Franklin for President Mixtape – Synopsis

Life and Times of the Philly O.G.

FranklinForPres_Artwork_Web

What is the Mixtape?

I am about to throw a lot of things at you… just get ready, and try to follow me on this.

Synopsis:

Ben Franklin came back to life several years ago in 2011. Due to his severe culture shock, he chose to keep his true identity secret, until he could figure out what the Hell was happening. He initially made money by giving walking tours in Old City Philadelphia. He would talk about his life as well as his personal opinions about some of the other Founding Fathers. And he made a lot of money. People loved his humor and they admired his in-depth knowledge. He didn’t pretend to be Ben Franklin, but he got a lot of Ben Franklins… if you know what I mean? … Money. I mean “money”. Anyway, his reputation grew and he expanded. He was able to earn a position in an Old City high school. That’s right, Benjamin Franklin is a teacher. He became an English teacher under the alias, “A. Nonymous”. Through extensive readings – as well as his experiences as urban high school teacher – he became more connected to the current American society and was happy with his new life until…

… THE RISE OF BOTH THE ALEXANDER HAMILTON MUSICAL AND DONALD TRUMP!!!

Young Ben was appalled! Firstly, how could a story be told about the American Revolution and the Constitutional Convention without Franklin!?! Furthermore, how could a walking 1980s-Wall-Street-caricature possibly be good for the image of America??? The country has lost its mind. It was time that some Common Sense was brought back into society!

Young Ben decided that it was time for him to unveil himself to the masses: his students and YOU, the lucky reader. He intends to establish some much needed sanity to present-day pop culture and politics. And he did it in the most “Philly” way he could think of… by dropping a Rap Mixtape. He wrote VOCAB INFUSED HIP-HOP SONGS challenging everyone and everything that could get in his way. When you want complete domination of a city, you need to start out swinging, after all.

In order to provide some context, we, at the “Franklin for President” campaign, have provided entries of BENJAMIN FRANKLIN’S PRIVATE JOURNAL that correlate with the songs. This way, you can have a mostly thorough understanding of what the Hell is happening!

So if you ever wanted to know what it would be like if Benjamin Franklin came back to life, worked as high school teacher in Philly… on the same block he once worked in a print shop… during the Trump years… well, this is the blog for you!!!

And yes, this shit is corny… cause this shit is poppin‘.

So here it is, the Ben Franklin For President Mixtape…

Volume 1…

The Re-Intro…

Coming tomorrow…

Thoughts on July 4, 2017

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It is an interesting time to reflect on America’s legacy. We are the most powerful country in the world. We have the largest accumulation of wealth. We are looked to as a leader in the world specifically in regards to diversity and humanity…
… and we also are bitterly divided. Our national identity is torn asunder with hostile divisions between different groups. Rich versus poor. White versus… well, everyone. Conservative versus progressive. Our image to the world is divided between those who consider us allies and those who consider us enemies. Though, now many of our allies are concerned with us.

So what are we celebrating?

This is not a proud moment to be an American… or is it?

I try to explain to people who come on my tour that we have to educate ourselves about our past. We need to stop exalting me, Jefferson, Washington, etc. as demi-gods. We were men. We made mistakes. Our constitution was not perfect. It’s quite ambiguous, actually. We left a lot of the administration of government up to those chosen by the people run it. It was not written in stone. I had a hope that our government would evolve as our society evolved (evolve = progress). 

Our history is littered with examples of the conflicts and issues stemming from this societal evolution. And forgive me if “conflicts” feels like a light term. Too often, our “conflicts” mean horrible atrocities between peoples. Unfortunately, that is the nature of “people”. Not all, but enough.

In an effort to catch myself up on 240 years of American history, I am reading a biography of Abraham Lincoln (#good_dude). For his first 4th of July, he was trying to hold onto a collection of states who were trying to leave the Union while also dealing with those who already turned away from us. Several years later, on the same day, he’s still learning about the number of casualties mounting up at the Battle of Gettsyburg. HE saw just how divided we could become over slavery, in itself one of the most atrocious institutions in human history.

THAT was a bad time. While that example shouldn’t change your emotions, it should provide you some context to compare to our current state of disunity. We need to learn about and analyze our context. If we learn from past mistakes, we can ensure that the same issues do NOT repeat… because history doesn’t repeat, but it does rhyme.

So why can we still be proud? Because our country, despite its many problems, was founded with the hopes that society will continue to improve and build off of our past conflicts and problems. It was founded on an IDEA. 

We haven’t reached the goal of a society that treats all of its people equally and fairly. Not yet.

But it is that ideal that I will continue to work and strive for. That is the banner that I raise when I look at the flag and celebrate our country’s birth. It’s not a celebration of accomplishment.

It’s a celebration of HOPE.

Cheers,

Ben Franklin

ANNOUNCEMENT! RAP TOUR LAUNCH!

Life and Times of the Philly O.G.

“Franklin – Philly’s O.G.”

The Rap Tour

Hello, again, America! Ben Franklin’s the name! While it may seem a bit odd to be in communication with me through your computer screen, I’m excited to announce that I’ve been brought back to life thanks to your modern science. After reading your “history” books and catching myself up on contemporary culture, I’ve decided it’s time for me to set my record straight about my life in the folksiest way possible: through a tour consisting of amazing rap lyrics.

When are the tours?

Every Saturday beginning. from 10 am – 12 pm starting JUNE 10th!

How do I sign up?

