You won’t get my letter. You aren’t half an ounce of the person your predecessor is. But I know that you have no schema for what public schools actually are or do (since you were sent to a military academy at age 13 because – how did your dad put it? – he hoped it’d help you “channel energy in a positive manner“) and there are a few things I think you need to know.
Believe it or not, I’m not going bring up the ridiculous joke you nominated to head the department of education. She’s a threat, but a dwindling one. So I don’t want to talk about her.
I want to talk about kids, and why you should be terrified of them.
I work at a public school. It’s medium-sized, and in a medium-sized city at the bottom of Silicon Valley. It has a vibrant academic and extracurricular ecosystem populated by a beautifully diverse body of students.
For instance, I’m the adviser for the Women’s Advocacy Club. Now, I’ve seen your Inauguration photos so I’m sure you won’t understand what that’s all about.
But I know you heard about a little gathering in your honor that was “roughly” three times the size of your inauguration crowd; the Women’s Advocacy Club was there. By the way, a couple of them are heading to some elite educational institutes to pursue degrees in social justice-related fields. And they’re actually smart, not “skip my intelligence briefings” smart.
(How’s that Ivy League education treating you in the big leagues, kiddo?)
One of my close friends and colleagues also works at this school, and also advises a club: the Gay-Straight Alliance. The club includes a literal rainbow of passionate, intelligent, conscientious kids who empathize with or experience everyday the challenges of being queer in an increasingly unfriendly world. They’re also super motivated to educate themselves and their community about the struggles queer people face. And they’re pretty good at it.
On a related note, the spring musical this year is RENT. I’m sure you’re not familiar with it – we all know how you feel about the theater – but allow me to sum it up for you: it’s a rock opera about queer, urban, artists grappling with poverty and identity on the bohemian, AIDS-plagued streets of New York in the early 90s. I know it’s not really your scene, but don’t worry – you won’t be sent a ticket. Just letting you know. Painting a picture. I’ve heard people of your mindset and status tend to like paintings.
The academics at this school are as fantastic as the extracurriculars. The teacher next door to me is currently reading 1984 with his senior English classes. If you’re not familiar with it, I suggest you ask Ms. Conway if you can borrow her copy, since she’s clearly been inspired by its message.
The school also offers an elective called AVID: it’s an acronym for “Advancement Via Individual Determination” and it’s full of smart kids who are really motivated and facing some really, really big obstacles – like poverty, or complicated citizenship status, or taking on college with little or no family support… or any other mountain of structural forces of oppression. The majority of these students are in AP classes; they volunteer on weekends and help raise their siblings and have part-time jobs and they’re all excellent students because they know how to learn and understand why they need to.
All around, every one of the AVID students is a top-notch academic and social role model. I’d refer you to them for your issues with logic and self-esteem, but as a public educator I’m legally required to keep my students safe from predators.
On average, my students are fifteen years old. That means that they’ll be able to vote in the next presidential election (some of them will vote in the next mid-term) and that they can run for president in 20 years.
To them, that’s more than a lifetime away.
But for me, and for you, it’s really not that long.
In 20 years you’ll be 90. You and your ancient regime of billionaire bullies will be long gone, in any meaningful way at least.
Think about how easy for you to pass your pen across those executive orders this weekend. You truly made an art of it. My personal favorite was the one where you stripped funding from international non-government organizations that perform (or even educate women about) abortion, for which you surrounded yourself with a really diverse crew:
HASHTAG PRECIOUS MEMORIES.
But I want you to consider this: in 20 years, when your fifth wife is wiping green drool from your rotting chin, these kids will be taking power. You won’t have a pen in your hand then. Neither will any of the other dinosaurs.
Since you have no conscience to plea to and aren’t intelligent enough for a logical appeal, I want you to understand this in the only way I believe you know how to learn: through fear.
The future is going to tear you apart, to pieces and shreds, and you will be only remembered as the moron who started the third world war, or the second (third? who can keep up) Great Depression, or the first mass secession. Or perhaps all three.
Whether it takes a year, ten years, or ten lifetimes, everything you do will be reversed, corrected, and recovered from because the people growing up are a whole lot smarter than the people growing old.
And they’ll have pens one day, too.