Politics and Hanging On

I was in graduate school when Ronald Reagan was elected in 1980. On the following day, a pall was cast over the hallways and classrooms that was palpable. My professors had fought for educational innovations that most people dismissed out of hand. You know the mentality: “We didn’t have anything like that when I was growing up and I turned out fine!”

Politeness made it hard to reply:

  1. I have no reason to assume that you turned out fine. And you yourself may be the worst possible judge of that.
  2. If things did go well for you, you may be the lucky one. Do you have a brother, sister, cousin that you don’t like to talk about much, because that person is just not doing well? Is there an aunt or uncle who never gained traction? Or did you have a grandparent who never left the house, never participated in the larger world? Do you have any idea why? Did it ever occur to you to wonder?
  3. There is abundant evidence that this new educational approach is effective, but in order for us to have a meaningful discussion about it, you would have to take the time to both read and think. Should I assume that that is beyond you?

Yeah, no, it was better for me to keep my mouth shut. I guess.

Anyway, what I remember is one of my professors saying Well, we must simply hang on to everything we have achieved thus far.

And you know, despite all the hostility, the programs I am thinking of were never destroyed. They still exist. Those educational advances were permanent.

November 4, 2020 COVID-19 Infections and Deaths

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