We are in deep trouble.
I told you all that I would probably stumble in my resolve to handle this election with grace. I am flabbergasted at our choice in president and heartbroken that Jefferson County abandoned its children. The damage done so far is only the beginning.
That said, I’m not giving up on my country or my profession. Groups will face persecution on a scale we haven’t seen in quite some time, but those of us who care for justice—not just for ourselves but for everyone—are going to have to step up. After all, when justice belongs only to a few it isn’t justice; it’s privilege. We may find that privilege is a precarious thing. You know, that “First they came for the Socialists” kind of thing.
We are going to have to take risks, invest time, be and do more than we ever thought we could. We cannot surrender to bigotry and ignorance and fear.
We don’t have to hate anyone to do that. We don’t have to spread vitriol. We do have to speak up for justice, show up for justice, invite and invite and invite the rest of our country (and our county) to join us.
I know my fellow teachers will be disheartened today. We’ll be back to big pay cuts. We’ll hemorrhage teachers to all the other districts that chose to invest in their children. It’s difficult not to feel as though we have worked so hard only to be slapped in the face. Take some time, Jeffco teachers. Lick your wounds. I am considering teaching my classes today and then taking half a sick day in the afternoon when I don’t have students. I feel a need for church.
But I have an after-school commitment to a kid that I’ll go back for, because I promised that no matter what I would be the teacher my students deserve. I meant it.
At some point we’re going to have to shake it off, and those of us who remain will have a lot of strenuous work to do.
People before me have worked hard and made sacrifices to make progress, to form a union that protects teachers and kids, to provide opportunities to kids of all backgrounds, to strengthen families in all their forms. It’s bad enough to be facing the setbacks we are in these areas, but I will not abandon these causes for which others gave so much. I may feel discouraged, but I will not be dissuaded.
We lose only when we surrender.