You can sign up on the Philly Official Guide website at: http://www.phillyofficialguide.com/tours.html

Where?

Philly Tour Hub

229 Arch Street

Philadelphia, PA 19106

What Can I Expect?

  1. Meet Ben Franklin, printer. Learn from the man famous for both his deeds and his writings… and his writings about his deeds.
  2. Try not to smile as Young Franklin raps his way through narratives of his early life in Boston and Philadelphia in a thoroughly concise and wickedly impressive display of language and “SWAG”.
  3. Understand the complexities of his rise through the help of visual aids as Bennie Boy guides you through the expansive web of businesses and projects he had made before the age of 42.
  4. Uncover the socio-political landscape of the American Revolution through scholarly details of the important figures and events.
  5. Become “Enlightened” as Ben provides pearls of wisdom on human nature and its impact on our cherished fundamental values that created our nation.

Itinerary

Ben Franklin is back and he is going to completely alter your perspective on history!

Walk around Young Franklin’s stomping grounds as he tells you an inspiring tale of his meager beginning. Soak in the history as you step over the cobblestones of Arch Street Meetinghouse and Franklin Court, you will be treated to entertaining and viciously informative raps which will Enlighten you about Ben’s views on religion, politics, society, and so much more! As you continue through Old City, you will learn about the beginnings of the American Revolution at Carpenter’s Hall, where the First Continental Congress was held. Ben will guide you through this tumultuous period as he literally guides you towards Independence Hall. In front of the Liberty Bell you will learn about the famous figures and events that surrounded the American Revolution and the Framing of the U.S. Constitution. In front of his grave you will hear his final thoughts on his own legacy, but don’t be sad because, remember, he’s the one guiding your tour.

 

About the Man Behind the Britches

For the last three years, Chris Kuncio has been a 12th grade English teacher at a charter school – in historic Old City Philadelphia – where he has incorporated hip-hop and poetry often into lessons, particularly for Vocabulary practice. Through his use of rap, as well as his knowledge of it, he has been able to engage and connect with his students, including coaching the school’s slam poetry in the city’s thriving Youth Poetry Slam League. Simultaneously, Chris has been researching and writing historical walking tours about the great American folk-hero, Benjamin Franklin. Through his research and writings, he immersed himself into the character and began giving tours portraying the youthful version of Franklin. Combining his knowledge of the subject with his creativity in the classroom, he created a historical rap tour to rival the “Alexander Hamilton Musical”. He intends on developing this tour company into a new outlet for all learners to engage with history.

 

 

An Essay on Racism

Politics

Introduction

Alright, let’s address the elephant in the room. If you come on my tour, you will spend your time in Old City learning about the great things that the Founding Fathers did. Excellent! To quote our latest (last?) president: “We did great things. Super big things. We did a phenomenal job.” (Trump, #twitter) Let’s not pretend, however, that we were saints. Don’t get me wrong, I love to be worshipped as a Demi-God. (I deserve it more than most.) But it’s what we DID NOT do that is still causing problems 230 years later.

Slavery is that problem. We did not end slavery when we had a chance. In fact, we made it worse. During the Constitutional Convention, we gave the the southern slave states more political power by allowing them to count slaves into the population. More people represented in a region will mean more members in the House of Representatives. The north protested. The south lashed back. We ended up compromising and saying that each slave would count as three-fifths of a person.

By incorporating the 3/5 Compromise into the Constitution, we reinforced the horrible institution in two ways: 1) we strengthened the political power of the southern plantations; and 2) we established it as a fundamental institution.

Increased Southern Political Power

The Three-Fifths Compromise was supposed to be a compromise. (Compromise (n.) – Selling your soul to save your hide) Instead, we allowed more representatives for slaveholders because we included a large number of people who couldn’t even be represented. We gave the southerners more power by giving them more seats in the House of Representatives and more votes in the Electoral College. This ensured the survival of slavery. The select few of us, First Generation Americans, who actually detested slavery, always figured that a war would be the only way to end slavery…. and we were right. But do you think, before the Civil War, the population as a whole would be willing to have a war if they knew it would kill 670,000 Americans? Hindsight is twenty-twenty, but the answer is “no”. (73 years of failed compromises between the north and south proved this…)

“Canonized” Institution

Our Constitution established the three branches of government. It set term limits. It created the Electoral College. It understood the weaknesses in humanity and provided checks and balances to prevent consolidation of too much power. It became the blueprint for our republic, the most successful republic in world history. This document is worshipped in our country more than the Bible. The phrase, “that’s unconstitutional!”, has a stronger impact than the phrase, “that’s un-Christian!” in this country. So anything written in it, is essentially American gospel… even if the gospel that is preached includes racism, sexism and prejudice.

Soooooo, basically, established a racist and oppressive foundation making it easy for future generations of white-privileged, American, men to defend and rationalize hypocrisy, racism, prejudice, injustice, oppression, enslavement, rape, and murder.

How does one defend the institution of slavery? The answer is: They cannot and should not. But sometimes the most indefensible mistakes can become the most valuable learning experiences. After all, how else will we curb racism unless we understand how one can rationalize and defend it? (Remember: History doesn’t repeat itself; it paraphrases) Let’s look at my own experience:

My Failures

I printed advertisements for slave sales in my newspaper. I owned two slaves. I am aware that fighting for liberty while denying it to others at the same time made us vicious hypocrites. Unfortunately, my mindset was developed, at the time, from a practical approach. I knew that the institution of slavery was so enmeshed in the fabric of our society that it was unlikely to meet its demise any time soon. Servitude was an institution that went as far back in human history as all others. I wrongfully rationalized that I would be unable to do anything to dismantle the institution; so I, instead, decided to take advantage of the rules it rewarded to me, a white man.

