Today I … thought of this picture because my meandering mind was all over the place! It was painted by a former student . It was a very interesting person with a very complex background. While he was in my class he was having a show of his paintings. I went to see them and was overwhelmed since all of them were in this style. I planned on purchasing something but as I look at the paintings I wondered what I would see that I could buy. Then there it was – this picture. It spoke to me loudly and I do believe many of you can identify with it. The brain is on such overload you just want it to shut up. So as I continue with this article I’m sure you’ll understand why posting the picture was a necessity!
Why am I thinking of all these things? Being chair of the women studies program. Bernie Sanders and young people. Jean Houston’s comment so many years ago “ there must be breakdown before there can be breakthrough”. Recent book she published 2012 and restates that phrase but goes on to say “we are in breakdown now”. Wow! 2012? John Gardner - I recently re-ordered his book Self Renewal as it was one of many I gave away as I left Illinois to move to New Mexico 20 years ago.
But why did I buy it even then? Who told me about it? Can’t remember any connection! Go get your new copy and check the date. Can’t do that either as the chest that has new books that I want to read is currently blocked by a couch, and I can’t move it because of my recent heart surgery. #*=&@ !!!!!!! Calm down! Not good for your blood pressure! Breathe! You can solve this! Of course I can; google Mr. Gardner on my IPad. Oh my! Now all this crazy stuff makes sense.
My last year before taking early retirement at SIUE, the Women’s Studies Program was in danger of being cut. Some of the women wanted me to be Chair and fight. After all, I was taking early retirement . What could they do to me. I was a little embarrassed because as I’ve said somewhere else on one of these pieces student said I have been liberated all my life which I guess was true. While I certainly was very familiar with the national leaders at that time, I had never really been a member of the groups. I’m embarrassed to say I had to actually look up Alice Paul as she was one of the scholarship awards the group made annually. So I did my homework and got caught up as those teachers in the program were some of the original women fighting for women’s rights. So I’m in my little office for that program which was away from my main office; daily I dealt with the young girls coming in to complain about those teachers. Why did they have to learn all that stuff? The one teacher practically built an altar to those early women the one very young student shouted . I tried my best to explain why. John Gardner - Self Renewal. Yes ! That’s it. His major thesis was: Each generation has to rediscover for itself the meaning of our democracy. Bernie Sanders with his huge group of young followers…that’s it. But how did I get tied up with John Gardner? Please ! For those of you who have been kind enough to read my crazy writing thus far Google Mr. Gardner. There is so much there. Shortly I’m going to give a quote that was in the New York Times when he passed away in 2002. I highly recommend that article because it is lengthy, and it covers the extensive work this man did. Lyndon Johnson put him in his cabinet even though Gardner was a conservative Republican. Aha! John Gardner founded Common Cause and I joined then. The connection!
I leave you with this quote as printed in The NY Times article at the time of Gardner’s death. “Mr. Gardner’s time in Washington had convinced him that major problems cannot be solved unless the political system was reformed from within. With the Democratic and Republican parties in mind, he told the New Yorker: I think of people sitting in an ancient automobile by the side of the road. The tires are flat and the driveshaft is bent, but they’re engaged in a great argument as to whether they should go to Phoenix or San Francisco. In my imagination, I am standing by the road saying, ‘You’re not going anywhere till you fix the goddamn car.’” His solution was to found Common Cause.
If you go to this article what he describes next is actually an accurate description of the times we are living in now.
Okay I will stop here. Would love to hear from any of you who have been kind enough to read my meanderings. Sign in to follow my site.