I'm Doing the Patriotic Thing and Telling My Sons to Never Act Like Their President

Oct 24, 2018 12:00:00 AM

by Zachary Wright 

Of all the innumerable ways in which I am disgusted by our president, perhaps none is more infuriating and nauseating than his bullying strongman swagger; his personification of that over-privileged brat who would, without a doubt, pick on the small kid, the poor kid, the Brown kid, the Black kid, the Jewish kid, the disabled kid, the fat kid, the gay kid, just to revel in the cheers, laughs and snickers of the surrounding crowd. And, frankly, if you voted for him, you have to ask yourself, am I in that crowd? So it’s not surprising when a recent study revealed higher rates of bullying in areas that voted for Trump. Here are some numbers:
  • Bullying in middle schools was 18 percent higher in GOP districts than Democratic districts.
  • Twenty percent of middle schoolers in GOP districts, compared to 17 percent in Democratic districts, reported being bullied.
  • Teasing about race or ethnicity was nearly 10 percent higher in GOP districts than those who voted for Clinton.
As I review these numbers, I think about those Trump rallies. I think about Trump at the helm, mocking a reporter with disabilities while the supporting throng laughed and laughed. I think about Trump calling football players who disagree with him sons of bitches while the crowd clapped and clapped. I think about Trump assigning a slimy nickname to all of his adversaries and how his supporters grinned wildly. I think about Trump bragging about sexual assault, and his supporters shrugging it off as locker room talk. Our children become us, not based on what they hear us say, but on what they see us do. So, no, it is not surprising when the children of the Trump voting community bully other kids at school, that superintendents across the country have seen “an increase in students being mean and intentionally cruel, especially to immigrants.” When you support Trump, your children see you supporting a man who mocks people with disabilities. When you support Trump, your children see you supporting a man who stands up for white supremacists and neo-nazis. When you support Trump, your children see you supporting a man who brags about committing sexual assault, despite the fact that he himself is a father to two daughters. When you support Trump, your children see you supporting a man attempting to tear down women who threaten him by shaming their bodies. When you support Trump, your children see you supporting a man who calls people names, equates Mexicans with drug dealers and rapists, calls African nations shitholes, and blames Puerto Ricans for being ungrateful for the federal response to a storm that killed over 3,000 Americans, while he so gallantly chucked rolls of paper towels into the crowd. Trump is the kid we tell our children not to be. But our voices ring hollow when we elect such a child to be our president. This is the Trump effect; the lowering of America to our meanest, schoolyard selves. And I, for one, am going to do the patriotic thing, and tell my sons to never, under any circumstances, act like their president. And isn’t that a goddamn shame.

Zachary Wright 

Zachary Wright is an assistant professor of practice at Relay Graduate School of Education, serving Philadelphia and Camden, and a communications activist at Education Post. Prior, he was the twelfth-grade world literature and Advanced Placement literature teacher at Mastery Charter School's Shoemaker Campus, where he taught students for eight years—including the school's first eight graduating classes. Wright was a national finalist for the 2018 U.S. Department of Education's School Ambassador Fellowship, and he was named Philadelphia's Outstanding Teacher of the Year in 2013. During his more than 10 years in Philadelphia classrooms, Wright created a relationship between Philadelphia's Mastery Schools and the University of Vermont that led to the granting of near-full-ride college scholarships for underrepresented students. And he participated in the fight for equitable education funding by testifying before Philadelphia's Board of Education and in the Pennsylvania State Capitol rotunda. Wright has been recruited by Facebook and Edutopia to speak on digital education. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, he organized demonstrations to close the digital divide. His writing has been published by The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Philadelphia Citizen, Chalkbeat, Education Leadership, and numerous education blogs. Wright lives in Collingswood, New Jersey, with his wife and two sons. Read more about Wright's work and pick up a copy of his new book, " Dismantling A Broken System; Actions to Close the Equity, Justice, and Opportunity Gaps in American Education"—now available for pre-order!

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