A parody of 'The Apprentice' puts real words from Catholic presidential candidates in perspective.

Before November 2016, we have a lot to learn about the presidential candidates and their visions for the future of the country — and the planet.

Part of that means really listening to what they're saying — especially when it comes to the issues that affect us all, like the climate.

In the parody below, the pope takes a different throne — not unlike a certain presidential candidate was "fired" from by a certain TV network. He acts as judge and jury in a competition between five self-described Catholic presidential hopefuls.


And as each candidate states their case, you might join me in thinking, "Holy geez, this is way too close to reality." Take a look:

The actor playing the pontiff opens with some familiar words.

They're familiar because the real Pope Francis wrote them in an encyclical. He was quoting Patriarch Bartholomew, the archbishop of Constantinople and spiritual leader to over 300 million Orthodox Christians.


Like the pope, each contestant is played by a highly skilled actor whose lines were modeled after actual remarks made by the individuals they portray.

All GIFs via SumOfUs/YouTube.

Here are five things pope don't play when it comes to a presidential climate plan:

1. God wants us to burn fossil fuels.


Blessed? Or cursed?

As contrary to Catholic values (according to Pope Francis) as that sounds, the ideas were lifted right out of a selectively Catholic presidential candidate's response on behalf of the opposing party to President Obama's 2013 State of the Union address.

2. Talking about climate change? So stupid.

Yes, please. Make it stop.

The candidate quoted above, an “evangelical Catholic," thinks not being stupid means asking the president not to mention climate change during his visit to New Orleans for the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. The same candidate also happens to believe gay people, not greenhouse gases, are to blame for rising severe weather events.

3. Scientists, you do you. We'll be over here. Not listening.

Right. And we'll leave the not talking to you.

The candidate behind this statement hears what he wants to hear when it comes to the voice of his church. Of course, he doesn't seem to realize the irony of what he's saying.

He wants the church to "leave science to the scientists," but he'd rather lawmakers completely ignore the consensus among 97% of climate scientists that global warming is likely caused by human activity.

4. Energy policy is like parenting. You can't play favorites.

I'm beginning to think we shouldn't from this group either.

The spiritually confused candidate represented here wants to end all federal energy subsidies — not just for oil and gas (which amounts to almost half a trillion dollars over the last century) but also for solar, wind, and other renewable energy development.

He doesn't want to "pick winners," but oil has been the big winner of the past 100 years. Investing in renewables is really more like practicing good sportsmanship.

5. Climate change is real. (Wait, what?)


OK, that's what I'm talking about! Maybe we're onto something here?

Go on...

Oh, damnit! What a piece of work. Despite publicly stating that he believes climate change is to some degree caused by humans, this presidential hopeful's actions as a governor suggest just the opposite.

While his state legislature — his constituents' representative body — has urged him to rejoin a regional climate change plan, he has ignored their pleas, calling it "useless."

To tell it like it is, talk is cheap, buddy.

It's starting to seem fashionable among certain Catholic candidates to deny the wisdom of their spiritual leader.

Pained nose-grab, indeed.

That begs the question of who they actually follow.

The video closes with a clue.


If this is the first time you're hearing about the Koch brothers, they're billionaires who want to dominate the American political landscape. And they're spending a fortune to do it through elections and legislation.

Money in politics isn't just a threat to democracy. It's a threat to the planet.

And it has been a problem on both sides of the aisle. But we can be hopeful. Research out of Yale University shows that a lot of conservative voters are being misrepresented on climate issues, and it's just a matter of time before they take action.

The good news is we have until November 2016 to separate the wheat from the chaff and rally our communities for a climate plan both Pope Francis and the world can (literally) live with.


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A new Harriet Tubman statue sculpted by Emmy and Academy award-winner Wesley Wofford has been revealed, and its symbolism is moving to say the least.

Harriet Tubman was the best known "conductor" on the Underground Railroad, a network of safe houses that helped thousands of enslaved black Americans make their way to freedom in the north in the early-to-mid 1800s. Tubman herself escaped slavery in 1849, then kept returning to the Underground Railroad, risking her life to help lead others to freedom. She worked as a spy for the Union Army during the Civil War, and after the war dedicated her life to helping formerly enslaved people try to escape poverty.

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Heroes

On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

Culture
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The Hillary Clinton email scandal was a major right-wing talking point during the 2016 election that aimed to create an air of suspicion around the candidate.

The media played right into it turning Clinton — one of the most qualified candidates to ever run for the office — appear just as unworthy of the presidency as Trump, a vulgar, politically-inexperienced pathological liar.

The controversy surrounded Clinton's use of a private email account in which over 30,000 emails were sent during her time as Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013. An FBI interrogation found there were 110 confidential emails sent from her private account.

Clinton was never criminally charged, however FBI director James Comey said she was "extremely careless."

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Democracy

Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

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