Monday, May 3, 2021

When You Find Out the Preschool Teacher is a Trumplican.

Over the past 5 days, I have mulled over how to respond to my 3 year old daughter's preschool teacher's Facebook post of herself in the VIP section of the Trump rally in Dallas last Thursday night.

Why did her being at a Trump rally, and then posting about it publicly, bother me? 

I'm a political junkie, and I think Trump is a terrible President, role model, and person. There is a part of me that admires those of you who don't care about politics. Sometimes I envy you, and sometimes I judge you. I'm working on ditching both. I don't think I'm superior, or know better, just because I have an opinion. I try to have enough self-awareness to check my ego at the door. I can still be respectful and courteous toward somebody who voted for Trump. But I can't hand over my child to be trusted in their care, without some questions.

This is not unlike how I handle gun ownership. Good for you, not for us. If I trust my kid to be in your house, I'm going to ask if you have guns and how they're stored. I don't want to impose my opinion on yours, but I also will always put my child's safety first and foremost, and I think we can all agree, that should always be the case. I'm not saying I think this teacher brings a gun to the classroom, but I am saying I have some questions about her ability to discern good from bad behavior.

Why was I seeing a post on her personal page? 

We are friends on Facebook because she is the admin of a private Facebook group and posts photos of the students with updates on that secure group page. She asked us to add her as a friend at the beginning of the year, so we can stay updated via the group page. I didn't realize she would also be making political posts on her Facebook page. Truly, the best way to avoid this going forward, would be to utilize a third-party app that isn't Facebook. There are options. But that's not why I'm writing this post.

How do we stay connected + maintain professionalism in 2019, with social media?

I avoid discussing politics with patients. I always make the joke that I'm "liberal with numbing cream and conservative with toxins," (I'm a Botox Nurse Injector) and that gets a laugh and avoids awkward conversation. The truth is, I care very deeply about politics, and I don't want to make Trump voters feel uncomfortable in my care. I also don't want to risk a patient finding out my views, and refuse to come to our practice for their treatments. I am aware that some people feel as strongly as I do, on the other side of the aisle, and I still want them to spend their hard-earned money at our practice. I respect my boss and their business enough to take my political junkie hat off when I'm at work, or making social media posts as @BotoxNurseLindsay. This is why I have a work Instagram account, and a personal Instagram account. Unfortunately, Facebook is more of a free-for-all, and I don't love being "friends" with patients or co-workers on Facebook for this reason. It's polarizing. I hope this post can shed some light on this to patients of ours, co-workers of mine, parents of students in my daughter's class, and even Evy's school.

Personally? I vote, I attend rallies, I read books and articles, I listen to podcasts, I research and fact-check, and I volunteer. I am also a mom. I go to parent-teacher conferences, I kiss boo-boos, I plan birthday parties, and I bring the magic during the holidays. I keep the family calendar, I orchestrate our family portraits, and most importantly, I try to model the behavior I want to see in our girls. I would rather our preschool teacher know me as a good mother than know me for my political opinions. I would rather our patients at work think of me as a good nurse rather than a Progressive.

Pandora's Box.

Now that I know how opinionated our preschool teacher is, and what an ardent supporter of the President she is, I know how differently we see the world. Even if I were to have approached her directly, I wouldn't be able to "unsee" that post. Now that I know, I can't un-know. I have to come to terms with this, and decide if I want Evy out of the class, or if I want to give her a chance and make the best of this situation.

I want to give her a chance.
I also want her (and all Trumpers) to be held accountable.
If you voted for Trump, if you wave a "MAGA" or "KAGA" flag or wear the red hat, I want you to read the rest of this article with an open mind.

