To the person who dressed me down today for my dissatisfaction with and absolute disgust of the current POTUS:

Whew! I’m glad you got that off your chest. I wouldn’t want to cause you any pain by perhaps encouraging you to try to see the other side of things. The side that isn’t white and male and in control of policies and procedures and pretty much anything and everything you ever take for granted because you resemble that establishment.

You see, I’ll respect that man when he respects my gender. He shows me no respect so why should I give him mine?  Oh, that’s right, he thinks because he’s big and powerful and rich he can just take it. Grab me by the pussy and demand it.

And let’s talk a bit more about respect, shall we? I believe he shows absolutely no respect for the office of the presidency.. He parades himself around like he’s the cat that swallowed the canary. And we the people are the canary. He is dangerous. Deadly, even. I respect the danger he represents. I do respect that.

You say I should remain quiet. I should not voice my opinion. The way I see it, that is exactly the way Hitler grew into the powerful monster that he became. By spreading his “Fake News” and terrorizing anyone who spoke out against him. Too many kept their mouths closed until it was way, way, too late. I will not stay silent.

I owe him no loyalty. I am not a sworn member of the military. I have the ability to speak against him in public if I so choose. It is my right. And as I see it, it is my responsibility. I hail from a place of extreme oppression. A place where men told me when to be seen and when to be heard and how to behave. Where education was wasted on women because our place was barefoot in the kitchen with a baby in the oven and a roast on the stovetop. And I’ll be damned if I’m going back to that place.

You worry about my students. You worry that by speaking my mind I am teaching young minds to disrespect authority. Here’s the thing. First off, I don’t prosthelytize in my classroom, if that’s what you’re implying.  I don’t talk politics in my classroom – or at least not partisan politics. I remain neutral when it comes to right vs left, republican vs democrat. But we do look at all sides. We deal with a lot of themes in the novels that we explore – themes related to man’s inhumanity toward man: prejudice and hate and dominance and greed and violence and bitterness and war. A lot of these naturally lend themselves to discussions about the political climate of our world, of our nation. But I do my absolute best to speak for both sides. And in the South, most kids hear nothing but one side. They know that side well. I encourage them to do research, to educate themselves, to question everything and then decide for themselves what they think and believe. Not their parents. Not their teachers. Not their preachers. Not their classmates. Themselves. THAT is what education is for: building critical thinking skills.

As far as friending my students on Facebook, that’s pretty much frowned upon in this profession of mine and it doesn’t happen — nor would it if it could. That’s just weird and that’s just wrong. But when my students have graduated, when they are ADULTS then they can friend request me. Not before then. And just like you, they can block me if they don’t like what I have to say. Or they can choose to engage. Or they can choose to scroll right on past. You say as a teacher I hold sway and influence over young minds. I hope that is true. I hope my influence is in showing them how to think — not WHAT to think, HOW to think. How to research and analyze, explore and question, sift and weigh all the options.  If I ever try to tell them WHAT to think, then I have crossed a line. I have become my own worst enemy. I have become HIM.

I love my students dearly. I only want the very best for them. And them using their minds to form their opinions, rather than having opinions spoon-fed to them by the establishment is ultimately what is best for them. That is not teaching them to disrespect authority. That is teaching them to think for themselves. The two are not synonymous.

Yes, sometimes my emotions get the better of me on Facebook. Sometimes I react to the man in the oval office’s tantrums or his 3 A.M. rants or his pompous, smug face or his endless strings of lies. And you’ve got me thinking… Yes, you speak the truth. I guess when I react to him, when I vent on social media, I am mirroring his small-mindedness. That is shameful and it discredits me and I need to do better. So for that, I appreciate the note. I appreciate the heads up. I will try to do better.

But as for my speaking out against him — as for my statements and beliefs about the sorry excuse for a president we have in the oval office, that will not stop. I realize my opinions are not to your liking. I get that. I am not, however, sorry for them.

This nation gives us all the freedom to speak. When we stop speaking, we run the risk of turning into an oppressive, dogmatic dictatorship, much like the one in which I was raised. A place where only those in power have any say whatsoever. Where individuals become slaves to the whims and whips of an elite few. A few who believe they are the chosen ones. (Chosen ones as in belief in manifest destiny and God-ordained right and all that jazz and bullshit, not general election chosen one, btw. I can see you jumping all over on that term…)

No, I do not believe in people who believe they are the chosen ones. That’s just entirely too dangerous for my liking. And for the rest of my life, I will fight and I will speak out and I will not ever give up. I’ve been silenced before. But like I said in that blog I wrote back in November of 2016, I’ll be damned before I go back to that hell again.

Thanks for hearing me out…