Disturbing news is easy enough to find, especially on the legislative side of things.
But laws can be repealed and decisions reversed. The damage that Trump has done to us as a nation of human beings will not be undone that easily.
Connecticut citizens may remember an incident last March when white fans from Canton High School shouted “Trump! Trump! Trump!” at players from Hartford’s Classical Magnet School, which is predominantly black and Latino. It was an abhorrent display, but when we remember that Trump burst onto the political scene by denigrating Mexicans and Muslims (after a lifetime of marginalizing women and people of color), we cannot be shocked. And we don’t need a linear translation to understand the meaning of the particular warning. (Yes, let’s call it what it is. A warning.)
Connecticut is by all accounts a blue state and the Hartford suburbs comprise fairly progressive families—educated and well-to-do. I’m not referencing Appalachia here, or some outlier coal town in West Virginia. Neither was this the only example of how, over the past year, shouting the president’s name has become a kind of racist mantra: this is our white country, the rest of you should get the hell out.
The incidents are not isolated; neither is the increase in hate crimes—against Muslims especially, but foreigners and people of color also.
Now of course every time school-age children do something wrong or create a quiver in the universe, it falls upon the public schools to fix it. They do a pretty good job, but they can’t do everything. When instructors at any level choose something for the children to learn, they are by definition choosing against something else. Right now many schools are dealing with a resurgence of racism and bigotry, either as a result of some specific incident or because of some administrative mandate. What academic pursuits are suffering as a result?
Of course educators will follow through because they always have, but this problem begins at home and can be resolved there by parents who are willing to take the time to do so. Now I know that children metamorphose when they arrive at school and escape the moral restraints of even the best-intentioned parents. And I know it may take years, decades, to undo the damage Trump has done since June of 2015. But home is where the problem needs to be addressed, so that schools can continue to educate students, to make them smarter and better citizens, to turn out a generation of enfranchised voters with enough innate and acquired intelligence not to vote an idiot into the White House.
I’m afraid the Trump mantra may outlive the man, but one day it may reside in the same garbage heap as a Nazi salute, or “Seig Heil,” or the swastika, or the Klansman’s robes. Until then there’s a lot of unlearning to do, and we all have to work at it.