Tuesday, January 12, 2021

My Thoughts on the Eve of Donald Trump's Impeachment, by Angela Valenzuela, Ph.D.


Let's make no mistake here. What happened last Wednesday was a well-oiled. fascist, attempted coup d’etat that arose funded by right-wing donor networks spearheaded by the billionaire Koch brothers and his ecosystem of friends, including the Betsy DeVos family.  For more on this, read The Trump Coup D’Etat and Insurrection Was Long in the Making, And Will Continue by Inderjeet Parmar in The Wire (Jan. 10, 2021) and Republican Attorneys General Dark Money Group Organized Protest Preceding Capitol Mob Attack by Jamie Corey in (Jan. 7, 2021).

Aside from ideological differences, at its core, what we're all seeing in the news is fundamentally about race relations and white nationalists’ utterly false equation of corruption with the black and minority vote, that is itself a lie, the big lie, that worked and is working hard to produce an alternative, perilous narrative about the election being stolen.

All of their voter suppression tactics didn’t work, and instead motivated the majority of Americans who see and have a different vision for a new multi-racial, multi ethnic, inclusive, racially just, democratic (small "d") nation. This is in fact what the marches were about this last spring that further got reflected at the ballot box.

We must still address the fact that these insurrectionists live, and will continue to live, in online echo chambers that mirror their white supremacist fears for, and vision of, America. They see and feel themselves as relinquishing power as whites.

We’re always at risk of getting manipulated and simply caught up in such echo chambers that are not to be confused with epistemic bubbles that can be popped with an ounce of truth.

Longer term, the antidote is a good education that widens their world to other possibilities, including the enduring power of democracy that is Indigenous to this continent. For example, read J. D. Stubben's 2000 piece in the Social Science Quarterly titled, "The Indigenous Influence Theory of American Democracy. Check it out. Consider that our country's so-called "exceptionalism" rests on a bedrock of Indigenous forms of governance that has served us well, even as U.S. policies have been oppressive toward Native Americans, historically. Why aren't we teaching this in our public schools? Why aren't our nation's classrooms the laboratories for democracy as John Dewey envisioned? 

We don't even know what we don't know, much less why we're not encouraged to know it.

These white nationalists and our country, as a whole, need a values-based, culturally sustaining education that teaches them this history and that’s opposite of what they’re getting currently, namely, an empty, soul-less, mind-numbing, high-stakes, objectifying, and alienating test-centric curriculum that is frequently a mile wide and an inch deep as per the top-down compliance model that we have in place.

This must change. We need a research-based, authentic assessment system that allows students to take on challenging, meaningful projects that make a difference in their lives, making the world a better place. This is not rocket science. Models exist. We can and must do better. Our students are calling for this when they are calling for test-optional and tested-blind admissions into the university.

They also seek a greater focus on equity and racial justice throughout the college curriculum, calling for greater support for our Ethnic Studies programs. The nationwide movement for Ethnic Studies that I have covered throughout this blog has similarly been voicing these concerns in the K-12 curriculum for at least a decade in its contemporary incarnation. They are calling for Women and Gender Studies, Disability Studies, Native American and Indigenous Studies, Asian American Studies, Puerto Rican/Boricua Studies, Dominican Studies, civics, environmental awareness and courses throughout the curriculum that induce deep, critical thought. If our children do not know who they are or where they are going, any road will get them there. And that's a scary proposition as we can see in full display right now.

In the meantime, let's proceed with impeachment proceedings and please join me in signing this petition from the Working Families Party that will hold these perpetrators to account. My last thought is that, among so many other vile things, Trump wants to rob president-elect Joe Biden and vice-president-elect Kamala Harris and the majority of us that support them from enjoying their victory. We fight back by not allowing cynicism or despair to settle in and getting about the re-building of our nation, in ways big and small. I quote renowned educator Deborah Meier who once expressed the following:

"If there's a problem with democracy, the solution is always more democracy."

Amen. Let's rebuild our country and our nation's schools and classrooms with such words of wisdom in mind.

-Angela Valenzuela

#RacialJustice #democracy #TheBigLie #CoupKluxKlan #GetWoke #ImpeachTrumpAgain


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