UPDATE: September 2017, I wrote this “article” I am a Marrano. Five years later, I am going to start coming out of my “closet.” To survive 2022 and possible the next several years, at work, I will need be “Marrano-like” in my behavior. Go with the flow. Yet, thanks to social media, people will know the “Real Paul.” On June 24, 2022, on Facebook, I had a fellow music teacher admonish me: Get real Paul or set your clock back 50 + years. Today is a sad day and Jesus is crying. I thought to myself and now share publicly, there is NO ONE who is more REAL on “Facebook” than ME! NO ONE!
So, when a teacher in the public school system (at least in the California Public School System) declares him/herself as conservative, you are a damn near self-described “leper.” Very few of your once supportive colleagues / friends remain by your side. I have felt the pull of “you either agree with me or we are not friends.” We have entered TRIBALISM. My point in once again sharing this September 2017 “article” is to let you know … things have not changed under President Biden. My “Biden-Voting-Friends” seem to be more grounded than ever that those who did not vote for President Biden are the problem. Interesting. We have not entered the “adults-in-the-room” promise made by President Biden and Democratic Leadership!
I certainly will not see my “Biden-Voting-Friends” as the problem. Even though during his presidency we have lost servicemen / women in Afghanistan. Our gas prices are through the roof. We have a baby formula shortage. We are giving money we don’t have (just keep printing it) and giving away weaponry to Ukraine. I will still see my “Biden-Voting-Friends” as still my friends who happened to vote differently than me. I am not there to convert them and yes, I do feel they are now evangelistic in their behavior and would like to convert me. I am already converted to being a Christian (smile).
Could I ask a favor – as a friend?
Let’s get through this moment (all that I shared above and now I will include the SCOTUS rulings) with the common goal that who I vote for / who you vote for / who I identify myself as (Caucasian / husband / father / grandfather / educator / heterosexual / MASCULINE male / Christain / AGAPE-HEART) / who you identify yourself as — we can still sit and talk.
Bottom line … WE ARE AMERICANS! Plain and simple. Let’s get back to the 101% Principle: AGREE ON ONE THING AND GIVE IT 100%!! The one thing I ask for us to agree on: WE ARE AMERICANS! And in America, we (okay… me and several others) thank God we don’t have to be like everyone else; think like everyone else! Don’t make the world lonelier than it already is. Thanks for being my friend and allowing me to be – me.
- “Blocked your message.”
- “How can you be a Christian and support Donald Trump?”
- “So, you support Donald Trump? Wow! You must be a white supremacist!”
- “You don’t believe the colonization of the United States was the largest “cultural bomb” our nation has faced?!”
- “You didn’t vote for Hilary Clinton? You didn’t vote for Donald Trump? Well, you writing in your name for President means you did vote for Donald Trump!”
- “You’re not wrong. You are BAD!”
- “You actually believe the United States of America is the greatest nation in the world? You are xenophobe. I don’t like you anymore.”
- “You actually believe that it is wrong for NFL players to sit during the National Anthem to show their protest of police brutality? You are a bad person. I don’t like you anymore.”
Today (September 2017), I am a white, heterosexual, married, Christian male who is a public-school teacher and a musician. There hasn’t been a time more now or since January 20, 2009, when I felt being a white, heterosexual, married, Christian male who is a public-school teacher and musician would be a “bad” thing / “negative” thing / even a hindrance to being a public-school music teacher .
On October 5, 2016, I was brought into the meeting room in the school’s administration office to listen to a complaint about me. “We hear you are socially engineering our students. Pushing your agenda. You know that is terribly unprofessional.”
Unfortunately, my NEW usual response to the accusation of “unprofessional” is, “This is the first I have heard this. This parent complaint goes to the level of meeting with the principal, assistant principal and union president. Who complained?”
The administrators respond, “We can’t tell you. They think you will have retribution on the student who made the accusation.” The standard answer for today’s administrator and the parents.
“Well, I can tell you that is not happening.”
“We would like you to stop using John C. Maxwell for your student leadership training. We hear the material you are presenting is Christian in nature and as you know, Paul, that is not welcomed on a public-school campus.”
My response was strong. “That is not the case. I have used the John C. Maxwell information for the last nine years at Killarney High School (fictitious name of school). Not one complaint until now! Now that there is one complaint, you are telling me to stop using his material?”
“Yes, that is what we are telling you. There are other well-known authors / leaders you can use.” The union supported the KHS administration. So disappointed in the union.
Needless-to-say, following that directive, I decreased the number of lunch-time meetings. I was so appalled that one parent could stop using the John C. Maxwell’s material. Stop using material and not even see how the information is being used. Stop using the material and the school’s leadership and most likely that complaining parent not even read one book from cover-to-cover. Stop using the material because the John C. Maxwell’s material because is a retired … pastor. Oh, that is the problem. He is a retired pastor and therefore, everything he does is Christian in nature and therefore, it is bad / inappropriate for public schools. IGNORANCE. I never felt so insulted … until later that semester. I know the John C. Maxwell material I was using is SECULAR. I asked the Maxwell Leadership CEO (Mark Cole) to write a letter on my behalf supporting my use of the SECULAR material written by John C. Maxwell. Mr. Cole did write the letter. Sent three John C. Maxwell books to the administrator. The administrators’ response? IGNORED THE LETTER and the books.
There is a great program for high school students to visit Washington, DC. Well, this year (2017) the program was even more great because there was an opportunity to attend the inauguration parade for President Trump. Through mostly social media, we got to “follow” how “interesting” it was to be there for such a “controversial” president’s inauguration. Interesting to see photos of Bernie Sanders / Elizabeth Warner taken by and / or with the Killarney High School students. No photos of more “conservative” politicians? (Sarcasm)
Then, the photos of the Killarney High School students attending the “Women’s March” the day following the Inauguration Parade. Holding “protest signs.” Seeing all those photos of Killarney High School students and hearing what was being said by the event’s speakers really bothered me. This is the first time (September 2017) I have said anything publicly about how bothered I was.
