When former First Lady Michelle Obama recently said she is suffering from low-grade depression due to the COVID-19, race relations and the corruption and hypocrisy that has riddled Donald Trump’s administration, I could readily relate.
I’m far from being a First Lady, but I am Black, and I am an educator. And at this horrid time of pandemic and police protest, being a minority, a woman and an educator are parts of my being that feel woefully undervalued in Trump’s America.
Let’s start with education.
Earlier this summer, Delusional Donald, along with Sycophant Sidekick Betsy DeVos, our education secretary, demanded that the schools be open to face-to-face instruction or risk not getting federal funding — even though he nor DeVos could offer support or a national strategy for protecting teachers and students during the pandemic.
I’m relieved that my district’s superintendent had the courage to require remote learning the first six weeks. The Houston district, which has been designated a COVID-19 hot spot, will revisit how students will learn once the city gets a better grasp on infection rates.
While I’m blessed to have gainful employment while millions have lost their jobs, the fear of contracting the virus weighs on my mind. I’m a middle-aged Black woman who has some underlying health issues, so the threat of the virus is very real to me. It doesn’t help when I see news reports of crowded Georgia high school students transitioning to class shoulder to shoulder, and many teens not wearing protective masks.
Additionally, in the age of COVID, there are always discussions about “essential employees,” and I thought teachers were. But here’s the rub: neither I nor my educator brethren can opt out of teaching with pay. Isn’t it interesting that NFL players can opt out and protect themselves and their families with a six-figure stipend for the year? In today’s world, I guess NFL players are “essential.”
The hypocrisy in the COVID world doesn’t end there.
Recently, Delusional Donald has been pushing the unfounded claim that voting by mail will compromise the election, creating voter fraud, even though his own campaign has been urging his supporters to vote by mail. (Disclosure: I am on his mailing list, so it’s true.) To make matters worse, he recently tweeted:
“Whether you call it Vote By Mail or Absentee Voting, in Florida the election system is Safe and Secure, Tried and True. . . . in Florida I encourage all to request a Ballot & Vote by Mail! #MAGA.”
In a time where I’m just trying to figure out whether I’m going to be alive during the upcoming school year, it is — as Michelle Obama puts it — “dispiriting” when our so-called president continues to make hypocritical statements and fails to offer a national strategy for protecting educators and citizens.
And the worst occurred when Sociopathic Donald responded: “They are dying. That’s true. And it is what it is,” during an Aug. 4 Axios interview that aired on HBO. This damning response came when journalist Jonathan Swan asked him to respond to the 1,000 souls who perish daily in America to COVID alone.
So, yes, I’ve been grappling with depression. My only hope is that on Nov. 3, I can awake from this fog with a President Joseph Biden victory.