I recognized and argued that the idea of white racial superiority was only prevalent because we were treating them as animals. If the black population were allowed to be educated, I argued, then they would be just as successful as whites. But they were not allowed to be educated, and  so I was unable to prove my point. So this artificial facade of racial supremacy stood firm. I was, of course, a “child of the times” and my “times” were waaaay racist and prejudicial. (Hell, I hated Germans!) Every cultural group despised each other. English vs. French, Christian vs. Muslim, Catholic vs. Protestant… hypocrisy and distrust were everywhere. This is not an attempt to defend slavery, but it does help to explain the mindset of humans. Geographic differences are common enough (Suck it, New Jersey!) without incorporating, distinct languages and cultures…. Let alone skin color. (Foreign = different = not normal) It takes a long time for change to occur in societal norms and expectations. (Think real hard about how many people were willing to argue and fight for gay marriage 10 years ago…) I did very little to attempt to break down barriers in my youthful years.

We had to tip-toe around the subject during the birth of our nation because the South was unwilling to join with the North unless slavery was untouched. Our only priority was to establish a firm union, so we let all other attempts at bettering the world evaporate.

It wasn’t until the end of my life that I tried to curb the influence of slavery, but to little avail. (I joined a petition to support a bill in the House of Representatives to abolish the slave trade. When Southern slave owners argued it was their “Christian duty” to convert the heathens, I responded with satire. I wrote an essay as a Muslim slave trader who defended the enslavement of “heathen Christians” and convert them to the true religion, Islam. (Remember: those who rationalize oppression based on their religious beliefs are God Damn hypocrites.) Though clever, the essay produced far too little too late. I, like so many others, did not focus on attacking the subject when I was younger because I had everything to lose. Only when I was on my deathbed did I put any effort into it.

It’s hardly the story of a martyr…

I will not defend myself. I genuinely repent for my wrongs and failures. I hope our mistakes, as the Founders of our nation, will be used as a guide into the understanding of human nature, and government as a whole. Let’s consider the selfish nature of human nature….

Human Nature’s Selfish Nature

I spent my entire life trying to figure out a formula that could measure, estimate, and explain human nature. What I realized was that it was impossible to compute humanity. Humans are, by nature, contrary and complicated. We say one thing and do the other. It can never be 100% determined when it will occur, but inconsistency can be consistently guaranteed. (Did that make sense?) Humans are not just beastly individualistic by nature, nor are they all socially civilized. Both are true some of the time; neither are true all the time. For example a person can be reasoned with, but a mob of people demand action not reason. The closest thing to certainty, however, is that humans reach their optimum level of compassion when their self-interest is not in jeopardy.

We all come from various experiences and relationships that shape our opinions and actions. We, as individual humans, can be incredibly generous and compassionate. We can be charitable and empathetic. Some are selfless. Most, however, only reach this level of “model citizenry” once they are sure that their own interests are taken care of. Survival, comfort, security for children… all are very natural variables which most humans consider of the highest importance. This fact can negatively impact the quality of compassion and empathy that a person gives to others.

Self-interest is not moral. Self-interest is not rational. Self-interest is certainly not charitable. And yet, everyone can relate to it. That is why the most genuinely selfless are hailed and canonized as heroes and saints… because they are the exceptions to this rule!

Taking that sentiment into consideration, it is easy to see why slavery became an entrenched part of our society. The value of a nation does not come from the land, but rather the productivity of people who develop it. Therefore, the more developed and productive your land and people  were, the more value and power you had. Free labor was a commodity every person wanted; an increase in goods and productivity (with minimal cost) appeals to anyone who wants to increase their time and wealth. What started with indentured servitude built the backbone of slavery. After all, one only had their servant for seven years… what does one do when they’ve gotten accustomed to that type of “help”? . The threat of potentially losing that level of production and value than causes one to think about ways to keep a more permanent level of servitude… slavery is the most profitable.

In a cruel twist of irony, the Age of Reason, flourished in a time of rampant prejudice. One could easily rationalize a defense of slavery on the grounds of racial superiority…

All it takes is one generation for the institution to be so deeply entrenched in the society for people to be unwilling to change it. An institution where people can produce needed goods as cheaply and quickly as possible; while at the same time serving as motivation for others who want to achieve that kind of land, wealth, and power. This is the type of life most farmers wanted and many children grew up experiencing. One in which slaves are prevalent and considered a commodity, not a worker. Businessmen, both North and South, are seeing how popular and “free” this form of labor has become. They are motivated to invest and profit from this lucrative trade. Entire livelihoods are based on this institution. Compassion for the enslaved is lost under the profits and gains of the business world. Even those who would be willing to free slaves and pay them for their work, do not because they will be unable to compete with anyone who employs “free” slave labor. People have been willing to fight for their beliefs, do you really believe they would not do the same to maintain their livelihoods?

Thus the complexity of Human Nature: A person wants to do the right thing; yet when faced with the question of a person’s value, they are selfish in nature.

But enough explaining… Now to the REAL purpose of this essay…..

