I am a retired educator and political activist and I’ve been involved in every election for the past 20 years. I’ve learned to “vote my profession, not my politics,” and my profession has led me to the Democratic Party every time.
I retired in 2015, but for 16 years of my 22-year teaching career I taught American Government with an emphasis on the U.S. Constitution. My students were taught the values of civility, enlightened self-interest, responsibility and all about their right to vote. The absolute measure of a democratic society is the ability to vote freely, unencumbered by fear or retaliation.
My students learned and discussed equality, civil rights, women’s rights, the Bill of Rights, the 14th amendment and respect for all regardless of race, color, creed, gender or who one loves. In addition, we concentrated on the Due Process and Rule of Law.
Voter registration drives were an annual event in my building and we even had students work the polls on Election Day. When students left my class, they had more than a basic understanding and appreciation for the principles of the Constitution. And unlike Donald Trump, they knew that there is no “Article 12.”
I watched the Republican National Convention and attended the Democratic National Convention as a delegate. I live in Eastlake, Ohio, right outside of Cleveland, and volunteered to be on a host committee to welcome the Republicans to town as an “Ambassador for Cleveland” because I’m a proud Ohioan and I enjoy being part of the political process. I welcomed members of the Tennessee delegation to Cleveland and directed them to the wonderful sights and sounds of the area. They were a fun and friendly group and I looked forward to an upbeat convention.
But there was nothing upbeat about it. The Republican message was “Lock Her Up!”—and worse. The doom and gloom words of speaker after speaker were shocking to me. Each day Trump and his surrogates spewed a message of cynicism, fear and sarcasm. The demeaning comments and bullying insults have no place in this process. The convention concluded with the pessimistic and dark address by nominee Donald Trump. The United States that Trump described is not the nation I live in and love.
What a sharp contrast with the Democrats’ message of hope and optimism. They acknowledged our challenges but did not despair about them. The atmosphere was electric, and the chants—“Love Trumps Hate” and “Stronger Together”—are reflections of what we are all about. We take care of each other regardless of who we are, what we look like, where we have come from or who we love!