I will protect your pensions. Nothing about your pension is going to change when I am governor. - Chris Christie, "An Open Letter to the Teachers of NJ" October, 2009

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Trump and Christie: Everything Teachers Stand Against

Most of what needs to be said about Donald Trump’s appalling performance last night has been said. But I want to quickly add two thoughts. 

First, as an educator, I want to make sure we acknowledge that the massive damage Trump has done to our country includes his corrupting influence on American children. Every day, teachers go into our schools and try to instill important values in our students: respect, honesty, integrity, civility, modesty, empathy. Donald Trump’s whole life, however, has been a wholesale rejection of every personal characteristic a citizen in a democracy should strive to embody.

 

Donald Trump can't even lift himself to the level of behavior expected in an elementary school.  His preening, whining, blustering foolishness would never be tolerated in a second grader. His inability to accept responsibility for his actions would earn him a conference in the principal’s office with his parents. His casual disregard for the truth would result in a string of Ns ("Needs Improvement") on his report card.

 

We’ve had many bad presidents in my lifetime; not one, however, has been so craven, so boorish, so full of contempt for others that they didn't have some positive attribute that a teacher could point to. But not this man -- there isn’t a single quality in the leader of our nation that an American student should emulate. 


The fact that a man of such low character holds high office makes it that much more difficult for teachers to convince their students that the hard work of making yourself into a better person is worth the effort. Kids need role models; foremost among those role models should be the president. Yet every time he opens his mouth, he demonstrates to our children how not to behave.

 

Second: for eight long, exhausting years, I watched as Chris Christie drove my beloved state into the ground. He was nearly as repulsive as Trump: he mocked women, denigrated teachers, pushed policies that were demonstrably harmful, indulged himself while others suffered, and just generally acted like a horse’s ass.

 

Christie was the most unpopular governor in American when he finally left office. Amazingly, someone thought that was the perfect guy to put on TV. And, true to form, last night he came to Donald Trump’s defense.


 

Donald Trump could not speak out forcefully against racism and violence… and Chris Christie made excuses for him. Why? Who knows? Maybe it’s because, like all bullies, he’s intimidated by the bigger bully. 



Maybe it’s because he thinks getting a tax break is more important than saving democracy. Maybe he has deluded himself into thinking he has a chance at reentering politics at some point, and he doesn’t want to alienate Trump’s small but vocal base. 


Ultimately, all that matters is that we see Republicans like Chris Christie for what they are: Donald Trump’s enablers, devoid of any honor or sense of shame. They should be shunned and mocked by decent people everywhere -- as much as Trump is.



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