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Rosa Parks Day

December 6th, 2005 5:14 AM

Getting Political

From: Dan
To: contributions@michaelmoore.com
Sent: Thursday, December 01, 2005 2:47 PM
Subject: I spoke my mind for Rosa Parks

Here is what I did to honor Rosa Parks on this fiftieth anniversary of her act of courage.

I am an adult-education teacher. For personal and professional reasons, I am always respectful of students' opinions, going out of my way to remain neutral on political issues. I just don't like to use my influence as a teacher to "convert" students to my way of thinking on issues that are unrelated to the curriculum.

Today I was teaching my class in basic computer literacy for the unemployed and middle-aged. A student asked about my political affiliation, and for the first time ever I told my students that I am a Democrat. We then had an impromptu debate on the war in Iraq, the Kyoto treaty, prisoner abuse, Valerie Plame, and a host of other issues. At the outset, I told the class that I would not hold back my opinions and I encouraged them to be just as outspoken about their views. It was wonderful.

Here was one exhillerating exchange. One of my students said that Iraq still has weapons of mass destruction hidden in Osama bin Laden's caves. Another student asked, if that were true, why the weapons had not been used on us when we invaded. I asked why bin Laden would keep his weapons in Iraq when he lived in Afghanistan. A third student asked why our intelligence capabilities can find find a bank robber out in the jungles of South America, but not Osama bin Laden. Eventually, the first student had to admit that his statement was off base.

I could get into serious trouble with my bosses for getting this political with an entire classroom full of my students, but it's worth the risk just this once. Speaking up, it seems to me, is the best way we can honor the legacy of Rosa Parks. Thank you, Mr. Moore, for doing the same.

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