One Independent’s View of the GOP, the SCOTUS, and the POTUS

While posting and reading online earlier this afternoon, I realized that I would be hopping mad about the political posturing regarding the newly vacant Supreme Court Justice position if I was a Republican instead of an Independent.

Sure, it probably sounds delightful to many Republicans on the surface – “I hate Obama and the Republicans who represent me aren’t going to let him appoint a SC justice! Right on!” But looking a little deeper:

It seems clear that a moderate or conservative-leaning nominee is the only type who would stand any chance of getting approved right now with the present political climate. This is a good analysis regarding what prospective justices would likely need to be in order to be approved by the current largely GOP congress.

Personally, given the above analysis, along with the fact that there is not a precedent for waiting until the next president is elected should a vacancy occur in an election year, I believe that it behooves the Republican side to at least seriously consider whomever Obama decides to nominate.

The Republicans already have a history and public perception of being obstructionists. Given that history, these outright statements of refusal by GOP bigwigs to even consider any nominee put forth by Obama could end up hurting Republicans badly in the general election – especially with those of us who are opposed to voting along party lines and/or identify as Independents. That consideration is particularly  important given that the number of voters identifying as Independents has risen dramatically in the past few years.

Also, if a Democratic candidate is elected this fall, the composition of the Senate and House could change as well. With Hillary being pulled left by Bernie, or if Bernie himself gets elected, the now-vacant SCOTUS seat could conceivably be filled with an infinitely more liberal justice which would put the Republicans’ refusal in an even worse light for their supporters.

I would be beyond livid if my party’s representatives had stalled for nearly a year just to have someone I disagreed with even more be appointed as a result of their unconstitutional shenanigans.

Basically Republicans are gambling that they’re going to win the general, despite showing themselves to be obvious lying, hypocritical obstructionists, and instead of working with (or even just trying to appear as though they’re working with) Obama to appoint a moderate to the SC, they’re going to publicly gamble with that chance.

Moreover, I’m not sure it’s a gamble that the Republicans can easily win in the end, leaving a very real possibility that the Democrats will win the general and can then appoint someone even more liberal, especially given how many Independents already had negative views of the GOP. Needless to say, I’m pretty appalled that they’re willing to play with those kinds of stakes even though I’m not a Republican.

If I was a Republican, I’d be pretty darn pissed off.

As an Independent, I’m significantly less than impressed.

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Learning to Read While Unschooling

A couple weeks ago my newly-turned 6 year old decided to learn how to read. 

Now, this didn’t come completely out of the blue. She’s been making some noise about wanting to learn how to read for several months, but every other time I had sat down with her to work on letter sounds it had quickly become clear that she wasn’t quite ready. 

This time was different. 

This time she approached me with a plan. 

First, she folded up a piece of paper and asked me to write the alphabet — with both “big” and “little” letters — for her. I obliged and went back to doing whatever I had been doing. About ten minutes later, she came back with several folded pieces of paper and informed me that she needed help stapling them together so that it could be her reading book.

We got the reading book all stapled and she asked me to spell out the title “*6 Year Old’s Name* Reading Book” so she could write it on the front. She’s known how to read and write her name for a while so all those letters were fine, but she didn’t know what most of the others even looked like. I discovered at this point why she had wanted the alphabet written out: every unknown letter I told her to write, she would look up by singing the alphabet song and pointing at each letter in the alphabet until she came to the correct one. 

At this point I was beginning to pay a bit more attention. 

Now, generally speaking, when my children have difficulties with something and get frustrated, we take a break. I don’t push them to continue, although I do encourage them a great deal. Every single time, it’s been about six months before they’re ready to try again and at that point they often find the previously difficult skill to be ridiculously easy. 

At this point it had only been a couple of months since her last serious reading attempt and it had been very frustrating for her. I put it down, fully anticipating that we wouldn’t see a marked improvement in her reading readiness for around six months, so when she first approached me this time, I began the process without being attached to any significant outcomes. 

But here she was! Proactively creating her own method for learning how to read and write on her own terms.

Then she informed me that she was ready to read “those books on [my] iPad.” The “those books” she referred to are the New Alphabetti books from ProgressivePhonics.com. I had been very impressed with them a couple months previously when we had first looked at them together. She had been less impressed, but now was insistent that she was going to read and that she wanted to read those books. Now.

Okay, then! We sat down with the iPad as soon as I got the 2 year old occupied with his building blocks. 

I immediately noticed a difference in my 6 year old’s readiness. 

Instead of needing constant help and reminders the way she had a couple months ago, she was remembering the letter sounds on her own. When we came to a new word that she hadn’t learned before, she sounded it out and then painstakingly wrote it down in her “reading notebook” before we continued. 

At the end of the book, she insisted on reading the next one right away! 

My 6 year old simply created her own reading program — including copywork — on her own terms and based on what she needed in order to learn how to read. 

When she finished the second book, we mutually decided that we should wait until the next day to begin the third. At that point she informed me that her goal is to participate in National Novel Writing Month this November with her two older sisters and me. 

I couldn’t be any prouder. 

Between my oldest two children, I already have a computer programmer, a gymnast, a musician, a ballerina, and two authors. I cannot wait to find out what interests this third child decides to pursue! I only hope that we’re able to continue supporting them all in whatever ways they need us to as they grow and find more interests or refine the ones they already have. 

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