In every organization, members seem to take on different roles. There are the lambs that follow, the border collies that guide and lead, and then there are the donkeys. I am purposely choosing the term donkeys as opposed to asses, although in some instances asses would be more apropos. But I’m going to try to be nice in this extended metaphor.
As a teacher, I’ve belonged to organizations (unions, PTOs, accreditation committees, etc.) where I was one of the lambs. I listened to the leaders who were well versed in the issues and followed their advice and direction. As an administrator, my role was more like that of a border collie, overseeing the running of both large and small schools. And I’ve been a donkey at times, both in the good and bad sense.
There is a farm near my home,at the University of Rhode Island, where they hold animal science and pre-veterinary classes. The
donkeys at Peckham Farm are there to guard the sheep in the field from predators. Bonnie, Rosie, Jennie and now Jennie’s baby are there to protect the animals out in the fields from other animals that may be looking to take advantage of their vulnerability. In this way they are a positive factor in the general scheme of things. But I’ve seen them dig in their heels and become very obstinate when the mood strikes them. They become obstructive. They become asses. If I search through my own behavioral history, I’m sure I could give you many instances of my being an ass, but suffice it to say; I’m familiar with and therefore, recognize this behavior.
I’ve been retired from education for almost twenty years, although I don’t think teachers ever stop teaching. I miss the kids. I miss my students. And so, when I see a leader, an ass, pretending to “know” the perfect solution to the intensely complicated problems we’ve created in this country through our complacency, I cringe.
For someone who publicly displays all of the bad connotations of the term ass, every time he portends to have the solution to a problem, is yet another insult to all of us who have spent time in school with children. To tell teachers they should be armed; they should do the job of police, is ludicrous. But this bottom feeder, who has never spent time as an adult in a school; who has never trained with assault weapons or any kind of weapons, for that matter; (His father obtained five deferments for him during the Vietnam War when my friends were being sent to fight.) who has no idea what it is to be a patriot and doesn’t even know the words to our National Anthem – this excuse for a human being professes to have the answers and he actually expects us to follow along like lambs to the slaughter.
What he and his buddies, the snakes hiding inside the National Rifle Association (NRA), never expected was for the kids to become our defenders; our leaders; our border collies. So many of us here in the U.S. have felt disheartened by the results of our 2016 election. We have felt betrayed by the Republican “leaders” in Congress whom we expect to protect us and work for the common good. While we were sleeping, while we were complacent, a new brand of “leader” has taken the reins of our government. Leaders who believe their own welfare takes precedence over the common good. Many of these “leaders” are bought; made rich by donations from large corporations and personal interest groups. Their greed has put them far out of touch with the reality the rest of us deal with in our every-day lives. Their selfish priorities have obliterated any empathy they may have once had for their fellow Americans and for those who want to become citizens of our great country. Our founding fathers wrote rules and procedures geared toward protecting our freedoms. They never expected that snakes would infest the halls of government; that leaders with selfishly, bad intentions would dig in their heels and with every choice, take advantage of those rules and procedures.
But last week, the students came forward and all of us learned an important lesson. These young people have promised us they will ensure, through the power of their votes, the fetid morass in Washington, DC, finally will be cleaned out. And I have such hope they will accomplish whatever it is they set their minds to. I know. I worked with kids most of my life and they can be powerful engines to effect change.
I wrote in a previous post that I was heartened by the Women’s March and their efforts. I was hopeful in that post but I wondered who would come forward to lead us out of the abyss. And now we have the kids. And they are calling “Bull Shit!” As a former English teacher, I can truly say I’ve never heard such beautiful words coming out of the mouths of babes.