“All politics is local.”

“All politics is local.”

We (we Americans) are in the midst of a contentious presidential election. I’ve been blogging since 2010 and, so far, I’ve successfully avoided talking politics. AND, I am not going to break with tradition, I’ll keep my opinion on the presidential election to myself.

But, “all politics is local,” former Congressman and Speaker of the House Tip O’Neil is credited with the phrase, bit it’s a moot point.

I vote, or should vote, for the candidate that most closely aligns with my political, and economic, interests. That is what makes the election for a national leader local.

I teach 8th graders US History (and science) and my students are itching to know who I am voting for or planning to vote for this year. I am not telling them who I am planning to vote for, either.

pink pencils and the 'freedom rock'
pink pencils and the ‘freedom rock’

We’ve just begun studying the development of the US Constitution and I’ll be covering how a president is elected and how members of the legislatures are selected as well. In four years, my students will be voting and I am hoping and praying what I and so many other teachers have taught them guides them when they are casting their first votes. I hope what I teach them about history influences them, but most importantly, I hope that I’ve taught them to think critically and realize that all politics is local – it affects us where we live.

Friday was Breast Cancer Awareness day in our school, nationally it is celebrated in the month of October. Friday we wore pink. I wore pink. In 2014, I began a tradition of giving my students a pencil in early October for Breast Cancer Awareness. Somehow this year I slipped up and forgot to order the pencils in time for the first of October. The pencils arrived Tuesday and I passed them out in class Friday.

I explained why I pass the pencils out.

It’s local.

I shared Melinda’s rock, why it sits on my desk, and what it means.

Melinda was in the first class of students I had in my first year as a teacher. I had her in my English and Social Studies classes. Sixth grade was a struggle for her – emotionally, socially, and academically. But despite all that, school was the best part of her day because when she went home her mother was struggling with breast cancer. At the end of the year, Melinda gave me the rock – my Freedom Rock as her end of the year gift. That rock has sat prominently on my desk since.

Her mother would pass away in the summer after sixth grade and I attended the funeral. I hope I taught her as much as she taught me.

So, I shared why breast cancer is local for me.

Yesterday, when I bought gas, the cashier commented on my pink shirt and thanked me explaining her mom is a survivor. And this morning when I bought roses for my wife – pink roses – the flower shop owner told me about her friend who is struggling with breast cancer.

roses from our local farmer’s market – best roses.. period.

It’s local, it’s all local.

click to donate

I can make a difference, we all can make a difference. I’ve made a donation to the American Cancer Society to help fight breast cancer and I urge you, if you are able, to make a donation as well. I have provided a link here or you can click in the sidebar on the top right.

Today is gonna be a great day, it’s already off to a great start. So, I had better jump up, jump in, and seize the day. I have to get on with my chores for the day and planning for the week. Making the Days Count, one day at a time. It’s all local.

What is happening locally in your world??

Today’s post is inspired by last week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Local. This week, share what “local” means to you, and show us where your heart is.

8 thoughts on ““All politics is local.”

    1. I think it has shrunk incredibly with the internet….. a few years ago we’d never have ever had contact. But the instantaneousness of media and communication has sped up life and forced us to make decisions much faster than we ever have had to make them. I am glad that sometimes I take the time to sit and write a story that is human. It’s even better when I get a reaction – thanks for making my day. We are all connected, even more than we realize. Have a wonderful day and thank you for stopping in. Keep making your days count. Peace.

  1. I found this post very hard to read, because my daughter – the one whose husband died of cancer in April – has just been diagnosed with breast cancer. So thanks for helping your students think about these things. Sadly, my two grandsons don’t need any extra help to keep it in their minds.

    1. Oh Margaret, I’m so sorry to learn of your news. Please, know you, your daughter, and your entire family are in my thoughts. It’s a fine line being a teacher considering the issues my students are dealing with – some just trying to figure it out and others where school is the best part of their day because when they go home their parents aren’t there, or if they are they are fighting, or worse. October is Breast Cancer Awareness and next month, I re-grow the moustache for men’s health, it’s my way of paying it forward. I remind myself, I teach kids, not a subject. Have a wonderful week. Peace.

  2. I love that you wear pink and that you take the time to educate your students about not only politics, but breast cancer. A lot of adults don’t want to spoil young peoples’ innocence and youth by talking about the hard subjects, but I think it needs to be talked about. My parents always tried to shield me and my brother from bad stuff and uncomfortable topics because they wanted us to retain our innocence. I wish they would have encouraged us to talk about these things. I guess it was a different time, but sometimes I look back and think, “why didn’t my parents ever tell me this stuff?” I get it, but I don’t necessarily agree with it.

    Anyway, that’s my two cents. Keep on doing great stuff, Clay. And, keep on bringing those beautiful flowers to your beautiful wife. Those little gestures mean so much.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    1. Thank you…I love going to the Farmer’s Market and getting flowers for my wife. I know the ladies and they always help me find the best flowers. It was an added bonus this week as it turned out to be Sweetest Day. As for the pencils, it was a school-wide ‘wear pink day’ so it was easier to tell Melinda’s story. But you are correct, the innocence of youth and the reality of life are rarely congruent. I walk a fine line because I don’t know all of my student’s stories and I find them out in the most interesting ways. I can’t imagine not being able to talk about REAL things with my students…thanks for making me think. Have a wonderful week.

Thanks for visiting MtDC. How are YOU Making YOUR Days Count?