As it is April and poetry has dominated my classroom with more deliberate attention this month, I will share a poem from the magnificent Langston Hughes. Hughes’ words have echoed in my mind all week. Maybe it’s because of the violence shattering our world peace, or the politicians bent on curtailing a host of civil freedoms, or that the richest man in the world will make sure that Twitter is more volitive and destructive, I’m not sure, but after you read through maybe you will agree “Democracy” is worth pondering today.
Democracy will not come
Today, this year
Through compromise and fear.
The last 48 hours has uncovered both the strength of the Georgian populace and the arrogance of the terrorists’ sedition. In a swirl of highs and lows we stand in today’s aftermath with a shattered republic underfoot. Yes, there is the call of the wild in the air but it is a tainted one: more than ever we need to chase down every trail of hope we can. This messy business will be pondered by those far more engrossed in politics than me, over and over for days and weeks and many years ahead, as it should be for acts of this magnitude: our temple to Democracy was desecrated by a mob of craven and ignorant anti-Americans. But I clearly believe these people do not represent most citizens. They do not listen to facts of Science or Math, they don’t attend a church that preaches compassion or love, and they certainly don’t understand how government works. Instead they raise the vile confederate flag, adore themselves with racist tattoos, and find their facts from unvetted news sources. Their views are alien to our scholars’ interpretations of our constitution and the morality of our best. For sanity’s sake, I’ll trust our elected officials and law enforcement to bring justice to these criminals and their President, and now, loudly applaud the brave and brilliant efforts of Georgian voters, who have heralded in much needed change to our Senate. Moving with faith, we head into our wild woods.
This week, in small towns and big cities, from coast to coast and border to border, students walked out of their school building with one common message: enough is enough. Witness our next generation of voters. They’re organized. On the move. Asking the tough questions to legislators and senators and even our president about gun control and school safety and what they’re going to do to return to civility. They’re ready to tackle the hard stuff. And these high school students will be registered voters in 2020, remembering who listened to their pleas, who is looking after them.