As an ELL (English Language Learner) college instructor, I work with many immigrant and refugee students who are consistently the most hard working and dedicated students I have. They have a unique appreciation of education, they trust the American dream, and pursue citizenship as a privilege, not a right. Their respect and love of this country renews my own faith in our political system.
During the process to ensure the peaceful transfer of power that has been the gold standard for the world, President Trump used his position and unsubstantiated lies to encourage an assault on the Capitol: “We’re going to walk down, and I’ll be there with you.” He lit the match, then retreated to the safety of the White House.
A violent mob storming a government building to terrorize elected officials is a familiar scene; transfer of power by coup or assassination is business as usual in many countries.
I have often been angered and frustrated during the Trump term but now I am truly and deeply ashamed.
What do I tell my students? Many have endured unimaginable loss, repression, and hardship in their journeys to escape injustice and political violence; the very same violence we saw on our doorstep yesterday. How do I reassure them?
In a year heavy with loss, we now have lost world respect and our claim to be the ideal of democracy. I will tell my students that what happened at the Capitol is not who we are; I hope it’s true.
C. Lee Deuser lives in Sabin, Minn.