Saturday, September 13, 2008

in the den of lions...

This morning I attended what is known as "Committee Day" for my state's teacher union where we come together and put together a general direction and more of a focus of priorities for the office for the upcoming year. Well I have been to a couple of these in the past and it was always a joke how I am one of the few Republican union members (I am actually fondly known by our lobbyist as the "token elephant boy" which is a badge I wear with honor). Well I found that today, not too many people were laughing at the joke. It never dawned on me in what this meeting would be like a couple of months before a presidential election.

The board room was plastered with "NEA for Obama" posters and various placards for other ONLY Dem candidates. On all of the tables were packets of information talking about just how evil and bad McCain is and how Obama will totally reform and save public education single-handedly (okay, the verbiage was not exactly like that but it was close). Then every time I turned around there were people trying to put Obama stickers on my shirt.

The piece de resistance was when a US Congressman who is running for reelection came to speak during lunch. He gave a standard partisan talk but some of it really rang true so I found myself applauding every now and then. BUT he ended with something that initially stunned me and reminded me yet again just how devisive politics can be. He said:
"To be honest with you I do not know how you can be a teacher and not be a Democrat"
Well I tried to make eye contact with the only 3 other "outed" Republicans in the room and we just gave each other a knowing glance of solidarity but we soon lost sight of each other when people got up for the standing ovation from the comment.

....I just sat there and and took a slow drink from my glass of water.


onteaching said...

I remember seeing a signed photo of Bush on the principal's door at my previous school and automatically assuming it was a gag - someone had gotten the photo and fake-signed it. I was even going to make a comment about the joke (I couldn't read the writing) - I mean, it had to be a joke, right? Because if you're in public education, you have to be against Bush, right?

It slowly dawned on me, after a semester of seeing that photo so proudly displayed amongst flags and a cacophony of red, white, and blue, that no, it was not a joke... she was, alas, a (shudder) Republican.

Then again, one of the higher-ups in our local union was a proud Republican - I don't recall what her job was, but the title, along with her personality, gave her plenty of visibility. I would have liked to see her in the meeting with that Congressman...

Anonymous said...


I am a college student; who one day aspires to be a Middle School Guidance Counselor. I read your blog because I enjoy reading about your thoughts about school and the students and the middle school process in general.

I am aware this is your blog, and the purpose of blogs is to vent. But I just don't think there is that big of a deal that you are a republican teacher. I deal with people saying all sorts of dumb things at meetings. Possibly this just shows my innocence to the whole political side of things.
I look forward to coming back and reading your blog later in the semester when the politics are all said and done.

Keep up the good work as a teacher, Have a good semester

mazenko said...

Being a non-union teacher and a registered independent, I was a little disappointed that you would ever experience such unwelcoming feelings. Though I've worked in three different school districts in sixteen years, I've never encountered such a situation.

However, I do understand the prominence of liberals and Democrats in education, as well as media. It seems to me that people in these professions are most in contact with the struggling in society, and it can seem - right or wrong - that conservatives and Republicans are insensitive to the needs. This was the reason George W. Bush felt the need to qualify his conservatism as "compassionate."

I hope someday your colleagues grow up.

A Teacher In The Bronx said...

Hey great blog! Added you as a link to mine. Can you do the same?

Miss W said...

That's one reason why I haven't joined the union. I don't want my money going to the liberal agenda.

However, living in the Mississippi Delta makes me somewhat immune to the exaltation of Democrats to demigods. It's akin to the scourge of mosquitos down here. After a while, you stop feeling the bite.

Angela said...

I am a teacher, so I CAN'T be a Republican. I am a Christian, so I CAN'T be a Democrat. Guess that's why I'm independent??

Thanks for pointing this problem out. I hate, hate, hate when people presume to tell me who I must be voting for based on my demographics.

Lee said...

Great Blog.