I have the honor to lead the largest local of AEA. I am the president of AEA-Retired. I am a Republican registered voter. Why do I share that with you? AEA is non partisan. We vote our education issues. I share that little piece of me because I have spent my entire career and leadership within AEA, AEA-Retired trying to see both sides of the argument. I have spent my adult life doing all that I can to live and discuss politics from a values orientation rather than a partisan one. At some point, though, this no longer works. At some point I cannot justify policy that is being made in a purely partisan way.
I’m a Mexican woman – my mother and father are Mexican. They did not cross the border – the border crossed our ancestors about 100 years ago. Both my mother and father have graduate degrees. I have two graduate degrees. My family looks like a Clairol commercial – we come in all colors. We look like what this country really is – immigrants from all nations, along with those who were already here in America. I can no longer remain noncommittal in conversations about what is happening in America for children.
To those who wish to destroy public education, you are wrong. I went to school when Americans knew the value of public education and the role it played in moving people upward socio-economically. American education isn’t only for one group who want and can afford “more.” It belongs to Muslims, to Christians, to Jews, and to atheists. It belongs to the rich, the poor, the LGBTQ, and to each and every one.
To the uninformed and incompetent elected and appointed policy makers that currently have the loudest voices, you do not have a monopoly on this great country. You never will. Because no matter what fascist-like, authoritarian type government has attempted to rule in any democracy; eventually you will fail. I just want you to fail before too many generations of students are irreparably hurt by your policies. I want you to go away before our future as a nation is set back so far it will take generations to heal.
What’s ironic is that my family has been here a lot longer than many of the same people who claim to want to guide “make America great again.” I can trace my family lineage back to our nation’s beginnings, but I still love this country more with its imperfections, its sometimes inequities, and injustices.
I love America, even when still, I hear people telling me to “go back to your own country.”
I love our everyday heroes in the Armed Services (my father was an Air Force “Lifer”) and the teachers who give their best and all to their students everyday despite the disrespectful pay.
As one man put it, “It’s easy to wave a flag in the air and call yourself a patriot. It’s easy to put a bumper sticker on your truck. It’s easy to put your hand over your heart and pledge allegiance, but that no more makes you an American than putting on a football helmet makes me Tom Brady. You have to earn it. You have to put in the work.”
Those who try to “make America great again” by cutting out opportunities for the most vulnerable, and whose policies hurt people due to their color, religion, ethnicity, gender or who they love are, plain and simply wrong. That is not what a great America looks like.
America endured McCarthyism in the 50’s. Those who supported those policies must be living in embarrassment now. Where will you stand when you look back at the “20 ott teens”? How will you look back on your behavior during this era?
I ask you who are reading this to stand up, now, and speak up for our country – make it better by informing our policy makers about how you want them to vote on policy.