s largest teachers lobby, the National Education Association, is adamantly opposed to Trump and the NRA’s controversial initiative to arm teachers. An armed teacher in Georgia last month fired his handgun after he barricaded himself in a high school classroom, where he was eventually arrested by police. NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre touted arming teachers in a speech last month to the Conservative Political Action Conference. The White House plan would involve funding to provide weapons training for teachers.

Trump’s apparent reversal from proposing to raise the age young people can buy military assault-style weapons like the AR-15 that was used in the Parkland school shooting is a startling turnaround. It comes just weeks after he taunted legislators, saying that they were “afraid of the NRA,” while he was not. Trump specifically asked Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) if the senator had left raising the minimum age for gun purchases out of his bill strengthening background checks because senators “are afraid of the NRA.” 

Last month, Trump said in a meeting with legislators: “Now, this is not a popular thing to say, in terms of the NRA. But I’m saying it anyway. You can’t buy [a handgun until] until you’re 21. But you can buy the kind of weapon used in the school shooting at 18. I think it’s something you have to think about.”

On Friday, Florida Republican Gov. Rick Scott — a longtime NRA member — signed a bill into law raising the minimum age for all gun purchase from 18 to 21. But the NRA almost immediately sued to block the law and protect the “constitutional rights” of would-be gun buyers under the age of 21. The state’s controversial “guardian program” — opposed by the Florida Education Association — will allow some school employees and teachers to carry handguns with law enforcement training if a school district agrees to participate in the program.

The White House guns plan also includes support for a bill, known as the “Fix NICS” measure, designed to improve background checks for gun purchases. But it does not contain universal background checks, which would be far more effective. 

“Fix NICS” is a bill sponsored by Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) to bolster the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) by improving the flow of information into it from states and various federal agencies. But the measure is far less ambitious than universal background checks, which would include private sales, such as those that often occur at gun shows.

The White House announced that the president is establishing a federal commission on school safety, to be chaired by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, that will explore possible solutions to school shootings. It may consider the age young people can purchase guns, the Washington Post reported Sunday. But nothing in the current White House proposals address raising the minimum age for buyers.

DeVos called the proposals a “pragmatic plan” to increase school safety, the Post reported.

Several Democrats slammed the proposals. “This plan is weak on security and an insult to the victims of gun violence,” Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) said in a statement. “When it comes to keeping our families safe, it’s clear that President Trump and Congressional Republicans are all talk and no action.”

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This story has been updated with Trump’s tweets on Monday morning.

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.

Source Article from https://www.yahoo.com/news/white-house-announces-support-arming-015319758.html

9 Buddhist Teachers Share Their Opinion On Trump’s Presidency


BLuke Miller Truth Theory

Donald Trump has really shaken up politics and the world in general, firstly he won a race in which he was ruled out from the start, then he has continually hit the headlines for his outspoken opinions and actions. Regardless of your thoughts on Trump, 2 things that have happened as a result of his presidency is shock and change. It is relative if you think this is a good thing, a bad thing or a mixture of the 2, but it has shaken the world.

The opinions included in this article are not ours, but the perspective of 9 Buddhist teachers compiled from website Lions Roar.

Pema Chödrön

“During difficult times like this, I’m feeling that the most important thing is our love for each other and remembering to express that and avoid the temptation to get caught in negative and aggressive thinking. Instead of polarizing, this is a chance to stay with the groundlessness. I’ve been meditating and getting in touch with a deep and profound sadness. It’s hard to stay with that much vulnerability but that’s what I’m doing. Groundlessness and tenderness and sadness have so much to teach us. I’m feeling that it’s a time to contact our hearts and to reach out and help in anyway we can.”

Norman Fischer, Everyday Zen Foundation

“I usually don’t completely believe what I think, so when Trump won the election I was, like everyone else, surprised, but not that surprised. Bodhisattvas are committed to their practice, which means to sit, to get up, and to sweep the garden — the whole world, close in and far away — every day, no matter what. They have always done this, they always will. Good times, bad times, they keep on going just the same. Bodhisattvas play the long game. They have confidence in the power of goodness over time. And they know that dark times bring out the heroic in us.

For those older among us who hold liberal and progressive political views, let’s not forget we survived Nixon, Reagan, and Bush. It wasn’t pleasant but we survived. We will survive Trump. This is not to say that the policies of those presidents weren’t bad, and that they did not make any lasting impact. They were and they did. Still, we survived. We will survive Trump. As of today, we don’t really know what will happen under Trump because nothing he has said so far means much. He seems not to have much commitment to his own words.

