I wrote this yesterday afternoon over on Facebook, while a student was making up a test after school. I got several requests to share it here.
After months of the horror show that was the 2016 election, the destruction of the GOP as a principled conservative political force, the legitimazation of the alt-right in American politics, and the election of a dangerous demagogue as President, I drove to work this morning in despair.
Walking into school and through the halls to my classroom, I felt vaguely comforted by the conversations I was hearing -- words that indicated awareness and engagement when one looked beyond the anger, the fear, and the despair.
As my classes got underway, I felt renewed. An impromptu discussion of the election -- and why Trump may not be able to accomplish many of his goals -- made me realize that my students actually get what I have been teaching about the Constitution, the limits of government power, and the ability of the people to bring change through their involvement.
And as I looked around, I saw the future -- and I rejoiced. Why? Because I realized that these young people are an emergent force in our society. They are Hispanic, African-American, Asian-American, and white -- and they may be upset with the choices the country was offered and the results of the election, but they believe in the values I grew up with. Some of them will be attending the best colleges and universities in this country next year, while others will be be at less selective schools pursuing their dreams. Some will be entering the workforce and the military. But they are our future -- and the future looks damn good to me, regardless of the temporary residence in the White House of a man whose unfitness for office ought to be obvious to every thinking person.
Donald Trump has four years, perhaps eight, to try to implement his "vision", such as it is. These kids have decades to bring about their own. I won't be around to see the results, but I have more hope, more confidence, in the future of America at 4:30 p.m than I did at 7:30 a.m.