Weeks ago, I was quite literally losing sleep, staying up far too late, reading blogs and news articles about the primary elections and the quest to keep Donald Trump1 out of the White House. The weekend before Tennessee voted was the worst of all. I found myself (as an ISFP) wrestling with what decision I could make on Tuesday that would be most authentic to who I see myself as. (I eventually decided to cast a defensive vote for Marco Rubio in hopes that he would be the third Republican candidate to make it above 15%, thereby splitting the delegate count three ways instead of two. Which worked in the sense that that scenario actually happened, and didn’t in the sense that no one else in the race anymore on the GOP side. But this is somewhat beside the point…) I had decided the country I live in could not, under any circumstances, have Donald Trump as the nominee of a major party for President of the United States. I decided that the hatred and ignorance he exudes would be poison for us given such a public forum. For each contest leading up to Tennessee, I stayed up to watch the live results come in, silently cursing the residents of each state who gave him a share of the vote. And as more ridiculous, poisonous things were said, I wondered all the more powerfully, “What is wrong with us?”
Then it was time to curse my own people.
Once my vote was cast, I felt a weight lift from me (as my “work” here was done). In the days after, I started to realize that how successful Donald Trump was in this primary did not matter anymore; and that him becoming the Republican nominee would not show us anything new that we had not already seen. As soon as Trump started winning states outright, we revealed our true selves as a nation. Any success beyond that simply solidifies what we already know is there – our country is filled with hatred, xenophobia, mistrust, greed, and religious intolerance. In fact, these are the things that can make you successful. These are the things you can use to win the presidency. Unfortunately, most of us paler folks, who didn’t like him, were prepared to write Trump’s early wins off as an anomaly, because that’s not the country we knew. But he is just the mirror showing us ourselves.
This is the country our students are growing into. If we, as teachers, can not prepare them to meet this world head on, to advocate for themselves, to stand up against bigotry and hate, and to create a new world in a different image, then none of the academics we teach are worth as much as the paper we used to print their diplomas on.
1. Back then I also didn’t even want to say his name, thinking we should cut down on his number of occurrences in the media, but like Voldemort, who’s nickname I stole, the things you fear to name only grow stronger.#youreawizardHarry (back)