Monday, April 17, 2017

Tense Times

My students are nervous.

When I was a student I was often nervous. As a kid, me and my friends were convinced that we would all die in a nuclear war launched by the Soviet Union. We didn't think about it 24/7...but it was always there...gnawing at the back of our minds. We would grow very nervous any time tensions ran high between the United States and the USSR. Nothing made me happier than to see the Soviet Union fall apart in 1991.

After 1991, rightly or wrongly, fears of an existential catastrophe faded a bit.

After 2001, terrorism was on the minds of many. But for my students, terrorism was a problem far away. Even New York City seemed far away for my students. Terrorism wouldn't seem so far away for my students who enlisted and served in the Middle East. Still, there wasn't fear of a cataclysmic event that would destroy us all.

But now my students are scared.

My Muslim students are scared of being deported to nations that are not friendly to moderate Islam.

My undocumented students are fearful of being deported to Mexico and other Latin American nations. They even avoid needed medical treatment in fear of being found out.

My female students are afraid now that they have to register for a draft, being that women now have to register with the Selective Service for the first time.

Russia and Putin are scaring my students.

North Korea. My students are fearful of war with North Korea.

Super high student loan debt is scaring some of my kids from going to college.

I've been teaching for eighteen years. I've never seen my students so fearful and cynical about the future.

I try to assuage their fears and concerns. But many of their fears are not naive. These are not irrational fears. I feel badly for them. Young people should not be afraid of the future. Young people should see the future as bright with possibilities.

I wish that for them. I really wish they could see hope in the future.

Saturday, April 08, 2017

Why Now?

When your approval ratings are at 35% you bomb things far away. It's what you do. Bet his ratings go up ten points by next week. 'Merica.