 

A Brief(-ish) Message to Rational White People

Let’s get something straight, rational white people: we need to seriously accept this fuck up. LET THE WHITE GUILT SINK IN. Own it. Let it make you feel sick and shameful.  I am, to be honest, embarrassed at how much we, as a Caucasian collective, have NOT done this. We continue to reinforce painful ignorance, if not outright atrocities, towards minorities…

So listen up!  I am reaching out to those good natured people who do not mean to be racist… yet still manage to pull it off ever-so convincingly… (We make it look so easy!) Let’s summarize our “inglorious” track-record in a nutshell:

  • We kidnapped and stole a population of people from their homes in Africa
  • We put chains on them and took them to a far-off land, throwing away bodies of the dead in the ocean as if they were nothing
  • We spent 250 years raising their subsequent generations to be considered inferior creatures; treating them like animals
  • We fought a war that killed 650,000 men in it to abolish/maintain slavery (depending on which side we were fighting for)
  • We, the Northerners, shamelessly exploited the “rights” of the freed blacks in order to punish the Southerners, while putting little effort into trying to respect and repay the newly freed population
  • We, the Southerners, spent the next 100 years preventing the black population from the rights to run independent businesses, to own homes, to receive an education, to vote
  • We, the Northerners, spent the next 100 years denying jobs, housing, and a quality education to the black population because they were competing with what we already had.
  • We, the Southerners, maintained a consistent reign of terror on the black population through brutal violence, rape, and lynching as a method to maintain status quo.
  • We, the Northerners, did the same, but in a more covert way, encouraging blacks to stick to within their own culture or to become more white like us.
  • We were the bad guys in the Civil Rights Movement. We assaulted their heroes. We arrested their heroes. We sent the big bad FBI after their heroes. We murdered their heroes because at that time, they weren’t “our” heroes
  • We all have maintained segregation despite the Voting Rights Act and Brown v. Board of Education through many ways, some of which include gerrymandered districts and the “White Flight” to the suburbs.
  • We maintained poverty in their communities, provided inferior education, and made it easy for drugs and guns to flow into the communities… and yet still remorselessly and condescendingly look down on these communities
  • We sent many of them to prison over petty crimes and then become shocked and horrified that they come out hardened…  doing  little to rehabilitate and educate them…
  • We built up this image of the dangerous young black man, terrifying all who are not one of them.
  • We allowed police to LITERALLY get away with murder…. all in the name of  our “law and order.”
  • We continue to exploit every aspect of their culture for the sake of “entertainment” while not realizing how ignorant we are of their history, struggle, joys, and celebrations which make up that “entertainment” …(Ignorant of ignorance…  #ironic)
  • Oh, yea! We also treated our first black president like he was “un-American” for no reason other than just because he was colored and had a “weird” name…

In other words: WE, as a collective whole caucasian peoples, need to stop saying and doing just about everything and take some time to reflect.

We need to understand that “All Lives Matters” is exactly the tone-deaf response that members of the Black Lives Matter predicted we’d have. We missed the point that whites would be MORE sensitive if white people were dying in the same manner… because we were being too sensitive about ourselves first.

We need to stop saying “I don’t see race” and “racism is done”. We need to understand that we make these statements because we are PRIVILEGED enough not to know the feeling of being stopped and harassed for the color of our skin. We aren’t reminded about race and their effects  every day unless we go to seek it.

We need to stop complaining about Affirmative Action and start sending much needed suburban taxpayer money into poor urban school districts. It’s called “equity”. More resources need to be used to ameliorate the problems (which we caused) in order to maybe, just maybe, be able to provide a more equal playing-field in the generations to come.

Until we realize that we really don’t know what it feels like to be a minority in this country, then we need to just sit down and shut the franklin up.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

Sooooo, I know what you’re thinking… I think…

I mean, you might have been waiting for the reading to get a bit more funny or sarcastic… or you could have stopped reading a long time ago… but in general you might be feeling overwhelmed with emotions like guilt, anger, annoyance, confusion, or hunger (it’s a long essay…).

Let me help you and summarize the important take aways: 

  • Us, Founding Fathers, reeeeeeeeally fucked up by maintaining and strengthening the institution of slavery; which means that white, straight, males are the cause of most (if not all) societal problems in America. Yea, I said it.
  • No matter the color of skin, all humans are capable of rationalizing prejudice and slavery because of a tendency towards self-preservation (FACT)
  • Regardless of the acknowledgement that all humans are capable of enslaving others, let me once again REITERATE that White Americans need to understand that we are to blame for the socio-economic problems within American society (#firstworldamericanproblems)
  • Whites are born with ZERO credibility to discuss race because our privilege blinds us to the prevalence of racism in daily life

Let me be frank…. -lin (BOOM! #puns): I don’t expect any earth-shattering changes to come from this essay. I learned long ago that COMMON SENSE says that people do not want to be corrected…. even with COMMON SENSE. So my expectations are tempered, yet, if I managed to get you to walk away deep in reflection or more enlightened mind, then I did my job.

Remember, ignorance can be more dangerous and detrimental than outright hatred. Ignorance hides us from all forms of transgressions, robs us from our opportunities of growth and change, and allows us to maintain a status quo without feeling any sort of guilt. If White America can embrace the guilt, then we can begin to move in the right direction. If not? Well, then we will continue to grasp in the dark for that elusive objective that we, Founding Fathers, set out to create: A More Perfect Union.

The day my president liked my tweet without realizing I was making fun of him… [update] until I realized it wasn’t his twitter account

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Happy St Patty’s Day! Let’s get right to it.

I’ve been trying to establish a social media presence for my “Ben Franklin for President” campaign for a while. I didn’t know how to just start tweeting about any and everything because I still have an aversion to assuming people care about my opinions (#facebookstatus).

