The RNC and the Co-opting of Language


                I have been watching the RNC – I admit not for very long periods of time because the hatred that I see in the faces of some of the delegates and the demeaning language that spews from the mouths of some of the speakers is difficult to listen to before my eardrums burst.

I will only mention two incidents that have triggered this blog entry – one is the speech by one of Trump’s sons and the other is a video of Marco Rubio.

                Trump’s son mentioned that his father taught him many things, one of which was how to swing a golf club. Really? A golf club? Did he also teach him how to speak and eat with a silver spoon stuck in his mouth? This irritated me because of my working class background. Nobody played golf – it was way too expensive. In high school I admit that I was intrigued about golf. What did people find so fascinating? A good friend and I decided to cut school one day (I suspect that my former students who read this will get a chuckle out of it) and go play golf. It was then that I discovered that there is such a thing as left handed clubs because the clubs the golf course gave me were for right handed golfers and my first thought was that this must be a very difficult and complicated game if you have to hit the ball in such as awkward way. After that day I pretty much stuck to miniature golf.

                The comments by Marco Rubio were more disturbing. When he used the phrase ‘crony capitalism’ I suppose he was trying to pin that label on Hillary Clinton. This coming from the same Republican Party that wants to reduce corporate tax rates, make Social Security some kind of ersatz voluntary system, reduce women’s health care options, and choosing a casino capitalist as their nominee – one that gleefully states that bankruptcy laws are there to be used for his personal benefit as part of the game of increasing personal profits. The Republican dogma of enriching the wealthy so that wealth will flow downhill to the rest of us reminds me of my time in the military – where I was told that only one thing flows downhill and it is definitely not green.

                This stealing of language is also occurring in public education. There are many folks who label themselves as ‘reformers’ when what they are actually doing is starving public education of funds and resources in order to enhance their own personal profit and stroke their own massive egos. Real reform in education has been ongoing and organic for years and is based on valuing teacher knowledge and real student achievement – not the achievement of higher standardized test scores. I will name three organizations that are actively working on this kind of reform – the Coalition of Essential Schools (CES), Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity (S.E.E.D.), and the National Writing Project (NWP). Please check them out to see what real reform can look like.

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