Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Presidential Election

I have refrained from writing about politics, despite being in a house of strong liberal Democrats. However, this presidential election had a direct impact on my teaching, classroom environment, and general mood. When I tried to show clips from the presidential debate, I had to stop because they were discussing sexual assault and Trump's lewd comments.

Jesse and I were both Bernie supporters from the beginning. When Clinton won the primary, Jesse was quick to jump on board. I took much longer to become a true Clinton supporter, but when it came down to Clinton vs Trump, it was a no-brainer. Jesse and I went to early vote together one Saturday in October. The girls were spending the night with their MiMi and PaPa so we took the boys to help us cast our ballot.

Election Day was a teacher workday for both of us because schools are used for voting places. Thankfully all four kids can still attend school programs on teacher workdays. (The trio are tuition students and we pay for Jackson to attend before school/workday childcare.) Jesse dressed James, Amelia, and Maddie in their "Future President" shirts.

Jesse actually took the day off to run some errands, conference with preschool teachers (regular 1st quarter parent-teacher conferences), and go to the doctor. We snuck in a lunch date using a gift card Jesse won on the radio. It was such a carefree day!

We were all happy and feeling optimistic about the election of our first female president. We put the kids to bed after our typical evening routine, then watched the election results come in. As each state lit up red, I felt increasingly sicker. I was so restless, watching the results up until wee hours. Jesse had long been asleep when I told him Trump was about to become president. By morning, the results were official.

Despite living in a red state, we are in a very urban, liberal area. My students and staff took the news very hard. People came in crying, snapping at each other, and asking lots of questions. One of my Hispanic students asked, "When will he build the wall? Will he send my parents back?" One of my Muslim students declared, "I was born here. I'm not going anywhere!" The mood was so somber in the building, our principal suggested we lead restorative circles (class meetings in a circle) to help students share and process their feelings and concerns. When I distributed our weekly magazine and discussed current events, attitudes continued to sour the following week.

Part of me is still in denial that Donald Trump will serve as our next president. Like it or not, it's time to embrace whatever our future might hold and continue to spread love and equality as best we can.

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