Since I had no idea on what to tweet about, I decided to do the obvious: troll and reply.

Brietbart News and Donald Trump were perfect targets since I disagree with them.

Donald Trump sent a generic tweet today to celebrate his Irish brethren:

Noting the irony, I then tweeted in response:

Not noticing the irony, his twitter feed, @realDonaldTrump, liked the tweet. (I guess that he really wants people to remember the rough times he’s gone through as a billionaire Irishmen born with a silver spoon up his ass.)

I then received a message from whoever his communication director is for the account:

To which I responded:

Of course at this point his twitter account has probably blocked me. But another example of his narcissism and defiance has shown through. I expect this level of frustrating defiance to come from my teenagers at school when they fall into the petty squabbles that are typical of school. But this man is our President.

Frankly, I doubt anyone will read this because we are all exhausted. This is not a new revelation. This is the new fucked up normal. And we can’t seem to do anything about it because of the lack of conviction from members of his own party and the total conviction of his jaded-to-the-media support base.

So I’m going to continue trolling him until I figure out how to truly help effectively change our situation…

Oh, by the way, that free gift that I was given for supporting him?

What. An. Asshole.

[Update] welp turns out I was wrong about the account. I overlooked the fact that the account was actually @realDonaldTjump, subtly replacing an “r” with a “j”…. meaning that there is a crazy idiot pretending to be a famous American and making political statements based on their own account (see: @franklin4prez). 

This sucks for two reasons. 

1) it means that I had the most successful blog post I’ve ever written based off of a misread.

2) it just showed me how easy it is to create fake news. The temptation to stay quiet on the revelation once I made it was so strong that I initially said nothing. But considering I’m a huge opponent of all types of fake news and manipulation, I had to say something.

So in the end, we thought we had another example of the ignorance of our leader but instead we end with a lesson on how easy it is to deceive the masses.

No wonder ignorance is bliss…

Moderate Policy Proposal – Discounts for Teachers, Police, and Firefighters

Moderate Proposals, Politics

I’m Ben Franklin and I’m running for President in 2020. Below is a moderate policy proposal to retain high quality teachers, police, and firefighters in poor urban centers like Philadelphia…cropped-cropped-ffp.png.

Introduction

Here’s some COMMON SENSE: the great scourge of Philadelphia is poverty. Most other civic problems – crime, education, drugs, etc. – are a direct result of the fundamental need for food and shelter. The cause of this horrible catalyst is a lack of support from the “government for the people” via job opportunities, adequate education, and other services. The government can only operate effectively through the money that it receives from taxes. COMMON SENSE tells us that someone who is unable to put food on the table is also unable to pay taxes. Therefore, the less tax revenue coming in means that the government provides weaker services to assist the poverty-stricken… and the cycle continues.

This proposal is not dedicated to improving the decrepit infrastructure. That will be in several other proposals. Instead, this proposal is dedicated to improving the morale of those service men and women who are on the front-lines battling the negative effects of poverty: firefighters, police, and teachers. These civic heroes spend each and every day focusing their energies into improving the quality of life for the local population despite the lack of resources.

THE PROBLEM

Firefighters and police risk their lives every day to keep our communities safe. They battle the fires, both figurative and literal, that threaten to wholly destroy the neighborhoods. They are our noble service men and women and they do not get recognized for it enough.

Priority one is protecting the community, immediately followed by educating the community. Therefore the city needs to ensure that teachers feel equal support. Firefighters and policeman fight to prevent the expansion of the desolation of the landscape, while teachers fight to prevent the desolation of the soul.

A (brief) NOTE ON TEACHERS

Teachers are the creative geniuses that walk into crumbling buildings in poor, violent neighborhoods and become the impetus for positive change. They fight against the negative mind-set that threatens to pollute our children’s views of community, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

TEACHERS ARE SCIENTISTS. They take into account psychological developments of adolescents and making the appropriate modifications to proven teaching techniques implementing data-driven statistical analysis to ensure student success.

TEACHERS ARE ARTISTS. They apply a creative and an engaging presence, style, and improvisational techniques to ensure that students learn in a thoughtful, entertaining way.

However, the nobility of the work done by these wonderful service people does little to negate the psychological hardships that impact them. Day-in and day-out they receive verbal and sometimes physical abuse within the very realms they attempt to improve. While they are appreciated by many people, they are undervalued and trivialized by many more. Expectations for immediate results weigh down the ever-increasing workloads while classrooms get filled beyond capacity. The financial compensation does little to provide relief to the psychological hardships.

As a result, these front-line fighters burn out and move to the suburbs in droves. Why wouldn’t they? There are fewer behavioral concerns, more resources, healthier senses of “school community”, and improved payment due to the taxes of these lucrative areas… but there may be a heightened risk for grizzly bears. How is a poor urban city to compete?

OK, BACK TO THE PROBLEM….

So teachers are moving to greener pastures in the suburbs. Police and firefighters stick to the job until they retire. The appeal of these positions dwindle meaning less and less people are willing to join the services. This leads to a potential decrease in standards of future teachers, police, and firefighters. Less talented candidates or inexperienced rookies are going to take over. By the time they grow into veterans, they are ready to leave the plight of the city. Therefore, the most important job is to maintain these service men and women. But how?

