I Am a Sellout

Senator Rick Santorum came to speak to students at our school yesterday as a publicity stunt, both for the school and for the Iraq war. Suprisingly, he offered to answer questions. I have to say, I’m proud of my boys. They didn’t let the Senator off too easily, but there was one question about his speech I desperately wanted to ask: Why did you refer to 9/11 when justifying the Iraq war even though no connection has been established between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden?

I don’t know how we can talk about free speech in America when I know for a fact that asking that question would have gotten me fired. If I were teaching in a public school, asking that question would have gotten me a discipline slip at the very least. We have become a nation so afraid of what people think and how they will react that we censor ourselves to protect our families and our jobs. I had a teacher who told me, “Doing the easy thing is rarely right and doing the right thing is rarely easy”. I am ashamed to say that yesterday, I did the EASY thing even though I knew with all of my heart that it wasn’t the RIGHT thing. I set a bad example for my students, and taught them to keep their mouths shut even when they come across something they KNOW is wrong.


8 Responses to “I Am a Sellout”

  1. 1 daveawayfromhome
    January 13, 2006 at 9:26 pm

    Yeah, that’s a real toughie. My wife has to walk the same tightrope at her public school. When did that change anyway? You watch any movie or show about school during the Viet Nam era, and there is always one hippy-dippy war-protesting teacher (usually with granny glasses and the words “hey maan” popping out of his/her mouth). Presumably that figure appears because everyone was familiar with it. But not today – when did we become so afraid that one teacher would “warp” the minds of our children, whichever side they were leaning way over to.
    Let’s be honest, kids arent that maleable. If they were, they wouldnt run riot the way they so often do. When faced with Miss Granny-Glasses or Mr. Commie-Hater, most kids roll their eyes, ignore the rhetoric, and go back to their note-passing. So why worry about it?

  2. 2 Anonymous
    January 14, 2006 at 2:26 pm

    “I am ashamed to say that yesterday, I did the EASY thing even though I knew with all of my heart that it wasn’t the RIGHT thing. I set a bad example for my students, and taught them to keep their mouths shut even when they come across something they KNOW is wrong.”

    I am wondering how your students would have known your bias and that you choose to keep your mouth shut.

  3. 3 United We Lay
    January 14, 2006 at 2:38 pm

    They wouldn’t have. I don’t talk about politics with my students. You very rarely get the opportunity to ask a Senator any question you want, and instead of taking mine, I sat back and let the kids ask “easy” questions.

  4. 4 Daniel Hoffmann-Gill
    January 15, 2006 at 6:53 pm

    Anon: bias?

    I see no bias, I see a fact, there never was connection between 9/11 and Iraq.

    How is that bias?

  5. 5 exMI
    January 16, 2006 at 5:39 pm

    YOur student asked easy questions? See that is where the failure is. YOU should have taught your students to ask the hard questions.

  6. 6 United We Lay
    January 17, 2006 at 4:02 pm

    They weren;t all mine. And I’ve taught my guys the importance of asking only questions you REALLY want the answers to. Most of the questions revolved around Sharon. One student asked about Syria. Another asked about Iran and if Santorum thought we’d be fighting there next. He tried not to comment, but in doing so, basically said yes. Teaching them to ask hard questions could give them a good view of my political opinion, especially since Republicans or Bush supporters are only asking easy questions. I need to let my students make up their minds on their own. I’m insulted that you feel I’m failing my students because they didn’t ask the right questions. They’re 14.

  7. 7 exMI
    January 17, 2006 at 4:22 pm

    Offhand, I’d say those sounded like pretty good questions to me.

  8. 8 United We Lay
    January 17, 2006 at 10:01 pm

    Thanks, but they could have done better.

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I am not perfect. I do my best to practice what I preach, but I am human. My mantra is, "DO NO HARM". I may not always succeed, but I will always try. My goal is to be a better person today than I was yesterday.

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