Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Are There Always Two Sides to Every Story?

This post is about when teaching bumps into politics and isn't about technology. Stop reading if you don't wish to read about politics.

I'm a Democrat. I'm 47 and haven't voted for a Republican at the state or national level since I was 26. (I routinely vote Republican for local school board but that's a different story). I loathed Bush as a president. But he's a decent human being and a patriot. Mitt Romney, I actually liked. He too is a fine human being. So were Bob Dole and Pappy Bush. I've been a teacher through every election since 1992. Early in my career, I told kids who I was voting for. More recently, especially in 2008 and 2012, I consciously and deliberately avoided tipping my hand in any discussion about politics. I've come to think of taking sides is an abuse of power.

My school is rightly struggling with how to talk about Donald Trump. My school's student population votes overwhelmingly democratic in every mock election. The parent body is very liberal. If anything, the faculty is even more liberal. Over the years, I've thought that some teachers have been far too partisan. Republicans aren't idiots  Republican students have been made to feel that way.  We shouldn't have waded into debates about Obama vs. Romney and Bush vs. Gore. The institution itself practically celebrated after Obama won in 2008. That was wrong. 

As a reaction to this, our administration had us talk about the 2016 election at the end of year faculty in-service meetings and specifically what to say about Donald Trump upon our return to school in the fall. Passions will be high. Our students are engaged in politics. It isn't easy running a school. I'm sure administrators have received loud and clear feedback from our few conservative parents over the years. 

Right message. Wrong year for it. 

Trump is different. He dabbles dangerously with the racist right (don't think I am accusing the right as racist- I'm talking specifically about the so-called alt-right.) He wouldn't even disavow David Duke, the KKK leader.  He has posted anti-Semitic images. His anti-Latino and anti-Muslim views are toxic. 

Are there two sides to every story? I know and like some Trump voters. Some are in my family. They feel he doesn't really mean all he says and they feel he is a breath of fresh air and that he will disrupt politics as normal in DC. On the other hand, I fear this is what fascism looks like when it comes to America and I'm scared. 

I am in conflict. I will abuse my authority in speaking out. I will be complicit with racism in staying silent. What will you do reader? 

Forgive my foray into politics. I promise I'll go back to tech posts. 

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