What next for America, Donald Trump and for education?
A post in response to the USA presidential election.
The polls could never have been further from the truth, but what now for Donald Trump and for the rest of us? More importantly, what message does this send to our students?
… the forgotten people of this country will be forgotten no longer.” (Trump)
As we all try to normalise the truth, I hate to say it, but are we all frightened of change? Watching Trump’s speech at 7.30am on Wednesday 9th November – voting: Clinton 218 / Trump 265 – he actually showed some signs of being humble.
Now, do not misunderstand me, I’m not giving Trump my sympathy vote, but I can see how stressful being in the media spotlight could be and how ‘being on the attack’ would’ve been the best form of defence. I could never imagine wanting to go through that process.
But, what about our students? Some of our students may aspire to be the next Prime Minister or the next Mr. or Mrs. President. Many students will have been partial to the campaigns and privy to all of the vile media stories; they would have heard all sorts of vicious claims made in an attempt to become the ‘most powerful person in the world’.
What message does this send out to the rest of the world if this campaign is the norm? Is politics and the back-stabbing a sign of politics and professionalism, or is this a snippet into the deepest thoughts of our leaders and the views of the electorate?
I hope not.
So, what next for America, Donald Trump and for education? Below I outline my 5 biggest fears:
Trump ran his campaign – or movement – lapping up criticism and anxiety. He is a slick performer and an astute business man, but has clearly struck a chord with many voters. But, is this result as the NewYorker.com states: “An American Tragedy; a triumph for the forces, at home and abroad, of nativism, authoritarianism, misogyny, and racism?”
Who on earth do you vote for if both candidates are negligible?
Just take a look at the opinions of ‘The Hillary Clinton Mannequin Challenge’; was this a great publicity stunt? Did it truly represent Clinton, or her voters? I think neither; perhaps demonstrating how out of touch Hilary Clinton is with the average person in America? Just take a look at the end of the video as she laughs to herself – on a plane – next to pop idol Jon Bon Jovi!
Does this look like normality to you?
Opinions – including mine – are now irrelevant. This was the best two nominees America could muster and we should be worried. Worried about politics in general – here in the UK too – and question how eligible candidates actually are, representing opinion and the electorate.
4. The outsider:
Trump was an outsider to the presidential race, yet he marganalised many groups of people.
Now elected, do these folk now believe they are the outsiders in their own country? Can we trust the words of Trump in his winning speech? The American election results are very similar to the recent Brexit decision made in the UK in June 2016. Voters want to reclaim their country – whether or not this means financially – free from capitalism – or from an identify point of view is yet to be seen. But it is clear, the electorate are feeling more and more alienated in their own territory and cyberspace only supports widespread anger, shock and range of opinion.
The world in which we now live is a different society. Exposure and news travels much quicker and can demonstrate how a country’s citizens can easily feel isolated or bereaved about politics. We only need to look at Arab Spring in 2011 in the Middle East to gather a sense of public opinion on their own soil.
How long will it be before citizens stop feeling alienated?
3. The future:
So, what next?
The are many uncertainties to come, not just in the US itself, but how the establishment will re-shape itself in the US and how their constitution will be formed. Allies already established with good relationships will need re-defined under a new presidency. Stock markets have already taken the obligatory wobble and Africans, Hispanics, Jews, Muslims and females across the world will have that permanent surprised-look on their faces for some time …
Trump claims his presidency is a movement, not a campaign and that ‘the forgotten people will be forgotten no more’. I wonder if this includes all citizens or will he be true to his words? How will this approach evolve into presidential behaviours we have been accustomed to in the past?
Today, it is a dismal picture. A photo on social-media show a man gripping his passport ready to leave the country. What next for America? The world?
Regardless of your political views, what hope is there for teachers if Brexit and Trump become the ‘green-light’ for normalised mainstream political campaigns?
We must combat authoritarianism. We must expose lies and hold true to our values as educators, that people must be honest, work hard and be considerate of others. Aren’t these the values we should model in our students? The next generation?
What hope is there for politics? Elections that advocate hate, not debate and promote ideology, not inclusion.
Mr Trump has said he would like to end tax-exempt status for institutions that fail to use large endowments to reduce the cost of tuition says the Times Higher Education, with a complete overhaul of the federal student loan system. Already, high school students have been reported to protest at the outcome: will the education system be next to implode?
Finally, what hope is there for Mr. and Mrs. Average? Trump even said in his winning speech, “this political stuff is nasty and unbelievable stuff” yet it appears that his views have been accepted by mainstream. Millions of voters! Worse, these views have been aired on television and students around the world will grow up understanding that ‘extreme opinion’ is your ticket to the top.
As I said on the morning the Brexit results were announced here in the UK:
I took a step back to look at the faces of the people I was smiling and talking to. Parents, colleagues and children of my community. On the surface, we talk differently, we look different and in some cases, dress very differently too. But deep within, we are all the same. We are men and women: we want the best for ourselves, our families and our community. In those fleeting moments of thought, I remembered my childhood days living in all 4 corners of Britain, in sea-ports, villages and large cities where diversity was little or non-existent, or in some case lazy racism was still part of the vocabulary. Living and working with different people has given me the opportunity to eradicate my own stereotypes, to work on the front-line educating children who are our future.
Donald Trump is not mainstream, he is an extreme case and we should all remember that.
The best thought of the day was summed up below. It said:
“Here, world, have this. I’ve put two sugars in it.” (@SparklyPinchy)