A comment and a post I put up on Facebook today. The comment was in response to a friend who posted about “a segment of the population that acts as if anyone who is accessing their government benefits, they paid into their entire lives, is ripping off the government.”
I often think that people who protest too much about one thing or another are actually reflecting their own fears or weaknesses. They worry about others ripping off the government, because deep down inside, they know that they are getting more out of society than they put in.
I believe that I get much more that what I am justified receiving, not only in terms of services from the government (good libraries, schools, roads, police and fire, etc) than I actually pay for in taxes. Yet I believe that this also reflects the greater condition of mankind, receiving more from God's abundant grace than we deserve.
The other was a snarky comment about a post that one of the campaigns in this year’s Woodbridge Municipal election made about people in local politics having spouses that are involved in local politics. I noted that my campaign manager from my 2012 may have been a distant cousin of mine.
All of these are things I’d like to expound open, if I wasn’t so tired. The next three days will be pretty busy, but then I hope to get a little down time.
Today, in a Facebook discussion about the upcoming Woodbridge municipal elections, one person wrote, “All politicians are liars” and another responded, “They are all a bunch of legalized crooks”. Much of the venom was directed at the challenger, Cathy Wick. It was pointed out that on her website she says she believes zoning commission members should be elected, but that when asked what she would do about issues in the flats, she talked about wanting to appoint someone from the flats to be on zoning.
You can’t have it both ways, the writer complained. I’m not sure these comments are really fair. As much as someone believes zoning commission members should be elected, until that’s the case, they are appointed. One could easily say, I believe members of the zoning commission should be elected to make sure all sections of town are properly represented. Until that happens, I will do everything in my power to make sure that the members are appointed in a manner that I believe best achieves this, including appointing someone from the flats.
Actually, I have to give Cathy a lot of credit for running, twice. Running is hard. I know. I’ve run twice for State Rep and was also elected alternate to the zoning board of appeals. I do not believe that either Ellen or Cathy are crooks or liars. They both have their visions of what’s going on in Woodbridge, and what should be done.
Cathy may not have spoken clearly. She may have a different view of what’s going on in Woodbridge than I do, but I won’t call her a liar. I’ll just acknowledge that Ellen’s description of what is going on in town and what should go on in the future better matches my view.
A friend of mine posted on Facebook yesterday,
It'll be interesting over the next several days to see if my students can make connections between what is happening in Baltimore and our discussions this semester in my Urban Politics class about the formation of ghettos in America's central cities.
My initial reaction was to encourage them to share their thoughts online. How well can they explain what they’ve been learning in Urban Politics and how it relates to what is currently going on? What can others learn from their experiences? Can we have a meaningful discussion?
This led me back to thinking about the #rhizo15. How do we make sense of different perspectives on race in America in an online learning environment? Can online learning circumvent the ghetto walls? Do filter bubbles just create new information ghettos?
It’s late. I’m tired. There is so much more to say about this, about helping people find their voices, about learning to be a motivational listener, about measurement, mastery, and mystery.
It has been a very long day, spending time in a setting with people who seem to approach life very differently than I do. When I got home, I looked online to connect with people a little bit more like me. Some of this was preparation for Podcamp Western Mass 7, which happens tomorrow. Will parts of my tribe be there? What will we talk about?
I haven’t seen much discussion online this year from people going to Podcamp or topics they are interested in, so we’ll see who is there and what they are interested in.
After this, I hopped over to some of the #rhizo15 discussions. We’ll see if there are folks at Podcamp who are interested in #rhizo15. I suspect there may be a few, which would be cool.
Lisa Chamberlin tweeted,
So how do we reconcile #freerangelearning (my term for "learning is not a countable noun") with reportable results (and funding)? #rhizo15
It turns out that a #freerangelearning has been a pretty active hashtag over the past few years. Perhaps it captures some of the ideas I’ve talked about when I refer to myself as a wandering autodidact. Whatever meaning people are attributing to #freerangelearning I’ll try to do some of it at Podcamp, some of it as part of #Rhizo15, some of it by blogging, some of it by following the hashtag, and, if I get a little free time, I might even do a little light reading of Deleuze and Guattari before bed time.
P.S. Fun tweet from my wanderings "I told them we could measure learning." pic.twitter.com/kf4yWebDe3
Recently, someone posted in the #rhizo15 group on Facebook, that they were 60 years old and guessed that they were one of the older people around. Soon, several people posted about being in their fifties and believing that many of the people in the group were. I wonder what the demographics really are. I also wonder to what extent it really matters. As we construct our online identities, how much do, or should constructs like age, gender, or even species really matter?
I am, however, interested in a different demographic. I get a sense that most of the participants are academics who read Deleuze and Guattari for fun. I imagine the Venn diagraph of academics and people who read D+G for fun. I suspect that the subset of academics that read D+G for fun is pretty small, relatively speaking, and the subset of non-academics that read D+G for fun is even smaller. (Is there anyone else reading this who identify themselves this way?)
As I write this, I suspect that the closest I get to being an academic is being a teaching assistant in the school of hard knocks.
There is also a discussion about the relationship between connectivism and rhizomatic learning. This sounds like a discussion for the academics. For me, I’m curious about the learning that exists outside of academia, that might be rhizomatic, or might be done better rhizomaticly.
How do we learn about political candidates in the twenty first century? How do we learn about what is going on in our government? How does journalism fit into all of this? I’ve kicked around the idea of setting up a learning platform, like Moodle to learn about and discuss legislation being considered in our state legislature.