Monday, November 14, 2016

Where Do We Go From Here?

How we all felt as the campaign dragged on, and on, and on!
Now that the dust has settled (slightly) on the 2016 election cycle, I feel that it is important to address what it means for educators and our students.  I am not putting this out as a platform for debate, mudslinging, and hatred that too much of the past year and a half has been about, this is more of a simple observation and hope for the future.  And I also write this as unbiased as I can be.  I enjoy politics (that are civil, based on facts, etc.) and I feel that our nation has the best system of government in the world.  Throughout the past few months, I have stayed on the sidelines for several reasons, mainly because I was very well set in my thoughts on the candidates and their views and I am not a fan of confrontation, especially when so much of the confrontation in this cycle was so negative and downright violent at times.  I normally do not share who I voted for, but for the sake of this post, I will open a door that is rarely opened.

Now this is just fun!
I grew up in a family that was very Republican.  My political views through high school and early college were very much aligned with the Republican platform as a result.  However, those views began to soften during college, starting with the mess that the Election of 2000 was at the time.  Through my early to mid-20s, my views became more center of the road, to even liberal in nature.  I would classify myself today as a moderate liberal, but I always like to vote for who I believe is best for the job, regardless of their party affiliation or their placement on the political spectrum.  That being said, I have voted for Republicans, Democrats, Independents, Greens, Reforms, and Libertarians, far to the left, far to the right, and everywhere in between.  In the beginning of this cycle, I narrowed down candidates from both of the major parties that I could get behind.  However, as the campaign progressed, my choices were eliminated by either personal preference or by the lack of votes in the primary.

How I am sure many around the nation and world felt when they saw the results.
As the campaigns developed and the candidates were narrowed down to Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump, I could not get behind either one.  I felt that Hilary had too much baggage coming from too many places regarding the various scandals in her career and Donald lacked experience and was way too controversial.  I am not a believer in the "lesser of two evils" mantra, so I ended up throwing my vote behind Gary Johnson.  Many will call it a wasted vote, but if more people voted third party when they do not like either of the two major party candidates, a third party would have a realistic change.  I was absolutely glued to the TV from about 3 PM Pacific on Tuesday, all the way until 1:30 AM on Wednesday morning, and was, like many people around the country and world, very surprised by the result.  But enough of my rambling, let me get to the point of the whole piece...

The debate is only beginning between all sides as to what a Trump presidency means for the United States.  Supporters are "ready to make America great again", while detractors are protesting, threatening to leave for Canada, and doomsday prepping.  So what does it really mean for us as educators?  It means that we still need to do our jobs to the best of our abilities and work our butts off educating the future leaders of the nation, which is no different than if Hilary Clinton would have been elected.  We still need to get up in the morning, go to work, prepare our lessons, find creative and innovative ways to present said lessons, be there for kids that are having a rough day, congratulate those that are doing amazing things, guide those that need help getting there, keeping a look out for those that are vulnerable because of an abusive household, bullying by their peers, continue to learn to better ourselves as educators, and go home only to wake up and do it all over again.  Politicians can say they are going to do a lot of things.  The bottom line is that those things will only happen through hard work and compromise of hundreds of people within our government.  No one person is too powerful to enact even the simplest of ideas, let alone one as horrific, deplorable, and vile as some campaign promises that were made by the president-elect regarding Muslims, immigrants, and women that choose to end a pregnancy (DISCLAIMER: this is my personal viewpoint on some of the ideas that were touted during the campaign; I do not judge you for your opinions if yours are the opposite of mine, what makes the country great is that we can disagree and still live our lives).  It is going to take hard work from the president-elect, his advisors and cabinet, Congress, and citizens like you and me to make the next few years great.

While I disagree with many of Mr. Trump's policy stances and things that he has done and/or said in the past, I wish him all the best.  Hoping that our president fails is hoping that our nation fails.  I know I will keep an open mind about his presidency, and I hope that more decide to do the same.  If you disagree, you have the right to do so, the right to protest, the right express your anger.  In four years, we will do this all over again and if his presidency is not what he has promised, we will change him out for somebody else.

With that being said, I will bid you "au revoir!" Until next time...