Aimee Patton

A pleasantly eccentric take on politics

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Dear Dr. Hinson,

Social media sure was buzzing today! I thought at first your BFF Brownback finally got his rose from President-elect Trump to be Secretary of Agriculture, but then I read about the big controversy in the Shawnee Mission School District about teachers and staff reprimanded wearing safety pins.   Why the safety pins? (For readers who may have been living under a rock for the past two weeks), let’s go to the VERY neutral source of Pop Sugar who brings us cutting edge articles like “These are the 9 best body butters for soft skin in winter.” There are some great tips so please stop and read.

 

“A few days post-election and it’s not unusual to hear about hate crimes happening around the country, including — but not limited to — ones against immigrants, people of color, and Muslims. But in the midst of all that negativity, people are banding together in a positive way, wearing safety pins to symbolize solidarity and to combat what’s going on. The movement, which started in the UK when similar events occurred post-Brexit, is a simple and easy way of saying, “Hey, whoever you are, whatever you believe in, you’re safe with me.” http://www.popsugar.com/fashion/What-Does-Wearing-Safety-Pin-Mean-42695540#photo-42695540

 

Your official statement below– I took the liberty of bolding the interesting part.

 

“Recent events require us to remind our employees of their rights and responsibilities.  As a staff member, you do not give up your first amendment right to free-speech on matters of public concern. However, your communication inside the classroom on school time is considered speech on behalf of the school district and there is a limitation on that speech. 

The wearing of a safety pin as a political statement is the latest example of such political speech.  Although wearing the safety pin as political speech is not the problem, any disruption the political statement causes in the classroom or school is a distraction in the education process.  We ask staff members to refrain from wearing safety pins or other symbols of divisive and partisan political speech while on duty–unless such activity is specifically in conjunction with District curriculum.

Further, the use of district owned devices and accounts is strictly forbidden for anything other than District business.  If you have questions regarding appropriate use, please see BOE policies IIBF and GAT.

NEA-SM and the Board of Education are committed to the safety of every student.  Thank you in advance for your careful review of this statement and for working with all students of the Shawnee Mission community.”

The Shawnee Mission School District has been and will continue to be a district that focuses on taking care of students and making sure that all students feel safe and supported regardless of issues or concerns occurring outside of our schools. 

 

Translation – Stop wearing pins and they are reading your emails!  You have been warned.

 

From the Shawnee Mission Post,

“The ACLU of Kansas strongly urges you to reconsider the prohibition on staff wearing safety pins,” wrote Executive Director Micah Kubic. “The school district’s current policy sends students a clear signal that not all students are valued or safe at school, undermines attempts to build community, and is vulnerable to a legal challenge.”

 

I see the ACLU is in the “strongly urge” stage.  It hasn’t been proven, but I know there are 5 stages to the ACLU that you should be aware of and they are as follows:

1.The side-eye and harsh glance stage.  This is reserved for minor offenses.   This one can be summed up in an amusing GIF.

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2.The “ya might want to rethink that” stage. That means you have done something severe enough that they have sent one of their lawyers an email with the subject line “heads up”. The email has then been forwarded about one THOUSAND times so everyone is on alert.

3. The stern warning stage – I’m not talking about a stern warning from your mom to clean your room.  This is where they have added you to the section of the website known as “know your rights.”  You are part of their strategic communication plan and honey, they are organized.  Once you are part of the website, you aren’t EVER coming off.

4. The “strongly urges you to reconsider” stage – that is where we are today.  The lawyers are ready, but no action has been taken yet. The key word is yet.

5. Finally, the “Alert! Alert! Rights have been violated” stage – you better lawyer up, because this one is going to be a long and costly process. Here comes the lawsuit. Hope the kids don’t need  new books, playground equipment or desks next year, because you are going to be b-r-o-k-e fighting this one. The ACLU moves from stage 4 to 5 faster than college kids swiping on Tinder at 1 am on a Saturday night.

Now that we have identified the 5 stages of ACLU, I noticed that you did what any PR genius would do to calm tensions, you compared the safety pin to the Confederate Flag.

 

From KCUR,

“It was also discovered Tuesday that district administrators dealt with at least one instance of a Confederate flag being displayed in a classroom. “We asked that individual to remove the flag, we found that to be political speech that would be disruptive,” says Superintendent Jim Hinson. “They removed that flag” 

“Any political speech that’s disruptive, whether it’s a flag or safety pin, we’re going to deal with it all the same,” according to Hinson. “The school house is not the place for students to be exposed to any type of political indoctrination.” 

http://kcur.org/post/safety-pin-controversy-rages-shawnee-mission-school-district

 

School house? The 1850’s called and they want their term back.  Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, calms people down more than comparing the issues of safety and security with the Confederate Flag.  Well done,Dr. Hinson, well done.  I believe that’s the ACLU for you calling on line 1.

