Searching for a verb

Exasperated, disappointed, frustrated, scared, angry, dumbfounded, amazed. These all do part of the job, but not the whole job. I’m unaware of a single word that would describe my emotions when thinking of the Trump presidency thus far, but there is a verb that does not fit.

I am exasperated and disappointed because, among all cabinet nominees that Trump put forward, Betsy DeVos was arguably the worst. As I outlined in a previous post, she is woefully unqualified to lead the United States Department of Education. Despite her many shortcomings and the stunning answers she gave in her confirmation hearing, 50 Republicans and Vice-President Mike Pence still thought she was a fine option. This is a woman whose stated goal is to funnel money, with virtually no accountability, into the coffers of private schools. While Republicans won the framing battle by calling it ‘school choice’, it is nothing more than a subsidy for those who can afford the burdens that are associated with going to a school well outside of the area where they live. It does not help the low income kids it purports to – instead it removes much needed monies from already overburdened schools.

I am frustrated because I simply do not understand the vitriol and xenophobia that exists in this country with regards to immigrants. “They are taking our jobs!” “They might be a terrorist!” “They came across the border illegally – they must be punished!” Do you really think the Hispanic woman cleaning toilets overnight at the local high school and mopping floors in a high-rise on weekends is taking a job away from a white person? Do you really think the Yemeni family that was fleeing their hometown of Dhale as the Houthi forces were closing in are terrorists? Do you really think a student of mine, who was brought here by his parents as a young child, really deserves to be punished for believing he is an American, because that is the only thing he has ever known or that he deserves to be separated from his parents, even though they pay taxes and contribute to their community? I am scared for my minority students, because some of them are undocumented and some of them wear a hijab and all of them will go through their entire life having to prove they are just as deserving as their white counterparts even though their last name is Zaki or Vasquez or Zhu. I am angry because people seem to be seriously considering building a wall for 15 billion dollars when there are people in Flint Michigan that still do not have clean drinking water and when there are former servicemen and servicewomen that are homeless. “I’ll take fucked up priorities for $1000, Alex.”

I am dumbfounded at the hypocrisy that exists on both sides of the political aisle. Think for a moment if Obama had even suggested that Fox News should be disallowed from covering a White House press conference. Imagine the reaction if any one of the previous cabinet members had been caught in a boldfaced falsehood. Remember when Bill Clinton met with Attorney General Lynch on a plane? Hearing conservative pundits, one would have thought the apocalypse was neigh. But meetings between members of the Trump camp and Russian officials? Nothing to see here.

I am amazed at the continual denial by some people of accepted scientific knowledge. People do not believe that human beings are, in fact, an integral part of the changes happening in our climate. Seemingly every month, I see a headline where the previous month set another record. But, the current administration seems intent to roll back regulations on carbon emissions and the fossil fuel industry, while also cutting funding for research into alternative energy sources such as solar, wind or geothermal. There are others that believe the Earth is 6000 years old and that humans communed with dinosaurs. Thomas Huxley said “the deepest sin against the human mind is to believe things without evidence.” Just because you want something to be true, does not make it so. You are only entitled to an opinion if it is based in some amount of empirical truth.

Each of those verbs, along with a few others, have a part in describing how I feel. But do not make the mistake of saying I am defeated. #TheResistance


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