Wednesday, November 09, 2016

The Sound of Silence

When I walk in my classrooms this morning, I'm greeted with the sound of silence. A few people skim through their phone screens, but most students seem stunned, staring ahead vacantly. Some have swollen eyes that they didn't bother covering with makeup.
"It's going to be okay," I tell them.
I have to be the grownup, even though they are all technically adults.
In our county, we voted overwhelmingly for the first female president 60% for her and 34% for Trump. That means we're surrounded by people who feel the same that we do.
But Trump won the electoral votes. Trump will be the 45th president, and that scares many of my students.
Most of my students haven't had soft lives in the suburbs. They attended urban schools or they came to Columbus from Somalia or Palestine or Mexico. Some of them wear head scarves. Some of them are gay or lesbian. They're going to a community college so they can afford to pay class by class to earn their degree. They thought they were part of America.
Last night's vote convinced them that they'll never be accepted here.
"We've had bad presidents before," I encourage them.
I say things like, "He's probably more moderate than we think."
I make them feel a little better. Maybe this won't affect their lives, but truthfully, it probably will.
It will affect them in the laws that are enacted by Congress and the Supreme Court justices who will be appointed for life.
"We are all responsible for protecting each other," I remind my students. "We're all Americans and we have the same civil liberties. Our work is just starting."
We can't joke about it yet -- maybe never.

Maybe listening to Hilary Clinton will provide some closure.

7 comments:

francetaste said...

He lost the popular vote. Not by much, but he lost it. Like W.
Usually in our home, I am the obnoxious, unassimilating foreigner. I speak English at home, I listen to NPR and read the NYT and cook American food like tacos. When I go out of my house, I can be as French as the next person. But at home, I always fended off losing my Americanness. Today I informed my husband that I will be speaking in French with him (usually he speaks French and I speak English, in the same conversation). He said it wasn't fair, that I was going to exercise my brain more than him. But I want to practice in order to get an A+ on the French exam for becoming a French citizen. In 12 years of living here, I never felt a desire to seek citizenship. Being a legal resident was enough. But now, I am afraid of the future.

Just Me said...

I'm emotionally exhausted from worrying about the country. I probably need a little break but I in no way feel alone and hopeless. Half the country didn't have things go their way this time around. No matter what comes our way, we'll all be in this together. Thanks to your post, I'm inspired to express that sentiment in my daily thoughts, words and acts.

Paulita said...

Francetaste, What a big commitment. I admire your decision and definitely understand what drove you to it.
Just Me, Yes, so many of us feel your pain, but everyone needs to deal with it in their own way. I'm having a bit of trouble dealing with the anger. My own kids are feeling angry. I want to offer love and hope, but I've always been unable to look the real danger in the face.

diane said...

You had a tough job facing so many disappointed students. I told my husband that I'm so glad I'm retired as I couldn't have dealt with people in the workplace today, even though they were mostly liberals like me.

Roz and John said...

We were hoping for a different outcome as we feel it will effect us too as it will the whole world, he is a spoilt priveledged brat who likes to get his own way no matter what and is willing to destroy people and things to get it, the day after the UK referendum we felt much the same, just like someone had died, we have a general election here in France next year and sadly Marine Le pen is gaining a lot of followers, I think it is a fight for change against the establishment. God help us all.

Jeanie said...

I, too, am heartbroken. There are many things I disagreed with but the ones that were the dealbreakers for me were the human issues. Immigration. LGBT rights. Being kind and decent. Not paying people who work for you? Bullying? No. Neither candidate was without flaws but oh, how I wanted Hillary to win. I'm still grieving and probably will be. And then, I must move forward in kindness, compassion, light -- and hope that much of it was a big act. I don't think so. But I can hope.

Paulita said...

Diane, Roz and Jeanie, Thanks. The reassurance that our country isn't filled with people who are prejudiced is what gets me through. There are more of us who support civil rights than those who don't.

Dreaming of France -- Sunny Montpellier

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