3 min read

I Dreamed a Dream

Sometimes when tragic, dark things happen, that we can’t control - we can still choose to do brave, generous, kind things. And the things we choose to do still matter.
I Dreamed a Dream

I met with a class of 10 and 11 year olds this morning. I read the preamble to the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence to them, and I told them, that sometimes when tragic, dark things happen, that we can’t control - we can still choose to do brave, generous, kind things.

And the things we choose to do still matter.

One of the girls in the class - her family is from Mexico.

One of the Polynesian boys said he’d like Trump, because the wall would stop all of the drugs and the killing and the rapists.

I challenged him in front of the class:

“When she said she was Mexican, and did that mean was she a rapist - you didn’t right then say “No, it does not” - you went “meh” - and that it is why I am sad because of this result.

If I said to you that all Fijians were rapists and drug dealers, how would that feel, for you. For your father?

I say that as someone who's father is Fijian, and I know how it makes me feel."

The election of Donald Trump means that a Polynesian boy in New Zealand can be OK with a classmate being defined as a rapist by a person on the other side of the world.

And that’s not a world I want for my daughters.

One part of me wants to believe the dream of democracy, that the fight for a better tomorrow starts today.

But mostly that dream has died. America, the ideal, that shining light upon a hill has been abandoned, by those who call themselves American.

Too dramatic possibly.

And maybe it was never thus.

But as a teacher I wonder, how is any teacher in a school today, with females, Latinos, African Americans, LGBT students, how are they meant to look them in the eye and explain this.

Hate and lies win it seems. Again, and again, and again.

And those that we held to speak truth to power...

The media, which in the pursuit of ratings gave Donald all the time he needed. That rarely held him to account.

To the churches, and those who call themselves Christian, who abandoned principle and their very souls to pursue power.

To those who were OK with the anti Semitism, and the anti Islamic rhetoric.

To the Bernie bros and others who railed against two party system, in the belief that chaos is a better way. I suppose they’ve got what they wanted, I trust they’ll be engaged enough to make something of it.

To GOP leaders who left their ballot blank, safe in the knowledge that they will never reap the whirlwind.

None of this matters now.

Oddly I sat awake last night reflecting that so much of my understanding of the American dream is founded in my time in the Philippines in the 1980s. A time of Reagan and Cold War and evil empires.

And how far my own views have come since then.

But I'm going to turn my face from that idealised vision now I think, from that which the Founding fathers built, with two of the greatest documents ever written, and turn to my own.

To my two daughters.

I promised Bella this morning as I kissed her goodbye, that she will make this world better. That I will do everything in my power to guide her with empathy and grace and fire through a world of ignorance and bile.

We don't need walls, though walls will continue to be built. We need to give our young ones, the tools to see through those walls to what lies beyond.

So mostly I am deeply saddened for your country and alongside Brexit, for our world. For all that it was, and may still be.

This result feels like one more step down as the Republic declines inexorably into a remnant of the dream. And there will be those who write fine words about what it is, or is not - rationale words, humble words - personally I'm done.

I left Facebook after Brexit, so it seemed only fair to close down my Twitter account last night.

Rational? Possibly not.

But we get to make choices, like whom to vote for, and whom to care for.

So I will.

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