Houston Rally 2018
Texas AFT invited us to attend a rally at Discovery Green. This was the speech given on behalf of Texans for Public Education at the rally.
It is the guiding star to an explorer’s journey. Hope is real. It is what makes the trials and tribulations of our lives worth bearing. Hope leads to action. It lifts the heart and moves the feet. It gives strength, resolve, and commitment. It leads men to to love.
241 years ago, it led a group of men to come together and defy the will of the greatest nation on earth, to dissolve the political bands which connected them to it, and to form a union based on the hope that self-evident truths like all men being created equal, that all men have inalienable rights imbued upon them by God Himself, and that government could protect each man’s ability to pursue life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Hope does not just move mountains. It makes nations. Hope binds together in purpose.
Hope is what brings us together here today because we made a choice. With the actions of our legislature and its hostility toward our profession, toward our children, toward us, we could easily give up hope. We could concede circumstances beyond our control to an opponent who
seems more powerful, with more resources, and with an inexhaustible appetite. Yet, hope brought each and every one of you from the comfort of your home here today.
You came here hoping for an answer. Hoping to hear a solution to what you perceive as a war upon you. What you must come to understand is that you brought the answer with you. Hope is what will save us. You see, as teachers, we work with hope every single day, and that’s something our enemies in Austin cannot comprehend.
To teach is to instill hope. Teaching is more than teaching a student their ABCs or multiplication tables. It is demonstrating to young people that they are capable of reaching well beyond what they can believe. As educators, we give students a taste of success, and with that success comes the hope that they can actually reach their dreams. The hope that they can achieve things beyond what their parents achieved. The hope that the American dream is real, and that anyone really can become president.
Democracy is steeped in this hope to the point that the two are inextricable. Democracy without hope is a farce, doomed to become victim to despots. This makes education a foundational pillar to our entire way of life, and this is something that many people in Austin either do not understand, or it is something that they actively wish to undermine.
The first thing any aspiring dictator does as he gets into power is to begin burning books, begin removing sources of knowledge and information, and begin removing all vestiges of contradictory viewpoints. We see this happening in our country today. Furthermore, one of the first groups which is singled out for exile, whether figuratively or literally, and even at times, extermination, is teachers.
Why is this? Because teachers give hope. Bullies and despots cannot abide hope. It endangers their position and their agenda. Hope brings David to the battlefield. Hope rises up without regard to the situation. It is a fire which, left unsnuffed, spreads, grows, and burns everything that those who would want control desire. They cannot allow hope to survive. Therefore, it is up to us, as the keepers of hope, to not only keep it alive in ourselves, but to spread it to others, because with hope, the forces of manipulation and control cannot succeed. Hope is a light, driving out darkness, and we are the candles. We must burn brightly.
I ask you today to fan the flame of hope within yourself. Believe that we can make a difference. Believe that a single vote matters, and that through block voting together, we can spread the flame of hope. We can drive the darkness that currently inhabits the halls of our legislature out into the street, never to return. You must burn brightly, and you must ignite others. Let hope overcome your fear of rejection and ridicule. Let hope drive out concern of what others think of you, and break the rules. Talk politics at the dinner table. Share the knowledge you have unashamedly and ignite hope in others, that they may band with us to make a difference.
Hope leads to action. What action will your hope lead you to? It lead you here today. Let it now catch fire and lead you farther, and know that when we do win the day, when leaders are in place who use the good of our students to make their decisions and not their pocketbooks, YOU will have been responsible for a revolution.
And revolution is easy. We live in a country that makes revolution the easiest thing for any citizen to do because we have provided a way to have it without the shedding of blood. Rather than bullets, we use pallets. So arm yourself. You have three days left to register to vote if you have not done so. Your first step is to ensure that you, and everyone you know who is friendly to public education is registered to vote.
Revolution also works better with an army. Join ours. Go to Facebook and find Texans for public education. If you are committed to block voting with us, join us. Stay informed. Recruit others. Help us to put people into office who we can trust to make decisions based on the best interest of our children. I look forward to working with each of you. God bless you, and God bless the great state of Texas.