In an Ed Psych class in my teacher preparation program, we had been discussing values, both personal and professional.
At the beginning of class one day, we were all given an archery target. Our task was to place our values inside the various rings of the target: the least important to us were placed in the outermost ring, the ones we believed in most fervently, and would not negotiate, were placed in the bullseye.
Our instructor told us that there would be many times in our careers that our values would be challenged, questioned, and changed. We would base our decisions on them, our perspective on most of them would evolve as we grew in wisdom and experience.
But our bullseye values were the foundations of our lives and beliefs. They would never change. He told us that at some point in our careers, those values would be confronted, and in order to keep our jobs, we would surrender the values. Or resign our position.
He was right.
I resigned from my position.
As I write this, it is election day, 2020. I long ago achieved AARP status, and Medicare is a mere few months away. This isn’t my first rodeo in a voting booth.
I cannot recall an election when the differences on issues and character between the candidates and parties they represent has been so clear and distinct.
I am not talking about different perspectives on things like how to best address climate change, how to fix our healthcare system, how to reduce the national debt, how to nurture and care for our environment. While important, we can have constructive debate on these topics and agree to disagree.
I am talking about character, one of my bullseye beliefs.
In my humble opinion, after the past four years, alignment with the sitting president means you are fundamentally disconnected on what is morally acceptable. Your reaffirmation of this president speaks openly of your disregard for the lives of people of color, about your opinion of women, your opinion of science, about your faith, and disrespect for basic truth.
These are obviously not your bullseye beliefs, your morality is bendable and conditional. I have to wonder, what other compromises are you willing to make? To gain what?
In my life, devaluing the lives of people of color is not an opinion. Acceptance of repeated and willful lies is not negotiable. Denial and defiance of facts in a pandemic that has already claimed over 200,000 lives, with no end in sight, is not acceptable. Hostility toward immigrants, whom, like most of us, I can thank for seeing to it that I am here, and hostility toward those whose lifestyle is different from mine is a heart issue.
Among the Bible verses I had to memorize in Sunday School was Matthew 25:40, “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily, I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it to me.”
This scripture helped form my character belief in childhood, it still does in adulthood.
I am a child of the 1960’s. I have made a career out of disagreeing with people and challenging the status quo, particularly in public education. I have dedicated my career to impacting the lives of other human beings, hopefully in a positive way.
These were my bullseye values in 1975. They are still in my bullseye. I believe in the value and humanity of other people that God created in His image. I believe in doing no harm. I believe in, and look for, the best in us. And I built my career on those qualities.
This is the first election in my voting life that directly challenges my bullseye values.
Those of us who voted made choices. I made mine based on my values and beliefs. I am sure that everyone else did as well. I trust that we remember that every choice carries consequences. For all of us.
And so it goes…