THE SOLUTION

The answer is simple: incentivize and support. If a city such as Philadelphia is going to be able to maintain the skilled teachers, then the city must encircle itself and truly show these teachers that they are appreciated by the entire population. Standard increases in pay will not be sufficient. The funds are dried up and the state and federal governments have their own agendas for ensuring Philadelphia does not receive the money which is desperately needed. So what can Philadelphia do? What valuable variables does the city have as leverage? Why, we have our entertainments and our commodities!

Imagine for a moment, that a teacher is working 60-70 hours a week and is making approximately $50,000 a year. While the salary is satisfactory, the workload and the realities of exponentially increasing debt hinder the ability to enjoy life to the fullest. Since an increase in payment is unlikely, A DECREASE IN THE COST-OF-LIVING IS THE ANSWER.

The city of Philadelphia should pass a law that requires businesses in the city to discount prices for all commodities and necessities for teachers, police, and firefighters by 25%. This would include grocery stores, real estate, and entertainments such as bars, restaurants, sporting events, cultural events, etc. While businesses might chafe at the idea of losing extra income flow, the city would be able to incentivize the miracle workers of the city to continue with their miracles.

The philosophy behind the law is fundamentally rooted in the idea that we, as a population, must make it our moral obligation to ensure that our children and our neighbors’ children are safe and receive the best education possible. By allowing service men and women to pay reduced prices for all of their daily needs and enjoyments, they will be motivated to continue working within the city when their sense of moral righteousness fades.

The smart business-owner would be able to capitalize on such a law. While decreasing the cost for every drink every teacher consumes might sound like a financial waste to some bartenders, it will actually cause the opposite effect: an increase in sales. Lower drink prices will ensure a steady influx of grizzled, battered, and abused “miracle-workers” polishing the bar stools at 4 PM every day, a whole hour before most Happy Hours begin. Many other businesses would thrive as well since the usually poor and tired educator would feel more inclined to explore and let loose now that they know that their City-Wide Specials cost $1.50… imagine what $10 would do.

CONCLUSION

As we developed the Constitution in 1787, I remember a constant debate revolving around the idea of salary for political officials. In emphasizing the need for candidates to be motivated to serve from a sense of moral dignity, we kept the salaries minimal. It risked losing highly qualified candidates to more lucrative positions in the private sector, but we represented virtue and righteousness. However, with the positions came a sense of gravitas, which appealed to talented and ambitious wannabe leaders. If we provide discounts to these service men and women, we can let them live above their income, and might be able to create some gravitas for them to stay.

At least we’re not raising taxes…

Moderate Proposal – White Man Registry

Moderate Proposals, Politics

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“THE INVASION HAS BEGUN! We are being overrun! The immigrants are here to steal our jobs and destroy our way of life!”

White Men

(from Jessup McProfessor’s  “The First American Tradition: Hate and Distrust Immigrants”)

Introduction

It is imperative that we, as concerned Americans, protect ourselves militarily and economically. Despite our country’s economic struggles we are still looked on with disdain from other countries. We will continue to be a target for terrorists who look to destroy our image abroad. However, while we protect from external enemies, we must also continue to secure our internal protection. After all, the bark of the tree is meaningless if it’s already rotten in the core. We must do more to prevent domestic terrorism from crippling our lives. People are terrified. Society is in chaos and we continue to fray at the edges. During these times of distrust and frustrations, we must be willing to acknowledge the true heart of the problems, no matter who becomes offended. We must be unafraid to identify the element which is rotting us from the core. And we must purge ourselves of the said element, Bill of Rights be damned!

If you vote for me, Benjamin Franklin, for President in 2020, I promise you that a top priority for the country will be NATIONAL SECURITY! The first step I will take is to create REGISTRY to identify and track the most dangerous demographic in America: the WHITE CHRISTIAN MALE.

Clarification on Definition

Throughout this writing, the term, “WCM”, will be used in order to define the demographic of WHITE, CHRISTIAN, MALE.

Catholics, while historically persecuted by Protestants in the U.S., are counted because in many urban areas, they have held extensive influence for over a century and, therefore, have been actively involved in persecution and violence.

Homosexuals are not counted because there are too many Christian whites in the country who cite the Bible as a justification to harrass them, murder them, and prevent them from the pursuit of happiness.

Jewish Men are not counted because there are still too many Christian whites in the country who make comments about the Holocaust like ass holes.

Argument

Let’s be honest. WCMs have done a lot to advance the country… considering we never allowed anyone else to help. The metaphor about the tree is true of our country. As the country has become increasingly diverse, it has become clearer and clearer that our external image has maintained strength. However, the core is rotten, and that rot stems from the roots. Our very founding of this nation (by myself and my compatriots) began with rot as we watered our seed of liberty with the blood and tears of slavery.

Compassion has never been the strength of WCMs. This is what happens when one is born into a life of privilege: one begins to assume that they are more important and valuable than others. REMEMBER: WCMs successfully argued our way around the phrase “all men are created equal,” for more than a century in order to prevent equality for women and other ethnicities. We hoard our toys and privilege and we guard them very jealously. Then, like bratty children, we complain and throw tantrums when our privileges and advantages are taken away from us.

