Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Fighting for Ethos: Never Cry Wolf #SOL17

Each Tuesday the team at Two Writing Teachers sponsors the Slice of Life Story Challenge. 
My Grandma Young kept a shelf of Little Golden books for the grandkids to read when we visited. I spent lots of time rereading my favorites, including The Boy Who Cried Wolf. In this classic children's story, a shepherd boy tires of tending the sheep night after night and cries, "wolf," prompting the villagers to come to his rescue. He does this repeatedly until one night the villagers tire of the boy's calls and refuse to come. That's the night the wolf attacks the flock. But the boy had lost all credibility, and the villagers did not believe him.  

I internalized the lesson of The Boy Who Cried Wolf long before I learned the word credibility, long before I realized the boy had no ethos with the villagers. His abuse of his position cost the little boy his standing, his credibility. 

Since writing about my troubles at work last week, I've given a lot of thought to ethos, specifically how teachers earn ethos. More specifically, I've pondered how a student and that student's parents can be magically granted ethos without any claim to it. Have they cried wolf in the past? 

I've taught long enough to learn that one student who does not have regular attendance, who does not complete assignments, who has not earned what rhetoricians call derived ethos can undermine a teacher. I've experienced it and seen it happen to other teachers. 

I've taught long enough to learn that my credibility can go a long way in creating a trusting classroom community and that it's imperative that my terminal ethos at the end of a trimester be such that I can sustain and grow enrollment in the advanced courses I teach. I care about ethos in my profession and in my own classroom, both my own and that of students. It's a frequent topic of discussion. 

I've taught long enough that I've seen many teachers leave the classroom and seek more meaningful employment in other professions because they have had to deal with unpleasant situations in which a student is assumed to have more ethos than the professional with a college degree--and perhaps an advanced degree--with years, perhaps decades, of experience, and with a lengthy list of accomplishments. 

Early in my career (my first year) a superb teacher in Arizona quit after three years in the classroom because she did not receive administrative support. In my long career, I've had various degrees of support, and until last week felt very supported by my administration, and even though I'm upset about recent events, I trust my administration and feel supported by them, even the administrator whose good intentions have caused me much pain.

Our district has adopted Restorative Justice Practices, and claims that this model will guide our relationships with one another. Yet relationships cannot be restored, cannot be made right, when a teacher is denied the opportunity to work through a problem with a student. This matters to me. 

The events of last week have damaged my relationship with my general speech classes, harming the trust I have in them and creating a tense classroom environment. I'm working on that. I'm trying to rise to my better nature rather than act on my emotional wounds. The students help, and Monday a student from first period came to my fifth period and asked for a pass out of his fifth period class so he could hang out in speech again. 

On Thursday of last week, a student in my first period speech class remained after class to talk about how upset I'd been all week and to ask if he was the reason I was upset. He told me the class is concerned for me and feels upset that I've been upset. 

As I thought about this post Monday afternoon, John Proctor and Abigail Williams from Arthur Miller's The Crucible came into my mind. I've long admired John's final act of courage in refusing to nail a confession of witchcraft to the church wall. In a final act of courage, Proctor shouts his reason for not signing the confession: 

Because it is my name! Because I cannot have another in my life!...How may I live without my name? I have given you my soul; leave me my name!

The discredited Abigail, having already damaged Elizabeth, Giles, John, and many others, having stolen the reputations, the names, of many, lives on. 

And that's my concern for my profession. We cannot continue insisting that teachers nail false confessions to the door. We cannot continue denying their ethos and giving those who have not earned credibility power. This does not mean we discount the concerns of students and parents; it means that ethos matters, and it's imperative that we treat it as though it does. 

John Proctor lived an imperfect life, yet we recognize him as a tragic hero in The Crucible. We teachers also live imperfect lives, but we rarely view ourselves as heroes, even when all we have is our name. 

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Take a Stand: #SOL17

Each Tuesday the team of teachers at Two Writing Teachers sponsors the Slice of Life story challenge. I'm grateful to these ladies for theirunwavering dedication to living the writer's life. Head over to the TWTblog for more slices of life. 

Monday ended before it began. 

I arrived at school and barely had removed my coat and turned the computer on before an assistant principal came to my room to question my teaching. 

Specifically, I have been challenged for my instruction of legitimate vs. illegitimate sources of the information we call "news." 

