What I Think

I get asked this question a lot in my classroom:

"What do you think of Trump?"

I teach 6th grade science. There's a time and a place for political discussion, and the 6th grade science classroom is not that place.

But, my kids know they can bait me into a discussion, and it's one I like to answer. Here's my response:

"Get back to work."

Kidding. I'm a better teacher than that. So, I answer from the perspective of 6th grade science teacher. I try to respond as if whatever I say may have ramifications for years to come. So, here's what I say:

"Kid, you know there's a lot of news, information, slander, bias, fact, and opinion coming at us from all directions. We're getting distracted and being told what we want to hear, or we're ignoring what we don't want to hear (By this time, I've lost a few of them. Only the stalwart remain.). Truth of the matter is this:

95% of media coverage of Trump has been negative.
Unemployment for African-Americans is at an all time low.
The federal government has cut upwards of 100K jobs, and the manufacturing sector has added nearly ten times that amount.
People blame the president for all disasters, and that didn't start with Trump.
The president, just like us, is imperfect, human, and will make mistakes.
We have an opportunity to vote another president in every 4 years.

The Framers of the Constitution created a document that enumerated 28 human rights. They weren't, any of them, associated with a political party. Rather, they wrote from influence. They determined that is wasn't an identification with a political party that would bring balance to the country, but an identification of political power. They wrote the Constitution to bring as much power to the people as possible. The federal government, they warned, would become a tyranny if left unchecked. So, I ask you dear child, how much power do you feel the people have?"

Mainly blank stares. They're 6th graders. They generally feel powerless.

"That begs another question. What is political power? Do you feel the government has the right to tell you, in the form of law, who to marry? In order to answer that question, you have to decide what it means to marry. Do you believe the government has the right to censor your speech? In order to answer that question, you have to understand what free speech is. Do you think the government has the right to put an armed military person from a warring country in your house? All these questions and more come across the presidential desk nearly daily, and do you think any person has the answers to every question?

No?

You're right. No one person can make these decisions. So, the best answer I have to your first question, 'What do I think of Trump?' is this:

I hope he does well, but my faith is put in God."

Look, folks, the president is no more special than the night stockman in your grocery store. You don't like how he has spoken of women in the past? No one should, but that doesn't mean he's responsible for Harvey Weinstein. Go back to you. Are you raising boys and girls who know the true value of humanity, or are you raising children to cower in the face of opposition? Are your teachers helping you develop a sense of integrity, or are they preaching to you from their own ideological playbook?

And that brings me to the Golden Globes. I don't watch them. I don't watch the Academy Awards. It's akin to a gaggle of geese voting on who's the goosiest. It's self-adulation. You want a real awards ceremony, go see who the Purple Heart recipients are. I hear a lot of chitter pairing Oprah with 2020. For those of you who heard the speech, I'd like to see if you feel the same way about it as I do. I think that a person running for president should be made of more than a vague, metaphorical, and substance-less speech. I am so tired of hearing people who we have idolized to infamy respond to hashtag news with profoundly vapid, nauseatingly vacuous, faux-inspirational speeches.

Problem is, that's what gets the majority of America fired up and excited. What happened to us? What happened to the literate, well-rounded statesman? Where have we failed this generation, and what can we do to fix it?

These two questions keep my teacher-brain up at night, and they form the foundation of my instruction. So, when a student asks me what I think of Trump, I have to say that I feel the same way about him as I did about the last president, and the president before him, and the president before him, and before him, and the senators, and congressman, and actors, and idols.

I put my faith in God.


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