Following the trip to Washington, DC, I am sure the Killarney High School history teacher who took the students to those important events did not receive the similar meeting I received on October 5th. (Sarcasm) By the KHS history attending the parade with protest signs, she wasn’t pushing a “social agenda.” Or… maybe she was pushing the acceptable “social agenda.” What the Killarney High School history teacher did in attending the “Women’s March” holding “protest signs” was seen as a positive – trip would lead to an honor or two for the history teacher. Since 2008 at Killarney High School, what I was doing (using John C. Maxwell’s leadership material) volunteering my lunches to teacher leadership principles) was pushing a social agenda? Yet, what this KHS history teacher did in having her students attend the “Women’s March” carrying signs is seen as NOT pushing a social agenda and is acceptable? In the end, it is only pushing a social agenda when agendas collide.
On February 10, 2017, school district wide meeting for professional development, the Killarney High School students did the team-building activity for all of the district’s teachers. It is “sweet” to see the high school students leading teachers in team building (not really … and here is why).
The students begin their activity with their teachers. “So, what it is going to happen is we are going to ask y’all a question and if you think you have the funniest answer to the question, raise your hand and we will come by with the microphone and hear your answer. You understand?” Teachers giggle. Begin to talk to one another.
The Killarney High School student begins, “Okay… so here is the question: If you were on a time machine, where would you like to visit?”
Now, the teachers are talking. Giggling. Laughing. Having fun. Here comes the first answer from a teacher. At the DISTRICT professional development day. Here comes the witty answer. In front of Killarney High School students. The teacher says, “If I was in a time machine, I would visit any time prior to January 20, 2017!” The audience (teachers and high school students) roared with laughter and applause! Not me. I felt very uncomfortable! I thought, “if that was me and I said something similar, “any time prior to January 20, 2009,” I would have had a quiet response and possibly a boo or two. I may have been labeled a “racist.” I would have been, at the least, shunned.
The attached article by Dennis Prager is liberating for me. I am a Marrano. I will admit it. At work, I am the conservative who watches every word I use / every action I take. I need to appear to be a fellow liberal. There is much I agree with the liberal world, but if I shared those views, the number of topics I agree with would be NOT ENOUGH for the liberal world and probably too many topics of agreement for the conservative world. I am the “reasonable-conservative” … my favorite description of me! Even, as I am writing this for all of you, I really am doing all I can not to jeopardize my job / career as a public-school music teacher. I LOVE MY PROFESSION / MY JOB! I would love to share more with you. However, from Mr. Prager’s article: One musician in Minnesota wrote to me: “I was a professional musician from the age of 17. I wanted you to know that I, too, lost my career because of my views. My choice, actually; I just could no longer take the abuse. That statement does give me concern that I could lose my career by sharing this blog with you. So, I will continue to be careful. If not losing my career, definitely will get the rolling-of-the-eyes or be shunned.
UPDATE: October 6, 2021, and October 15, 2021, I was given directives that I chose not to follow. The directives were given in order to punish me for who I am. For example, NOT ONE OF THESE DIRECTIVES – once again – CAME WITH ME HAVING THE OPPORTUNITY TO MEET WITH STUDENT(S) / THEIR PARENTS / LEGAL GUARDIANS. Learn what happened. How we can work through the disagreement. Not being allowed to meet the “accuser” is appalling! The district would say, these directives would help me stay as a public-school teacher in California. My belief is I have passion and purpose. When my passion and purpose do not align with my job, I need to leave. I need to walk away. On December 22, 2021, I painfully walked away from the career I had known since January 1989!
My conservative vision of the world is not welcomed in public education. I get it. What is NOT WELCOMED in public education: WE ARE 100% RESPONSIBLE FOR EVERY CHOICE WE MAKE. That is not welcomed. I am certain the parent who complained about the use of John C. Maxwell’s material is the same parent who disagrees with the following: I BELIEVE LIFE IS 10% WHAT HAPPENS TO ME – 90% HOW I RESPOND. No. This parent believes in fifty-fifty. Whatever you do to me is the reason for my response. That is definitely public education / liberal thinking. In many liberals’ thought process, I need to be responsible for your reaction / your response to what I say or what I do. NO! I am not responsible for your reaction / your response for what I say or do! If you are insulted by a joke I make, that is YOUR CHOICE to be insulted! Yet, I will be penalized because you FEEL insulted by a joke. Interesting. A feeling is a choice, and I am held responsible for your choice is WRONG!
In the end, I PRAY for:
- our nation to return to common sense.
- in the end, we are Americans
- disagreement doesn’t lead to “de-friending” / “blocking messages”
- forgiveness in me “de-friending” / “blocking messages” due to differences (except for me being a Christian; mock my belief / mock me for being a Christian, we will go our separate ways)
- our children will be more mature than us, in the sense, we will disagree on issues and that is okay
- I am responsible for every choice I make.
- living in community that reflects the following: From Romans 12:19-21 THE MESSAGE: “Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody. Don’t’ insist on getting even; that is not for you to do. “I’ll do the judging,” says God. “I’ll take care of it.” Our Scriptures tell us that if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he’s thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness. Don’t let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good.”
- ANTIFA / BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY, and other groups with the same / similar political slant find non-violence actions in your response to what / who you disagree with.
- my message with this blog does good and does not do harm to me or those closest to me
- AND FINALLY, dear Lord Jesus… please allow us who live a conservative life be able to work alongside those who disagree with us and will be allowed to be open with our conservative lifestyle as those who are “championed” for being on the liberal side.