Last week I spent two days teaching lessons about fake and biased news, including posting on Google Classroom an infographic that labels news sources based on bias, as well as a list of "False, Misleading, Clickbait-y, and/or Satirical 'News' Sources" and websites that made the rounds among teachers last fall. I gave the students a handout comprised of the first three pages of this long document last Thursday and have been planning additional lessons to teach students how to vet sources.

I required the students to draw the infographic and explained the inherent bias from both the left and right. I shared with students that I have questioned some of my friends' use of left-leaning stories from Occupy Democrats and Blue State, among others, and that I've had to re-examine my own biases at times. 

But I also said that President Donald Trump calls legitimate news sources such as The Washington Post and The New York Times "Fake News" and that I reject his refusal to acknowledge legitimate news. It's easy to see Trump doing this on Twitter, as he did January 28.
Additionally, I asked my students on Wednesday of last week if they had heard about Kellyanne Conway's use of the term ALTERNATIVE FACTS on Sunday. We had a PD day last Monday and a snow day on Tuesday, so Wednesday was my first day with students. 

I told students that there is no such thing as ALTERNATIVE FACTS and wrote LIES on the board to emphasize the point. I told students that a so-called "alternative fact" is nothing more than a "lie." I explained that we can debate what facts mean but that facts are verifiable pieces of information. I used the inauguration attendance lie Trump continues to push as an example. We can have a discussion about what the low turnout means and even why the turnout was low, but not the fact that it was low. 

Making the challenge to my teaching more upsetting, I was denied the name of the student and parents who complained. Essentially, I was told to "give both sides." I'm not sure how I'm supposed to do this without presenting false and inaccurate information as equal to legitimate and accurate news. I do not teach false equivalencies. 

The fact is that not all information labeled "news" is equal and explained that in publications like the NYT and WaPo opinion pieces are clearly labeled. Even The New Yorker now labels "The Borowitz Report" satire.

My job is to teach students to respect academic integrity, to respect legitimate sources of information and eschew propaganda, even when it comes from the White House. The textbook I use for my college-level speech class includes an entire chapter on academic research, and I've long privileged the use of databases and peer-reviewed resources in student work. 

There was a time when I could offer information and diverse perspectives from multiple political spectrums with the knowledge that complicated issues turn on compromise and divergent perspective. That was a quaint time when divergent viewpoints were grounded in facts and how we should interpret facts. Those days are gone. 
We now have a president who does not respect fact, who does not respect the First Amendment, who does not respect legitimate news sources, and on a personal level, who does not respect me as a female and as a public educator. We only need follow his Twitter account for verification of these claims. We have a president who expects unqualified capitulation to his way, regardless of factual information to the contrary. For example, he calls climate change a Chinese construct. 

As Teddy Roosevelt said in 1918, To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. 

How am I to present what President Trump and his spokespersons Kellyanne Conway and Shaun Spicer say as though it's on a par with facts when there is so much evidence to the contrary? I teach the framework of classical Aristotelian rhetoric: ethos, pathos, logos. I teach students to write syllogisms and to test them. I teach students inductive reasoning and the tests for induction. I teach students to know and avoid logical fallacies. 

When disinformation arrives via the highest office of the land, my patriotic duty as well as my duty as an educator, is to challenge that disinformation, and in this case, that includes correcting information I could once tell students to trust. To ignore this responsibility amounts to malpractice. Much of the curriculum I teach depends on accurate news sources. 

I told my students about the removal of the climate page from the White House website and that before January 20, 2017 I confidently told my students to trust .gov as the most trustworthy websites. I have for years required students to back-up their use of .org websites because of their bias. 

My Monday morning meeting upset me to the point that I could not stop crying. I shed tears not for myself but for my profession and for my country. My head pounded, so I decided to go home. There was a time I would have gutted out the day, but I can no longer do this. I don't have the stomach for it anymore. 

George Orwell, "1984." image marked for noncommercial reuse.
Teaching is a profession filled with educators who are cautioned to avoid taking political stances in the classroom. We're expected to keep our mouths shut on every public policy proposal that impacts our personal and professional lives. We're told to present both sides of an issue, regardless of how untenable one side may be. 

I have done this for years, but I have also become more transparent the past couple of years. Now I have reached a point in which my silence offers complicit acceptance of fake news and tacit consent of disinformation and lies. 

At some point teachers will have to look at that line in the sand and take a stand. 