We have been fortunate to have had eight years with a decent, intelligent, thoughtful and caring human being in the White House. This is more we would have expected. Lets not forget that the same people who elected Obama elected Trump.

It’s OK to freak out, grieve, and vent for a while. Holds each others’ hands. Then we can get back to work, as always, for the good.

Think of what the Dalai Lama has gone through in his lifetime. He maintains daily practice, he maintains kindness for everyone, though he has lost his country and his culture at the hands of a brutal regime. Yet he doesn’t hate the Chinese and finds redeeming features in them. He maintains his sense of humor. He has turned his tragedy into a teaching for the world.

Lets do the same.”

Roshi Pat Enkyo O’Hara, Village Zendo

“We are all reeling from the election news. For most of us, it is unexpected and frightening. Naturally, we ask ourselves what teaching can support us and empower us at this time. I think of Avalokitesvara, the Bodhisattva of Compassion who “hears the sounds of the world.”

And I realize how vital it is for all of us to listen to all the sounds of this unhappy nation. What suffering has led to the anger and hatred that has arisen? And, why are so many of us surprised at this outpouring? Perhaps we have not been listening to the cries of the world with ears of wisdom and determination.

This we must do, listen carefully, and while listening, we must move with determination to organize, to mobilize, and to find new ways to create change in civil rights, climate change, media ethics, and to inform and enlighten all the people, so that we can in fact relieve suffering and care for this planet, these peoples, all of us.”

Noah Levine, Against The Stream

“Here in the United States of Samsara ignorance is the status quo. The Buddha’s teachings guide us to go “against the stream” to develop wisdom and compassion through our own direct actions. As the path encourages, “Even amongst those who hate, we live with love in our hearts. Even amongst those who are blinded by greed and confusion, we practice generosity, kindness and clear seeing.”

Meditate and Destroy!”

Ethan Nichtern, Shambhala Meditation Center of New York

“When I was a child in New York City, I used to imagine that I lived in an island off the coast of America which was neither part of the continent nor the country. In the middle of the night last night, that childhood fantasy came back to me, but it was only wishful thinking. In fact, the source of all this disruption hails from the same city, which is a great reminder that we are all connected. I am a citizen of the mainland United States and I remain a very proud and patriotic one.

Right now my mindfulness practice is dedicated to my many friends who are expressing such unbearable hurt and fear at the hatred and abuse which this current version of America has directed at them. My many friends who are women, People of Color, members of the LGBT community, immigrants, and non-Christians are all rightfully expressing their fear and traumas right now, and I want to especially be there for them.

Soon, perhaps, I will try to make contact with those I know who voted for this outcome and do my best to listen to their fears and desires as well. I have no idea how that will go but I will do my best.

I also feel at least some optimism that this outcome sharpens and clarifies where humanity stands in the 21st-century. All of us must come together with empathy and connection if we are going to survive this era.

Tomorrow I will try to follow the lead of those whose vision I trust to see how I can help move our world forward with compassion. But today, it is OK to grieve the fact that we have taken a massive emotional and spiritual step backwards. Please remember, the point of meditation is not to suppress your feelings. It is to make friends with yourself. On days like this, meditation is simply a way to remember a glimmer of your own basic goodness. Please remember it is OK to feel exactly what you feel.

In loving kindness and solidarity with the human race, Ethan.”

Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, Still Breathing Zen Meditation Center

“Today, after the 2016 elections in the U.S., we are living out the example of what happens when what goes unacknowledged surfaces and it feels like a new reality but you know in your heart it is not. To suffer based on expectations is to live haunted and hunted. But we are fortunate. There could be no other answer to our meditation and prayers in dissolving hatred than to be placed front and center with it and be exposed. When a shift in a system has occurred, especially one that causes fear and discomfort, it allows for something strikingly different to appear, furthering our evolution as people. We can only know where we are going when we get there.

Many of us have been practicing Buddha’s teachings or walking a spiritual journey forever and preparing for every moment of our existence. We are ready and have been waiting for this time. Our rage, pain, and anger are to be exposed if only for us to transform and mature with it. In Buddhist practice we say congratulations because now is the time we have been practicing for. No more just practicing the dance. We must now dance. And this is not a dress rehearsal.”

Roshi Joan Halifax, Abbot, Upaya Zen Center

“Standing at the edge of this election, it’s clear we have our work cut out for us. It is the work of love and wisdom in the face of the terrible suffering of war, environmental issues, racism, gender violence, and economic injustice. We have to work together to shift the tide toward what will benefit our children, the natural world, the future. Part of this means that we have to change the mind, move out of harsh negativity, eroding futility and fear, and build toward the good and the wise. We also have to work to shift the mood of the country and of the world through compassionate education, deep practice, and service to others.

