Friday, April 19, 2019

Dinner Date Disaster

We met and exchanged a number of wonderful stories about our families, friends, work, and recreation. These are good people that I've spent a lifetime exchanging stories, encouragement, and support with. But when the conversation turned to President Trump and his actions, the conversation went sour. A friend who supports Trump spoke in favor of him, and my initial reaction was so strong and visceral that I could not continue the dinner date. I was surprised myself that I had such a strong reaction and I've been thinking about it ever since.

Trump lies, exaggerates, shames and blames
The reaction comes from a place in me that honors justice, truth, and commitment to others. Trump's lies, disrespect, exaggeration, shaming and blaming have been like a knife inserted into me time and again. When I hear him make fun of good people regularly, it hurts, and it hurts because I know that these people, while not perfect, have committed dedicated time to our country over years--they've sacrificed time, dollars, and effort to do what is right and good for the people putting country and/or people before their own needs and desires. I'm sure their families have sacrificed a lot as well.

Trump does not support public education
When I see Trump filling the post of Secretary of Education with the sister of one of his big donors, a person who seemingly has no commitment to or experience with public education, I know that our President disregards what I do as a teacher day in and day out. I realize that he is not supporting what I believe in which is that public schools are a cornerstone of our great country, and if we adequately fund and support public schools, we will support a strong future for all Americans, a future that reaches for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all. Instead Trump demeans and doesn't support teachers everywhere by putting an opponent of public education and an inexperienced educator at the helm. This is very disrespectful and creates roadblocks to our good work as educators rather than supporting us.

Trump raises taxes for everyday people while increasing the riches of wealthy people and corporations
When Trump gives a tax break to the very richest Americans and corporations at the expense of everyday people, he essentially deletes our voices from public issues and expenditures. Money is power, and when he fattens the coffers of a few, he gives them more power and voice. Also when he burdens everyday people with greater taxes, far more than their share, he lessens our voice and power simply because we have to work a lot more and a lot harder to educate, feed, house, and provide healthcare for our loved ones and selves.

Trump is passive and complicit in the face of hate, prejudice and criminal behavior
When Trump stands silent in the face of prejudice, hate, and criminal behavior such as with Charlottesville and the Russian impact on our elections, he nods in favor of such acts. Had he spoke up against Charlottesville right away and even better, if he had stood with those protesting against the hateful White Nationalist movement, he would have sent a strong message against racism and hate, and he would have saved Heather Heyer. Had he listened to our FBI with regard to Russia's impact on our elections and acted right away against it, he would have put us on a path to negating such influence by foreign powers over our democracy right away. Instead his silence has made this situation more problematic and in dire need of new policies and laws to protect our government from such acts. Trump's passivity and possible support in the face of prejudice, hate, and criminal behavior is a problem that strikes hard to those who work day in and day out to uplift our country and its people in ways that are proven to be positive.

Trump has a history of disrespect towards women
Trump's words and behaviors about women also strike hard at women like me who have faced prejudice and lack of opportunity because of my gender since my earliest days. To hear that the President has mistreated women is painful and hurtful.

Trump chooses cronies and family members over the best and brightest
The fact that Trump surrounds himself with family and cronies that look like him rather than reaching out to surround himself with the best and brightest Americans from all walks of life is also a painful fact. I know the power of diverse voices and I know the potential that people who have dedicated their lives to good knowledge and good work hold for our country. To simply choose people based on how much money they give, favors they've done, popularity, or the fact that they look like you weakens our country in significant ways.

My friend is a good person. She has been an example of good living to me in so many ways, ways I've drawn strength from time and again as I raise my children, take care of my parents, enjoy my marriage, take care of my home, explore the country, and engage in the arts. It's clear we can't talk about politics now as President Trump is an affront to everything I believe in and everything I have committed my days to throughout my life. He harms the good country we live in and has set precedents that work against the United States Constitution and good living for all people. I do not support Trump in any way, but I do love my friend and won't let this political divide put an end to that.