A student wrote me:
Dr. Matthew, As a hopeful future educator, DeVos' hearing downright broke me.
Her basic lack of knowledge about our school system and it's prevailing issues is yet another example of the shitshow replacing Obama's administration. It's at times like these, when I feel the most despair, that I truly miss your classroom where you offer hope and resilience to this kind of nightmare. Hope you're doing well.
And I wrote her back:
It’s a dark and sad time, XXXX.
I woke up yesterday so sad and angry that America chose such a horrible human to follow such a devoted public servant.
My plan is to continue do small things in my corner of the world. I’ve been collecting toiletries for women in the shelter I pass on the way to school. I’m trying to make sure that when I participate in social media conversations I offer solutions and suggestions more than complaints and that I try to show how the world works for those who are trying to make their lives work without the benefits I get to take for granted. I pray everyday that there is more compassion and respect in the world. I try to read books that remind me that the human spirit is stronger than we all know.
The hardest thing is to feel helpless, like there is nothing I can do, but I try not to think about it that way too much. My goal is to find one public issue that I think is the most important and to learn all I can, then share what I know, and support it with whatever resources I have.
You and your classmates really helped me understand my own feelings about the election. So thank you for being so open. Your outrage and disappointment give me hope. If you all care, then I know we will all find a way to thrive.
If you can, take courage in the fact that you are not alone in your outrage. And remember that there are mechanisms already in place–organizations and groups of people–who have been here before, who have seen far worse, and who are ALREADY at work.
Protect your spirit.