Let’s reach through differences, listen deeply, and “give no fear.”

So please, stop and look deeply, and let’s work together in not building a contentious future, but a generative one. And let’s not pretend we know, but be open and learn; let’s bear witness to what is happening in our country, in our world, and take wise, compassionate, and courageous responsibility. Let’s reach through differences, listen deeply, and “give no fear.”

Here are the four great vows of the Bodhisattvas in community:

Creations are numberless, we vow to free them.

Delusions are inexhaustible, we vow to transform them.

Reality is Boundless, we vow to perceive it.

The awakened way is unsurpassable, we vow to embody it.

…. do not squander life!”

James Ishmael Ford, Boundless Way Zen

“I rather feel like I’ve awakened on the day after the apocalypse. As a member of the progressive community I am shocked and profoundly saddened by Trump’s campaign, which unapologetically appealed to fear of, if not outright hatred of pretty much all others. He casually insulted anyone not precisely like him, and frankly seemed to be little more than an incarnation of America’s Id. And, whatever I think of him and that campaign, while he in fact does not seem to have won a majority of America’s voters over, he did win the Electoral College and with that the election.

So, what now? I find a couple of emotions rising within my heart. One is to flee. I understand Canada’s immigration website crashed due to the number of visits to it last night. Of course that also represents all the privilege I bring along with being white and male and middle class. And beyond those immediate facts, I am cautioned by the Buddha’s “last temptation,” to take the peace and equanimity he found and to retire from the world. While he was a renunciant, he did not retire away from the world, but rather brought his monastic practice into the larger community, and continued to live and teach among people living in the world. The deeper point to this is that we are in fact made up of the world and there is no escape.

The other emotion racing over my heart has been to place blame, mostly on others, but also on myself. What would have been a better, or more skillful, simply put, more successful strategy? Who is responsible for this mess? And what shortcomings are at fault? These are in fact important things to consider, particularly those relevant to our own individual hearts, but to take a necessary step and make it what we’re about would be just one more mistake on a long list of mistakes. In this world we have to make decisions and some large percentage of them will be wrong. I’m ever mindful of our popular Western adaptation of something Eihei Dogen said, “one continuous mistake.”

So, what to do? What to do?

For me I find a couple of things are critical. One is to not forget my practice. Taking time and returning to the pillow is critical. For all sorts of reasons, but most of all to help me recall the fundamental matters of presence and intimacy.

The bottom line is recalling there is no separation. Another is to recall all the suffering of the world. For me this starts with those who are terrorized by the event, the immigrant, the person of color, the GBLT person, women, everyone who seems themselves the target of Mr Trump’s campaign of purity. But, also, to recall the hurt and fear that led so many people to support him. To simply dismiss their emotions by cavalier broad struck condemnations, while it feels good, and I do like doing that, ultimately does no good. The Buddha was right in the great play of cause and effect we are all of us caught up in layer upon layer of grasping after things in flux.

For me the bottom line is recalling there is no separation. We have to act. There is no alternative. But, what will that action look like? More hate? More blame and condemnations? Or, can we genuinely recall there is in the last analysis no goal, but only the path? I think, feel, believe, if we can recall that last thing, we are all of us in this together, we are all of us, at the end, one; well, then ways through will appear.

We met the enemy and he is us. We met the friend and he is us. That is the secret that will win the ultimate victory.”

Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche

“On this cheerful unaffected glorious day of democracy playing itself out, I am as shocked as many of you are by the election results. But, as Americans, we must respect the democratic system that our country was built upon, and welcome its results. Trump has won, and now we must see what happens next. While firmly believing in, and defending, one’s values and principles, we must also give this new president-elect the benefit of the doubt, and be open to see what he and his new administration can do for the good of our country. We want to honor the voice of many and trust in the goodness of the country. We want to respect our differences and also believe that there is goodness in everyone. We cannot afford to fall into pessimism. We must continually see where we can unite and keep looking forward together as this new era unfolds, without fixed pre-concepts.”

Image Credit1: Copyright: Wikipedia

Image Credit2: Copyright: lisastrachan / 123RF Stock Photo

I am Luke Miller the author of this article, and creator of Potential For Change. I like to blend psychology and spirituality to help you create more happiness in your life.Grab a copy of my free 33 Page Illustrated eBook- Psychology Meets Spirituality- Secrets To A Supercharged Life You Control Here

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