Our teacher posted a photo of herself at Trump's rally in Dallas, where he said the following statements on October 17, 2019. I imagined our teacher hearing these words, and then posting her support of him. She heard what he said, still supports him, and wants people to know she supports him. Here are his words at the Dallas Rally:

(Source: https://www.rev.com/blog/donald-trump-dallas-rally-speech-transcript-october-17-2019)

  • "The more America achieves, the more hateful and enraged these crazy Democrats become. Crazy. They're crazy. They're crazy."
  • "Crazy Nancy. That crazy Nancy. She is crazy. And shifty Schiff. How about this guy?"
  • "The do nothing Democrats have betrayed our country and that great betrayal is over."
  • "The radical Democrats want to destroy America as we know it. They want to indoctrinate our children and teach them that America is a sinful, wicked nation....What they want to teach your kids, not good."
  • "They want to silence your voices on social media," When I saw this I thought, "nope, I don't want to do that! I've got to do better! I'll just use my voice and try to be more respectful and thoughtful with it."  :) 
  • "...It failed because they had stupid people saying horrible things about us. Stupid, stupid people. They are stupid people and their ratings have dropped like a rocket. I love seeing it. I'm telling you. Love it."
  • "(referring to Beto)....A very dumb Democrat candidate for President, remember the flailing arms? Nobody noticed it, I noticed it, the flailer. He was flailing all over the place."
  • "(referring to Elizabeth Warren)...You know I thought Pocahontas was gone, left in embers."
  • "Sometimes you have to let them fight like two kids in a lot. You got to let them fight and then you pull them apart."
  • "(referring to Mexican immigrants)....Many of them are bad people. You know when countries send them up, they're not sending their finest, okay, use your heads, they're not sending their finest. You've got to see some of the people. But now we send them back, and by the way, ICE is fantastic."

Trump represents all the things I want to shelter my daughter from. Ultimately, I have had to realize her teacher is not Trump, and also I have to teach our daughters how to interact with Trumpers.

What do I want, now?

I want to know that the Trump supporters in my life will call out bad behavior when they see it. I want to know our teacher would tell a child they aren't allowed to speak like the President did.

The last thing I want to do is alienate our daughter, or have a contest of patriotism or moral superiority with this teacher. The last thing I want to do is prove Trumpers right, by looking like a "Liberal Snowflake" who can't have my daughter in her class, or trying to impose my opinion onto others. But I do want to make it clear to all Trump supporters, maybe you ought to think about how your friends/students/neighbors perceive you, when you align yourself with him. And maybe, just maybe, you should go above and beyond to prove to us that you aren't into bullying or name-calling. Prove to us that you're willing to see past this bad behavior in the President, but you'll hold regular citizens (or 3 year olds, in this case) accountable.


I'm friends and family with many Republicans. I am a born and raised Texan, after all.

But this felt different, because 
(a) I didn't really know much about the teacher before this post, and
(b) she is in a position of power and influence with Evy 12 hours a week.

Nobody else in Evy's life has attended a Trump rally, or if they did, they chose not to make it a public post for me to see. I'm just fine with that. This is new for us, and it feels extreme. More than anything, I feel protective of my child. I continue to remind myself, "Evy's teacher is not Donald Trump." I wouldn't trust either of our daughters alone in a room with Trump, so it takes a leap of faith to leave our children in a room with someone who idolizes him.

I think she probably didn't think twice about her post, or if she did, she assumed most Texans share her views. She either thought about it or she didn't. I can't control what other people believe/think/say, but I can control my reaction to it. I tell that to my kids everyday. "You can't always control your environment, but you can always control your reaction to it." I'm choosing to give the benefit of the doubt to this teacher, and I'm telling myself she doesn't realize how polarizing she appears on social media, and how that can be a turn off to people. I'm also trying to remind myself of that, and to maybe keep some of my political opinions closer to the chest when it comes to social media. I realize that might come across as ironic, since this is a political themed post, but I am writing it consciously. I have combed through and re-read this multiple times, and have edited it for days. It's far from perfect, but it is a vulnerable attempt at finding humanity in the other side.