Unfortunately, our “tantrums” are more similar to the actions of cornered and injured animals. We lash out viciously. We grab our guns and we go out in a “blaze of gory” (#PUNS!). Let’s consider our responses to different movements in our national history:

  • New Immigrants (Irish):
    • Institutionalized Oppression
    • Lynchings
    • Violent Riots
    • Murder
  • Abolition of Slavery:
    • Institutionalized Oppression
    • Lynchings
    • Violent Riots
    • Murder
    • The Civil War
  • New Immigrants (Italians and Chinese)
    • Institutionalized Oppression
    • Lynchings
    • Violent Riots
    • Murder
  • Civil Rights Movement
    • Institutionalized Oppression
    • Lynchings
    • Violent Riots
    • Murder
    • Assassinations

These are only a few examples. The list of movements and events can be broken down into individual cases, but the pattern is the same. WCMs try to maintain control through institutional policies that suppress the rights of others. When that fails and these oppressed groups finally throw the chains off of themselves, we don’t applaud them for emulating the most “American” of images: the freedom fighter. Instead, we pull out our guns and open fire.

Since it is only human to expect a violent response from any group that is slowly losing power, it is our responsibility to ensure the protection of all Americans, the majority of whom are not White or Male. When our demographic screams in fear at the idea of armed People of Color (POCs) while continuing to arm ourselves at a frantic pace, we become even more dangerous. The violence is only encouraged when the punishments for this group is proportionally lessened than for other groups. FOR EXAMPLE: In January 2016, an armed militia took over a government-owned Malheur National Wildlife Reserve in Oregon and held it for 41 days because they wanted the land…. and they were acquitted.

We, as a country, need to monitor and track all members of this MOST DANGEROUS DEMOGRAPHIC in order to prevent violence against other groups from occurring. With that, I’d like to submit my initial proposal to be introduced on my First Day of Office.

Mode of Registry

  1. All WCMs will be required at the commencement of the Bill to report to their local registry locations within 48 hours.
    1. Every registry location will be at an alcoholic consumption location most closely linked to the regional demographic:
      1. Roadhouses in the Rural Regions; Irish Pubs in the Urban Centers
      2. NOTE: Marijuana dispensaries do not qualify as registration locations. Research has proven dispensaries contain a significantly larger percentage of pacified WCMs peacefully and amicably interacting with People of Color (POCs) and Jews (Js).
    2. It will be ensured that the allotted 48 hours falls on the weekend.
    3. If any White Christian Male fails to report before the deadline of the allotted 48 hours, they will be arrested on suspicions of terrorism.
      1. NOTE: Nothing is more suspicious than a WCM missing a weekend at a pub or roadhouse.
  2. Upon arrival at the designated Registry Location, the WCMs will be required to provide 5 pieces of identification including the following:
    1. Drivers License
    2. Birth Certificate
    3. Social Security Card
    4. National Rifle Association Membership Card
    5. A Family Tree with the names of every immediate and intermediate family member and their home address
  3. Once through the entrance check point, WCMs will receive a questionnaire which will be required to be filled out under surveillance.
    1. Surveillance must be security camera OR first generation American with a scrutinizing glare and/or a smug, ironic smile
  4. After completing all 1,776 questions, WCMs will be given a two-hour US History and Politics Exam to test their actual knowledge of unabridged American history.
  5. Once exam is completed, WCMs will be required to give a DNA sample.
  6. After Registry has occurred:
    1. WCMs will be required to wear a tracking bracelet at all times
    2. WCMs will be required to check-in at local registry one time a month
    3. WCMs will occasionally be brought in for questioning if any hate-speech on the internet is found to be sent/forwarded from near your location.

Sample Questions from the Questionnaire:

1) State your name (first, middle, last): _________________

15) Do you believe Affirmative Action to be unfairly bias in favor of the African-American population and other POCs who come from groups who throughout the nation’s history have been repeatedly harassed, enslaved, murdered – while at the same time denied fundamental resources and opportunities to compete – by your demographic? If yes, are your feelings hurt?

38) How often do you say the “N” word including “quoting a rap song”? Avg per week _____

189) On a scale of 1-10, how would you feel if your sister was dating:

  1. African American (10 – Embrace him like a brother, 1 – “Rage” to Eminem tracks) ____
  2. Mexican (10 – Salsa Dance; 1 – Fermente) ____
  3. Jew (10 – Yiddish for “hug”; 1 – ‘Sig Heil’ like an ass hole) _____
  4. Muslim (10 – “Salaam  Alaikum”; 1 – “It’s one of dem Got Damn A-Rabs!”) ____

323) Stand up and dance. After you have danced, answer how do you feel about it? _____________________________

784) Do you listen to rap music? (Y/N) ____

785) Do you listen to heavy metal music? (Y/N) _____

786) What are the names of country music artists that you listen to? __________________________

Final Message for WCMs

It will feel only natural for you to feel a range of negative emotions. Anger. Fear. Despair. Depression. These are to be expected. But you must remember that we, as a group, have fucked up enough. Our country was not founded based on any ethnicity, but rather as an idea. It is important that we now allow the country to reach that idea unimpeded by us….
… does that sound patronizing? Good, now you know how it feels.

My Promise as a Teacher: I Will Never Forget

Politics

The last 48 hours have been a whirlwind of emotions for many people in the country. Shock. Horror. Anger. Depression. Shame. You know, just your standard stages of mourning…

(It’s a terrible sign when a bunch of teachers are crying after an election, by the way…)

Now, Trump supporters will roll their eyes and say, “Oh you’re just being dramatic. It won’t be that bad. Now is the time to come together as a country and put this vicious campaign behind us,” Don’t get me wrong, I understand that sentiment. I really do. The American political tradition is built on this sense of reconciliation. After a long hard fought political battle, this gesture is what makes us unique and strong. You can see this feeling manifest in the statements made today by President-Elect Donald Trump. He went to the White House and described how “honored” he was to be meeting President Obama. His victory speech, the previous day, was humble and soft-spoken as he stated his intentions to help ALL Americans. His two minions, Chris Christie and Rudy Giuliani, even stated that they would graciously reconsider bringing criminal charges to Hillary Clinton! So once again, I understand the need and desire to put all of this bad blood behind us in order to mend our wounds and “Make America Great Again”.

