Yesterday I posted a weird picture that I haven’t used before and made myself cry gushers of tears again for the boy the picture is a portrait of. I suppose it is a catharsis I didn’t really need. I woke up today with a blistering headache to keep my perpetual backache company. Could that have been caused by the crying and the blues that ensued? Probably.
So, I have no idea for today. My brain hurts and my heart is burned out.
I checked Facebook where I had posted this quote from Malala ;
I wasn’t really prepared for controversy. I should’ve been. It is obvious from the guns versus books graphics that it would stir emotions in my liberal author and teacher friends, as well as my conservative cracker anti-Muslim friends.
My aunt, a former career teacher, responded first. She wrote, “Like the thought.” She was a great third grade teacher in Iowa for many years. She loved all kids then and still does today. I want to be like that in retirement too.
But the next response was from a former high school friend who voted for Trump and hates all the people the Republican Party orders him to hate.
“Sounds great like most sound bites. Much harder to explain and implement.” My friend, Ali Hassenbutter (not his real name, but this will make him angry as well as protect his actual identity), likes to take jabs at me for being a liberal, and the subtext here is that, even though I was a teacher for many years, I don’t know what I’m talking about when it comes to education. So, I answered him with some heartfelt teacher-ism.
“I had Egyptian and Lebanese and Arab students in my classes at Garland ISD. They are people just like us. You help them learn English. They make American friends. Americans learn that most Muslims are not terrorists. What’s so complicated about that? Unless you start slamming doors in their faces and treating them as less valuable than you are.” I admit to maybe being a bit snarky in that last line, but sometimes he gets my goat. (I know I should just let him have it. I have never liked my goat that much anyway. It smells bad.)
A fellow ESL teacher from Garland chimed in even though she doesn’t know Ali. “And these students added spice in our classroom… Just like they do in the USA.” She knows all the students I was referencing.
Then one of my other Belmond classmates who knows and probably detests us both as heathens added his words of wisdom, “The real concept here is that we are in fact ALL HUMAN.” See there? The Bible banger gets it. And I really appreciate when he steps in and tries to make peace. He’s somewhat nutty at times, but his new-found religion allows him to believe like I do that we should choose love over hate as our default response, even to terrorism.
But Ali comes back with; “It takes both approaches to this problem. But then there is Berkley as a shining example of education gone off the rail.” He’s at least trying to sound like he is listening to our comments, but then he pulls this old red hot chestnut out of the fireplace. He offers it like the opinion of the crazy, racist uncle at Thanksgiving Dinner.
“Yes, because it was the teachers’ fault at Berkley. That poor young racist agitator from Breitbart was supposed to have a peaceful forum for spewing his hateful mouth garbage at young liberal college students, and the college administrators who granted him that right didn’t bend over backwards far enough to prevent a violent reaction.” I know, sarcasm is the resort of the defeated. I should be championing love over hate and freedom of speech over my personal revulsion to Milo.
My teacher friend had this to add; “I understand the “right” instigated that incident.”
“Yes, but they wore masks to hide their identity. That makes them automatically liberals, doesn’t it? If I am able to follow Fox News Logic, anyway.” Sez I.
And so, there we stand, at the very beginning of a month-long Facebook love/hate debate. And I will lose. You can argue with brick walls and score more debate points than you can arguing anything political with Ali. And the frustrating thing is, he’s an ordinary decent human being and stand-up guy too. Not just a dismiss-able deplorable because he voted for Trump.
I have no ideas today. I have a headache. If I can’t defend Malala’s heroic logic, then I can’t even argue my way out of a bowl of chicken soup. Doomed to drown in chicken broth. At least I will die healthy at the bottom of that mixed metaphor. That should be worth a laugh.