Monday, May 03, 2010

This is why I usually eat lunch in my classroom

I just returned from the teacher lunch room. My wife went to the big warehouse store this weekend and came back with a very tasty microwaveable meal that I just consumed for my lunch. The fact that you need a microwave to cook it means that I had to make my way to the teacher break room in order to cook it. Since I was there, I sat down to eat it as well.

There were several of us teachers sitting around talking, including one female teacher who walked in limping with gauze wrapped around both her feet. She is one of two teachers at my school who is a big time Chicano/Chicana/MEChA/Aztlan/Pro-illegal alien activist. She burned her feet dancing on hot parking lot asphalt while performing as part of an Aztec dance troupe to which she belongs. Apparently, her troupe performed at a car show this weekend, and the 80-degree weather was beating down on the asphalt with a sufficient intensity that it would sear bare feet.

After this teacher finished explaining how she hurt her feet, that's when she continued her comments which made me have to both bite my tongue and stop the regurgitation of my delicious microwaved lunch. She said, and I have to paraphrase just a little bit, "As bad as my feet are, at least I burned them in the way I did instead of while crossing the hot sand of the Arizona desert like the refugees who are risking their lives to come here and seek a better life." I was so immediately flustered at that statement, that I didn't quite catch the whole of her next comment in which I did listen to her refer to the United States as, "this racist country."

She and two other sympathetic teachers began commiserating about the Arizona law and the unfairness of the treatment of illegal aliens in general, with another teacher asking why people are opposed to illegal immigration in the first place: "What does it matter? How does it affect you if someone comes into this country?"

So, once again, I found myself in a quandry. On the one hand, I so wanted to make a counter-argument to this drivel they were saying, but at the same time, I just want to eat my lunch in peace without getting into a political debate with a group of people who are most likely not going to change their mind during a few-minutes-long argument in the lunch room. At the same time, they have no problem announcing their opinions to the room; why should I feel intimidated in announcing mine? This is one of the pitfalls of being a political conservative in a profession that is dominated by leftists/statists. I have to work with these people, and it's a lot harder when there is bad blood between me and what is I am sure most of the faculty. Let's just say there are quite a few Obama bumper stickers in the faculty parking lot.

Every time I run into a situation like this, I kick myself afterward for not saying anything, while also running through my mind the two sides of the situation I just described, whereby I realize that speaking my mind would totally change the nature of the civil relationship I maintain with many of my fellow teachers who work outside my department. By my nature, I have a somewhat go-along-to-get-along personality, where I would rather maintain civil relations with someone than take them to task for their misinformed and misguided idiocy.

After all, there were so many things I wanted to say. I wanted to ask the female teacher about the tough immigration laws of the Mexico she loves so much, and the rape, beatings, and extortion that illegal immigrants from central America suffer at the hands of Mexican authorities. I wanted to ask her why she thinks it's fair that illegal immigrants should go to the head of the line while applicants for legal immigration into our country get the shaft. I wanted to take her to task on the ridiculous notion that our country is "racist" by asking her about the billions of dollars we have sent to earthquake victims in Haiti, tsunami victims in Indonesia, AIDS victims in Africa, and, hell, the bailout of Mexico's banks back in the 1990s, along with the thousands of military lives and trillions of dollars in treasure that our country has spent in the liberation of oppressed peoples throughout the world. I also wanted to ask her why so many of these illegal aliens are risking their lives to get into this "racist" country. One of the other teachers was also spouting off about how horrible it was that Arizona doesn't have a minimum wage law. I wanted to ask him how he justifies defending the minimum wage when every study done on the subject finds that these laws increase unemployment and tend to hurt the very unskilled workers the laws supposedly try to help - especially black teenagers. So many things I wanted to say, but that would have ruined the quiet lunch I was enjoying, and the civil relationships I maintain with all of these teachers.

It's a tough situation.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson

9 comments:

Don, American Idle said...

The most disturbing part of the story is that those teachers are infecting the minds of the kids with that garbage.

At the high school where I taught we had two teachers' lounges. The druggies seldom came to ours, but when I had business, I bearded the lions in their liberal den. They always seemed to be surprised to see me, but one year I was Association president, because, apparently there were more of us than there were of them.

Anonymous said...

Why are we so afraid to say anything to upset them when they have no compunctions about saying anything with which we may not agree?

W.R. Chandler said...

Good point, Anonymous. I need to start searching my heart and make a decision about what is more important: maintaining civility or maintaining the truth and my principles.

Don, American Idle said...

They are rotting the children's minds. How civil do you want to be to them?

W.R. Chandler said...

Very true, Don. I shudder to think about what kind of venomous crap this woman is shoving into the minds of our youth.

Anonymous said...

Why not tell the idiots that what they are saying is terribly offensive to you and that you may be forced to file a complaint about a hostile work environment. That is what they would do to you!

lobobull said...

Hi, "W.R. Chandler"... I hear of circumstances and stories like yours all of the time. I have a number of friends and acquaintances in the teaching profession who put career and the fear of being ostrized (sp?) ahead of the truth and moral standing. The unindtended consequence is that many kids are being taught through indoctrination without any social or political balance to the truth of our culture and society at large. I don't pretend to have all of the answers, either. However, I just know that there is always another side or philosophy to an argument. Not all of us are in lockstep with the liberal mantra of "politcal correctness". Personally, I don't abide by the notion of "polical correctness" on any level. If I did, I'd be compromising my own identiy, my own truth and the truth about the difference between "right" and "wrong". Best wishes to you.

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