I'm reminding myself of Maya Angelou's words, "When you know better, you do better." Furthermore, I'm considering that maybe I am the only parent in the class, and the only friend on her Facebook friend list, who was disappointed by the post. I doubt that's true, but I considered it. That notion reminded me of a banner in a classroom (when I was a student) that said, "Stand up for what is right, even if you're standing alone."

When you think about President Carter, Bush, Clinton, or Obama, you might disagree about policy, but you still see the President as a role model. However, we actively protect our children from hearing Trump speak. I am in the majority with this opinion"While 90 percent of voters say the president should be a good role model for kids, only 29% say he (Trump) is, while 67% say he is not." I think if the teacher knew her idolization of a bad role model made me wonder about her leadership abilities in the classroom, she would have thought twice about posting a photo of herself at the Trump Rally.

When Evy told me a girl in her class was kissed by a boy on the playground, my first thought was, "I wonder if this teacher let it slide." I don't know, because I only hear about events from a 3 year old's perspective, and I'm sad about that. I hope she has consequences for name-calling, if it happens in the classroom. Basically, I hope she has higher standards for 3 year olds than she does the President of the United States.
The following day, rather than keeping Evy home from school, we sent her to the classroom in an Obama silk-screened T-shirt. We thought it sent a message without being overly confrontational. Hehehe.

I suppose I hold private school teachers to a higher standard than I do other people in my life, because we are paying top-dollar for this academy, and we made the choice for this academy to have influence on our children. In the public schools, we acknowledge + accept the community is more important than the individual. We know public schools offer diversity and know that their teachers might disagree with us politically. The reality is, the world is diverse and we want our children to know themselves and their values, but also we want them to connect with people who are different than them. We want our children to be accepting + engaging + connected with their community, and that means people of different religion/race/gender, and also, political preference. However, our children only attend this academy for 2 years, at age 2 and 3, and their teachers have a monumental influence on their early development.

We are consumers, choosing to pay and send our children to this academy, because we want an influence that is non-religious, nature-appreciating, education-valuing, and filled with warm + kind staff. Those were the top factors in choosing this particular school. It is very hard for me to understand how a Proud Trumper can check all of those boxes, but I will suspend my imagination and give the benefit of the doubt, even though it might not make sense to me. I am aware that I don't have all the information, and I don't know much about this teacher. Currently, I am coming to terms with our last year at this academy being a monumental teaching moment for me. The girls have learned and thrived so well at this school, and maybe now it's time I learn a little bit, too.

Trump divides us. I want unity. Trump name-calls. I want conflict resolution with integrity. Trump bullies. I want kindness and love to prevail. I must keep in mind that everything I want, I have to model. If I want unity, conflict resolution with integrity, and kindness + love to prevail, it starts with me as the mother. After talking it over with my husband, I'm going to get the teacher a gift, and write her a note of kindness, acknowledging and thanking her for the positive things I've seen from her, because I want those to be the traits that are magnified in my own head. The past 4 days all I've thought about is her love of Trump. I have to change my headspace, not her political views. I have to check my ego and remember I'm not in politics, I just have a very strong opinion about politics, and my most important job is to teach tolerance + kindness to my daughters.

I was unpacking Evy's backpack this morning, and sorting through papers from school. Her report card was in there, with a kind note from this teacher. There was also artwork planned by this teacher. There were little Evy accomplishments, supervised by this teacher, that had literally nothing to do with Trump or that stinkin' rally. I know she prepared for the lessons and cleaned up the messes. I'm trying to focus on those good things because they make me feel better.

As Trump himself said, "I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose voters."

Perhaps with this teacher, and through our darling daughter, we can have a renewed sense of hope. I'm working on it, and I hope my musings about this have helped someone else out there, too.


1 comment:

  1. This was so well said. Thank you. I often struggle with those in my life that support trump and how to fit it all in together. How can good people support him? But I do know good people that happen to support him. I am so angry at all of them right now after this week's Supreme Court decisions. I need to get better about separating the person from the vote. I'm trying.