 

Yours for allowing teachers to wear safety pins,

Aimee

Usually I write letters to others, but this one is to myself. I think a little self-reflection is needed after this election.

Dear Aimee,

He won.

It happened. I know you still can’t believe it happened, but it happened. How did it happen? Nothing about it makes sense. Hillary had the boring policies, she won the debates, “you’re the puppet”, the convention was on point, the ceiling was shattering, she had a strong ad game, and she had Katy Perry.

She had KATY fucking PERRY. We were roaring. You were roaring. And you roared like a champ.

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Today Trump went to the White House.

No amount of protesting, crying, bargaining, tweeting, status updating or ranting is going to change the outcome of this election.

So now what?

1. Let them have their moment. You had yours when Obama won. If we are being honest for a moment, it was pretty obnoxious how much of a moment you had.  Take a calming breath and just let them have their moment. Type all the responses on Facebook you want and then just hit delete and don’t post. Let them be happy. Life goes on without you responding to every Pro-Trump post on Facebook.

2. IGNORE ALL PETITIONS. As much as you would like to believe that signing that petition from moveon.org is going to make all of this go away, it’s a waste of time.  Channel your energy into more productive things.  A petition does not bring down a President.

3. Have some hard conversations about what went wrong.  That doesn’t mean pointing the finger at “them”, but turning it around and figuring out exactly what went wrong with us.  Is this party as diverse and inclusive as it claims to be?  Why aren’t there new leaders emerging? Why does this party have trouble connecting with rural and suburban voters?  What are some core issues that the party is missing the mark on?

4. Get involved. Get involved. Get involved. I am not 100% sure what is in store for the country in the next four years, but get involved and stay involved. Writing a blog and poking fun at politicians is the fun part, but if you’re really as upset about this election as you claim to be, then you need to take MORE action.  You know that the real change happens at the local level.

5. Keep it in perspective.  You have lived for YEARS as a liberal in conservative Kansas.  You have survived, kept your sense of humor and spoke out for what you believe in.  You have Sam, tax cut disaster, Brownback to thank for the years of training in responding to conservative social and economic policies that have destroyed this state. You are not alone.  There are thousands and thousands of us in the Midwest that are used to this.  We just have to ramp it up to the national level for a while – and really start to roar.

Yours for surviving President Trump,

Aimee

 

 

Hi everyone!

Sorry it has been F-O-R-E-V-E-R since my last post.  There are only so many hours in the day to keep up on the Trump twitter feed, the Kardashian snapchats and the Brangelina divorce saga that I have been so bad with neglecting my own blog.

Let’s kick this off with a bang and talk about everyone’s favorite topic – Kansas school funding!

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On Friday, the Shawnee Mission School District sent me (everyone) a link to an online survey asking for input to help formulate the district’s legislative platform and guiding principles on school funding in Kansas.  I had to hurry and find principles to help guide them, but I am up for the challenge.

FINALLY a chance to share  my thoughts on the school funding formula.  I mean up until this point I’ve been so reserved about my thoughts on this topic. (See approximately 1 billion tweets under hashtag #ksleg)

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Here is a copy of the guiding principles document from the district. Buckle in and let’s do this.

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      1. The first one gives me warm-fuzzies.  Nice that we teach our kiddos to play fair and they want to play fair with school funding.  Too bad defining “fair” is a bitch.  Good luck with that.
      2. This one is my favorite.  Everyone hearts financial sustainability, but my favorite part is “long-term.”  How do we measure long-term?  Long-term for me is when I stop being pre-menstrual. How about only in months that end in “y”?  For some it could be the next 50 years.
      3. I don’t know about you, but I’m a big fan of mediocrity in education.  <See above for the major eye-roll>
      4. See #1 – if it’s fair, wouldn’t it also be equal? Asking for a friend.
      5. Alternative revenue sources – if you are going to ask me to do a bake sale every other week, then I’m going to take the wire that connects my mouse to this computer and choke myself.  I’m just saying…
      6. Flexibility is great, but by how much?  Nothing good comes by letting people do whatever they want/whenever they want.
      7. Transparent = ALWAYS
      8. Vouchers = bad.  This will be the downfall of public education.
      9. No mandated consolidation….zzzz sorry I took a quick snooze on this one.  I will leave this one up to the experts.  I have opinions on A LOT of things, but I also know that some decisions need to be left up to the experts.  Ask me if  Kim Kardashian looks better as a blonde or a brunette and I have an opinion.  Ask me  if we should consolidate school districts and I’m going to tell you to ask an expert.  I’m not your gal.
      10. STOP THE ENDLESS CYCLE OF LITIGATION – could the right-wing, conservative who wrote this please stand up?  Why would we EVER want to stop our right to file a necessary lawsuit?  Yes a fair formula would stop the NEED to sue, however, we never want to take away our RIGHT to sue.  BIG difference.

