Wednesday, 16 November 2016


Well, I was hoping that maybe it was a nightmare, that maybe we'd wake up and discover it was the most horrible bad dream of all time. However it's been a week now and there's no denying it any longer - Trump is going to be President. What can I add to the scores of opinions written in the past week?

I'm happy that our grandchildren are too young to understand what has happened. We don't have to talk to them about this sad turn of events. I totally sympathize with the many parents and teachers who have expressed confusion about how to explain this to the young ones in their care.

As a retired teacher I can best relate this to my experience in the classroom. Over the course of the election I have been privileged to hear many of President Obama's speeches. Obama is a compilation of all the great kids I ever taught. He's intelligent, but not a show off, "look at me" kind of kid. He knows the answers and gets great marks but never boasts or makes the other kids feel bad about their lower marks. In fact he's the kid who offers to mentor others in the class. He's your class leader, the helpful kid, the one you can rely on. He's thoughtful and polite but he also loves to joke. He's  a terrific athlete,  an all round great guy.

Then there's Trump. He's a compilation of all the problem kids you ever had. For starters he's a loudmouth. When Trump constantly interrupted,  with rude comments during the debates I was reminded of the smart aleck students who simply can't keep their mouths shut. No matter how many times you ask, no matter what strategies you employ, they always have to comment, to call out, to interrupt both teachers and fellow classmates. They think their rudeness, their jokes are a gift to the class. Maybe it's because these guys are often not so smart. They sure don't want anyone to realize that and so they goof off. Kids with learning problems would much rather be known as the bad guys, the class clowns, rather than the dumb guys.

When you call the parents of the problem student his are the parents who deny. They deny that he might have  learning problems and they deny that his behaviour is an issue. It is the teacher's fault, the other student's fault, but certainly not his fault. The closest they might get to admitting his responsibility is when they laugh at an incident and say helpful things like, "Boys will be boys."

The strange things is that sometimes when you have a class election or vote for a class rep for student council, the troublemaker runs and often wins. What is it about the bad boys that attracts other students, that makes the girls in the class swoon? Why do they ignore the positive leader and giggle at the antics of the boor?

I wish I was just ruminating about a grade seven class election. I wish this was a nightmare but it's the real deal. It has happened. The Presidency of the U.S. will go from the top to the bottom of the class, from the best to the worst.

Good luck to all the fine teachers and parents who will continue to teach their youngsters about manners, morality and our responsibility to care for our neighbours and the environment. I am encouraged by the many fine leaders who are protesting, expressing their views and standing up for the rights of their fellow citizens. I am heartened by the leadership of folks like Michael Moore and even the Conference of Catholic Bishops in the U.S. , who yesterday sent a letter to Trump telling him that the church was committed to resettling refugees and keeping immigrant families intact.

It's been a week. It's real and it's time to think about the best ways to survive these next four years. If he visits Ottawa I'll be there, with the rest of the protesters.

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