Class of 2017
In my mind today, I'm thinking about Americans, losing heart, and seasons of tears. I'll start with seasons of tears. Periodically, the "chink in my armor" is exposed. As I zip around ever so busily in my little hometown, I run from my crying days. Today, the cloud formed over my bed before my sweet husband could rouse me and pull me up to seated position to use the lift to transfer me into the chair at 6 am. Last night, a water pipe burst under the house so my peeps were a bit grungy without showers. We did the best we could to carry on our usual routine and get to our daily posts. We were moving forward regardless of the situation. As I was placed on my potty, I had a mental breakdown. My legs, ankles, and feet were and are swollen and tinged black. They fell asleep and were throbbing. In that moment my armor was penetrated. I felt how useless and vulnerable my body really is. I felt that I shouldn't be here. I felt like a stranger in a strange land. My dependence riveted me. All the education I've received and the things I hold dear seemed to be mocked with the current election results. Maybe I'm out of touch with what America wants or needs to be great again. Maybe this next president will lessen our deficit, bring industry back to the "rust belt," and heal the racial divisions. I understand that many Americans feel hopeless when they struggle to pay mortgages, car notes, student loans, doctor bills, and food for their families. These are the people who do not get "breaks" from the government while we punch the clock and pay our taxes. I just feel helpless physically and mentally. I'm feeling my heart literally cracking in my chest. I want all people to feel and be loved. I want for them to be cherished. I keep thinking of Andrew Jackson. He was a "commoner" and deemed unfit by the educated and social elite to be the president. He had a seedy background and promoted many heinous acts while president. I remember one of my brightest history students I ever taught made a rebuttal about how he, Andrew Jackson, actually was a good president economically. He was the first and only president to pay off the entire national debt. It makes you think. In 2007, Barack Obama was the president elect and I was in the classroom teaching American History. I remember the Wednesday after and the heightened feelings of divisions. I remember parents requesting for their child to be removed while we watched the 2008 Inauguration and several black students' families attended the event. I remember trying to mend the divide. I just kept reminding them once a person is elected, gloves were off, and we are all Americans. We have to pull together and do what is best for our country and the world. As I wrap my mind around the next fours years, I remind myself to live in the present, to keep trying to stay positive in my illness, and to be proud that I am an American. I'm searching for my heart.
Sarah Anderson Alley
Dedicated to all my former history students.