I’ve never been political. Until this past year, I couldn’t have cared less about the presidential race or any current event for that matter. If it wasn’t a blurb on FB, I would have been none the wiser. Until this past year I was content to be oblivious, but really just ignorant, with events happening in the world.
Today just made me sad-for educators and for our country. Nineteen days of- I don’t even know how to describe it. I am disappointed that this is the image of our country, in this moment. I hope this is a tiny blip in our trajectory forward.
I totally admit I have only walked in white girl shoes. I grew up in a border town. I know what immigration looks like. They’ve had ‘the wall’ for years and it takes hours to cross the border legally. Like any immigrant, they are coming for better opportunities. People come to have better lives than the ones they left behind- your basic social studies class tenet.
It’s no secret I have had a jillion jobs, but at their core they have always been in the service industry. I got my undergrad degree in Hotel Management- the epitome of immigrant employment. I can tell you that it is not many ‘natives’ that are washing the dishes, doing the laundry, mopping, or the cooking. The pittance these jobs pay makes that hotel job just one of their full-time jobs. They aren’t stealing jobs from anyone. They’re also the folks manicuring your yard, taking care of your children, building your city and keeping your house as well as many other jobs that most people would never choose to do.
I ‘ve been in education for over ten years, which is also a service industry. Until this school year, I had only worked at impoverished schools with minorities and immigrants. The schools and student populations are getting cheated economically and socially by the continued divide of the haves and have nots. Teachers are not the scapegoats for failing schools! Many other social and political schemes are at play here. Charter schools and vouchers made their last digs in the sadly failing economy of Michigan. Today we voted to share this travesty with the rest of the nation. How did we get here?
It’s my opinion, but we have been losing the tenets of our country pre-DJT, but now there seems to be a champion for creating more division between us. Immigration has been the basis of our country- our diversity and opportunity set us apart from the world.
I admit my skepticism is very strong about our new administration. American First? I hope that means looking at all criminals. Helping the homeless and feeding the hungry. Good housing. Secondary education that isn’t ridiculously overpriced. Job training that reflects a modern society. Stopping child abuse and fixing CPS. Help for those with addiction. Paying a fair wage.
We have a really big mess and I hope Americans do become priority. I just don’t think we are going to get there by shuttering the windows, locking doors and turning in on ourselves. I think there is enough for everyone- anyone who wants to seek refuge and have opportunities. Maybe we haven’t gone about it the right way, but scrapping it or isolation is not the answer. We have good things that need improvement. We need to rally around something better.
Maybe I’ve become too polarized by the news. I have taken on Twitter and I am too fascinated by the influx of information and opinion. I think I might be slightly obsessed with ‘fake news.’ Whatever the case, I am glad that all of this has made me more aware of the need to be informed and to understand the direction we are going. I know I am not going to let ignorance catch me behind the times any more. I still hope for better times ahead- we really need them!
In the meantime, I am getting comic relief watching SNL…because they’re killing it!