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Well Shawnee Mission School District and Governor Brownback, you asked for it.  Ultimately, at the end of the day, you can come up with any formula you want and if our state economy doesn’t recover it won’t make a damn bit of difference.  A healthy economy equals healthy funding for our Kansas schools.   Step 1, repeal the tax cuts.  Step 2, fix the formula.

 

Now I have to get back to the Trump twitter feed.  It’s been an hour and I’m SURE something has been posted that needs my immediately attention.

 

Yours for a healthy Kansas economy and excellent schools,

Aimee

 

 

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Dear Kansas voters,

Tuesday.  Wow.  What a night.  I wanted to write sooner, but I’ve been so busy running around town singing “Happy Days are Here Again” that I haven’t had a chance to sit down and write.  I know the Babs and Judy version is the classic, but since Kansas is moving out of 1960’s style politics I want to enjoy the more modern Glee kids singing their hearts out as a nod to all the winners of Tuesday’s election.

 

Moderate candidates beat conservatives in 14 races across Kansas.  Names like Melcher, Bruce and Knox are all gone.  Gone with them will be such memorable legislation like only heterosexual, praying, non-smoking, non-drinking people can provide foster care to children and sweet, innocent Kindergarten teachers must be packing heat in the sing-a-long circle at public school.  Kansas is no longer a conservative policy playground that lawmakers can have their way with.  Buh-bye education funding fight with the hashtag #fundtheformula.

 

The most epic loss of the night was Congressman Tim Huelskamp of the Freedom Caucasus a.k.a. the Tea Party.  He lost to Roger Marshall, a guy that was so unknown that when you Google him the only result you get is a “?”.   Huelskamp and his supporters blamed everyone and everything, but himself for the loss.

 

“In an ugly and dishonest campaign, Tim’s record was attacked and misrepresented by big money special interest groups who wanted to exact their revenge,” Jordan said. “Republicans need to be unified behind conservative principles to stop the Obama/Clinton agenda. The House Republican leadership’s opposition to Tim Huelskamp significantly damaged the ability of House Republicans to do that.”

 

The most productive thing Huelskamp did as a Congressman was troll Obama on Twitter.  I had a drinking game where every time Huelskamp tweeted the word “Obummer” I would drink.  I was drunk most of 2014.  The message to politicians is clear – work together or voters will vote you out.  The time for polarizing politics is over.

 

The biggest issue facing voters in the general election is figuring out the difference between a moderate Republican and a Democrat in Kansas.  Does anyone want to clue me in?  I’m thinking yard sign color, but it’s anyone’s guess.

 

Whatever the outcome in the general election, I know that good times are FINALLY ahead for Kansas!

 

Congratulations candidates and well done voters!

Yours for finally getting Kansas out of this mess,

Aimee

Bob

Hey kids, what do you want to do this hot, summer morning?

Hang out at the neighborhood pool?

Nah…

Go to a nice, cool museum in town?

Nope.

I know! How about if you stand in the blazing sun, holding medically inaccurate signs yelling things like, “you are cursed to hell for eternity” at the women and staff going into the local Planned Parenthood?

You betcha!! That sounds like the perfect plan for helping me grow up to become a well-adjusted adult. I’ll grab the poster board!

That was the narrative that played out in my mind as I scanned the crowd of protestors out in front of the local Planned Parenthood this morning to witness the Summer of Normalcy.  #KnowWhatsNormal #NN16

There were about 30 protestors gathered in front of the clinics, but what was shocking was that about half of them were small children.

None of this shocked the clinic escorts who were also gathered to help the women safely access the clinic.  The clinic escorts were familiar with the protestors and their chants.

“There are regulars who are here every Saturday.  They do a lot of yelling at us,” said Paige a clinic escort who was volunteering for a two-hour shift.

Mary

Michael, who has been volunteering for over three years, does it for the same reason he feels everyone should get involved.

“I don’t like women being harassed.”

Such a simple concept and yet such a powerful statement.

Then, I met Bob.  Bob is not an official escort.  Bob rides his bike with a Planned Parenthood sign on the front of it by the protestors every Saturday.  He has been doing it since 1985 at different clinic locations around Kansas City.  He is not an official volunteer for Planned Parenthood, but does it because he feels it’s the right thing to do.

“Things aren’t as violent now as they used to be back when I started.  It’s like they know they aren’t going to win the fight to outlaw abortion.  When we started, they (the protestors) felt like they just needed one more Supreme Court Justice and then abortion would be illegal, but that never happened.”

I spoke with another group of escorts who had gathered to greet patients next to the protestors.

“The escorts become a community and friends.  We are in this together for reproductive justice,” said one escort.

One protestor handed me materials as I was driving away.  Looking at them, I was comforted in knowing that their materials were as old and outdated as this fight.

Anti-Choice Materials

Anti-Choice Materials

This post is dedicated to all of the escorts during this Summer of Normalcy, but especially Bob.  Sometimes all it takes is one person, a bike and a sign to stand up for what’s right.

Ride on Bob….ride on.

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