The Cult of Biden


Sure, it’s not as pronounced as the cult of that other guy but can we talk without bias for a minute. The country is not getting any cheaper, rent and gas prices are up, the move to sustainable energy is moving way too slowly, immigration is a mess, homelessness and drug addiction are still out of control, education could be better and our status as the world’s peacekeeper is being tested like never before.


Now, before you think I fell this morning riding to work and suffered a brain injury, I will add that J’Biden has done some great things to keep us moving along the last four years and if you watched the State of the Union you know he is now proving that age is just a number and feisty Joe is better than passive Joe especially when dealing with bullies. But, isn’t the most important job in the world supposed to go to the most important person in the world? Or at least someone that 50+ percent of the country wants in the role?


Did you watch Jon Stewart’s return to The Daily Show? Outstanding and exactly what we all need to do-get involved however you can. But he also has a great way of taking things like age and making them not just funny but very relatable (showing his picture from 20 years ago then a closeup of him today). It shows that age is something more than a number and even though some people are killing it into their 90’s (Warren Buffet, Clint Eastwood, Dolores Huerta) they are the exception because well, we slow down as we age, we lose brain cells, synapses don’t fire as efficiently, bones get a little more brittle, natural, normal, expected results of being human.


Drink no Kool-Aid America.


Yes, that is more than the name of my ficticious fiction novel coming out next month (all I gotta do now is write it up…). A savage critique of America and an education system which perpetuates and encourages some great and some not-so-great things. A better elevator pitch would be, “Think for yourself, while you still can”. If you are a regular reader then you know that I am not a chronicler of all things rainbows and flowers but I like to put real issues on the front burner (Plastic is evil, screens are killing us, stop swimming in the drama pool, etc.) But as a California educator, coach and father, I see and experience things and while it would be easy to just go with the flow, I can’t because the flow is not really going in the direction I think it should be flowing right now.


But such is life. Because I can’t think of a time when the flow was flowing in a perfect direction.  Maybe the beginning of the Obama years (09-17) but what about the ‘08 Financial Crisis, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Islamic terror. Sure, we were full of hope but the dark side was always close.


Did you see the picture of Yazan Kafarneh, the 10 year old who died of starvation in Gaza, let’s start there. Stop killing innocent people, stop creating environments where kids have to rely on pallets of rice falling from the sky so they don’t die. I don’t have the answer but I do know the US shouldn’t be making things worse. If ever there was a time to unite and fight a common enemy (death of innocent people), now is it.



70% of our population do not like the presidential candidates which means that we are in store for a tumultuous 8 months until the election and maybe a difficult 4 years after that. The answer, of course, is to get everyone to prioritize people over personalities, start loving each other, care for the environment, outlaw social media (Tik Tok ban? Yes please, then let’s look at what staring at screens for 7 hours per day is doing to, well, everyone.) end fossil fuels and plastic and war and things which arrest development and kill the innocent. Simple yet impossible with how things are going.


Change your baseline


Here’s a story I keep telling anyone who will listen. Last year, I had one student come out for the Boy’s Tennis Team, it was miserable but it taught me a great lesson. This year I have 12 on the team and couldn’t be happier because one player was the baseline from last year. In fact, it has changed my mindset when faced with a challenge (students not registered in time, rain cancelling practice, not enough parent drivers, students wanting to hit balls at each other rather than learn tennis), I now smile and think back to where I was last year knowing that anything is better than nothing.


Is J’Biden the worst? Not by a long shot and certainly not when compared to the other guy. Could we do better? Sure, I would prefer Gavin or Gretchen or ever Bernie but they are not on the ticket. Democracy is about supporting the best option, period. The best person with the values you want in your leader. Are there better choices (Jared Huffman or the return of Obama would be my dream candidates) of course but you have to go with what is available.


Every day above ground is a good day.


And so, we get back to one of the many Walterisms which have driven students crazy in my classrooms for the last 24 years. But it’s true, if you don’t like how today is making you feel, make a plan, stick to it and make tomorrow better. Yes, I realize you feel powerless and yes, it’s easier to check out and let life roll along but if you think as I do that the world really, really needs help right now, work toward that.


One of my favorite local people Rebecca Hermosillo just won Susan Gorin’s 1st District Supervisors Seat. She will be the first Latina ever to sit on the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors and she’s the current reason I’m hopeful about the future. Rebecca is one of those people who immediately put you at ease when you talk to her, she listens, connects the dots and is not afraid of making tough decisions when necessary. Now, when I ride past giant potholes on Lucas Avenue or want the Larson Park tennis/pickleball courts resurfaced, I can email someone who cares deeply and is invested in the Springs because she lives here.  I met Rebecca many years ago when she was running the Sonoma Teen Center, students loved her which is all I needed to know.


We need more people representing us who represent us but we also need to elect the people who check the most boxes. When you believe that there are so many things going in the wrong direction and you see leaders not leading it’s depressing. My advice: Don’t give up, accept the things you cannot change and work to change the things you can. Remember that there are no perfect candidates but eventually democracy works by providing the best solution with the available options.

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