Here’s the problem. All of these “genuine” gestures of reconciliation are BULLSHIT. To “let bygones be bygones” is to try to throw back into the closet all of the 2-week old, festering, dirty laundry that came out in this election. This is something I will not do. I have too much integrity to reconcile.

Here is what I WILL do:

As a teacher to a population of African-American and Muslim students, I will explain to my students how Trump won. I will explain to them that most people who voted for him were concerned about losing their jobs and that he was the only one promising to make it better. I will explain to them that only a fraction of the electorate voted for him solely out of a racist agenda. I will talk them down from the cliff as they contemplate all of the ways in which Trump is going to take away their rights. I will urge them to educate themselves and others; to organize their communities and friends; to take political action and peacefully protest for their rights; and to vote. I will do everything in my power to keep them hopeful in the future of our country.

But I will NOT forget everything you said and did, Donald Trump.

I will not forget how you championed a political agenda based on racist, xenophobic rhetoric. I will not forget how you called Mexicans “rapists”. I will not forget how you called on the country to ban Muslims. I will not forget how you spent five years accusing our President of being born in Kenya in order to discredit him. I will not forget how you used these horrible, hate-filled, divisive statements to help get you elected. I do believe that you are not racist, but your white privilege makes you ignorant, nonetheless. The fact that you would knowingly use this type of rhetoric to push your cause forward makes you worse than a racist. At least someone who is racist has principles, as fucked up as they are. I will never forget that you are less principled than a bigot.

I will not forget how you banned several media outlets from covering you because they critiqued and criticized the divisive comments you make. I will never forget how you claimed you would challenge the First Amendment in order to punish our free press if you were elected. I will not forget how you loved to deliver insults but couldn’t handle any in return. I will not forget how you ranted and railed against comedians, politicians, and pundits who made fun of your or challenged you. I will not forget how you often did this on Twitter…. at 3 AM.

I will never forget the misogyny. I will never forget “grab her by the pussy” or the appalling first 30 minutes of the second debate where you shamelessly threw the different accusers of Bill Clinton into Hillary’s face just so you could deflect from your transgressions.

There are too many other things you did to list here, but here’s just a few more things I will not forget:

I will not forget how everyone – media, analysts, and people from your own party/campaign – predicted you would lose because your campaign simply could not, would not, and should not be taken seriously.

I will not forget that my wife, my mother, my sisters, my nieces, and my other female friends and family did not get to see the first woman president become elected because they lost to you.

I will not forget how angry and scared my students have been due to the constant tensions with police. I remember telling them that they needed to vote because they didn’t have a right to complain if they chose not to use their right. On Monday, I reminded them, able to vote for the first time in their lives, to vote on Tuesday.

I will never forget the looks on their faces on Wednesday. The shock. The horror. The dejectedness. This was their first time voting, and the outcome made them question every positive value they had heard about it. 

I WILL NEVER FORGET HOW YOU SCARED MY KIDS. I will never forgive you for this.

So as we move into the next four years, I will be a good citizen. I have spent my adult years worshipping Ben Franklin and trying to create a fresh look at America’s founding through a “Progressively Patriotic” lens. I will respect that you are President through America’s Electoral College, even though you lost the popular vote. I will respect the Office of the President and give you a chance to solve the many problems in the country. But I will not forget everything that you did to make me lose my faith in America’s values.

I will never forget. I cannot forget.

On Doctors and Healthcare

Ways to Success

BenStudying

“You can’t spell ‘medicine’ without ‘sin’…. At least phonetically” –   Young Ben Franklin

I admire the times that we currently live in. Everyone aspires to higher education, with the opportunity for well-respected professions in the legal and medical field open to more candidates! Well, maybe that is not such an ideal thing. You see, a learned blockhead is more dangerous than an ignorant blockhead. Many men and women can call themselves “Doctors” and spread more disease than prevent them. I, myself, earned the honorary title for my electrical experiments with only two years of formal education and little experience in the medical field. That should serve as a warning for patients! There are two things in this life to beware of: the young doctor and the old barber. They are prone to make mistakes and can find themselves small fortunes by supporting certain pharmaceutical companies. Oh yea, and so can Doctors. However, he’s the best physician that knows the worthlessness of most medicines because God heals, and the Doctor takes the fees. Regardless, everyone needs proper medical services and therefore should be given the health insurance they need. After all, there are two things in life that are certain: death and taxes. Since health-care extends the former, it only makes sense the to increase the latter!

Laziness vs. Leisure

Ways to Success

LadiesMan

“Those who are idle will never be idols,”

-Young Ben Franklin

It is with pride in my heart that I observe the industrious “live to work” creed manifest in so many Americans. One works to achieve the greatest versions of themselves and is rewarded for their efforts. They know that they must plough deep while sluggards sleep, so they have corn to sell and keep. Sloth is a sin because diligence overcomes difficulties, while sloth makes them. We all know that no man was ever glorious who was not laborious and the sleeping fox catches no poultry. However, once the effort and labor is exerted for the day, one may enjoy the leisure of their choice. God helps them that help themselves, but even God rested on the seventh day.