I found my line. 

This afternoon I'll be meeting with a representative from PERSI, the Public Employment Retirement System of Idaho, to review my options. Specifically, I'm looking for a way out. I'd like to walk through the revolving door marked EXIT and never look back. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Marching in My Corner of Idaho #WomensMarch #SOL17

With over four million like-minded folks, I participated in the Women's March on Washington. I marched locally with 1,200 participants.

Snow and rain parted right before the march. To support our message, two of my colleagues purchased t-shirts, which arrived Friday, just in time for our Saturday morning adventure.

The logo on our t-shirts read:

Nasty Woman
noun: A strong, confident woman who gets sh*t done.

We think the shirts worked well for three English teachers.

I made a short Animoto video to commemorate the occasion and to tell the story of our marching together.

After the march, we gathered in the student union building at Idaho State University and picked up information about how we can continue the momentum and be agents for change in our community.

Then we headed to Goodies, a locally owned watering hole, for pizza. We nourished our souls and bodies.

Women's March on Washington in Pocatello, Idaho Video from glenda funk on Vimeo.

*Edited: 7:55 a.m. MST to embed video (discovered problem this morning) and to add logo. No text changes made.

Each Tuesday the team of teachers at Two Writing Teachers sponsors the Slice of Life story challenge. 
I'm grateful to these ladies for theirunwavering dedication to living the writer's life. 
Head over to the TWTblog for more slices of life. 

Sunday, January 22, 2017

"Alternative Facts" in the New Teaching Order

First Lady Melania Trump in her inauguration suit.
Image via Google search: Noncommercial reuse.
My friend and collaborator Ami Szerencse and I have been having a dialogue about the education topic du jour since the November election: Fake and False News vs. Factual and Accurate News.

We, of course, are not the only teachers talking about Fake vs. Fact in the "news" sources we consume, primarily via social media. Ami teaches at Schurr High School in Montebello, California, and even though our student body demographics differ, our challenge remains the same: 

How do we teach students to navigate the news in this world of "alternative facts," the term Kellyanne Conway introduced today on "Meet the Press"? How do we teach students the difference between what Steven Colbert calls "truthiness" and truth? How do we teach students to address issues ethically and accurately rather than construct straw man arguments as Conway does in her interview with Chuck Todd? 

ELA teachers, as are those in other content areas, are on a tilt-a-whirl carnival ride spinning out of our control as we look for ways to navigate the new world of news.

Earlier Ami shared her experience with Newsela, a popular website teachers use for sharing news with students. 

Here's Ami's experience: 

Our district purchased Newsela. A week ago Newsela had Media Literacy week; there was a webinar and they curated a text set of some sources about fake news. I used some in my class. One of the articles that they posted with the date 1/12. The article stated that a recent Stanford study was released last Tuesday and this past weekend FB and others discussed how to stop the spread of fake news. 

I knew that the Stanford study was older than last week so I looked up the original article from the original source and saw it was published in November. I contacted Newsela and told them while I understand that they use the date that the article appears on the Newsela, it is misleading to students, especially when we teach them to look at the date to determine context. I received a reply that they would look into it. 

They have since changed the article to say the Stanford study was published in November and took out the reference to the past weekend (I am pretty impressed that they updated it based on my concerns). However, the date of 1/12 remains and while the title, author and source of the original article are there (if the student reads it at the max level), there is no information letting students know that these articles have been edited or that the actual publication date differs.

I am concerned about this. So many teachers are using Newsela for nonfiction articles. I like that Newsela provides students access to current news articles at their level, but it is not a news source. Are the teachers assigning Newsela addressing this? Do they even realize it is happening?

I remember having similar concerns about Newsela when our media specialist introduced it to us a few years ago. Newsela annotates and rewrites (paraphrases?) original articles to meet various lexile levels to make them accessible to students from elementary to high school, from native English speakers to ELLs. That rang as inauthentic to me, yet I understand the site's appeal and may use it in future lessons. 

Both Conways world of "alternative facts" and Ami's concerns about Newslea are framed by a conversation on Kylene Beers Facebook page about edits to www.whitehouse.gov to Melania Trump's biography, which initially mentioned her jewelry line's relationship with QVC, a detail no longer in the bio. It's possible to track the changes with the Way Back Machine. 
The screenshot about shows an earlier version of the first lady's bio (January 20). The screenshot below reflects the edit:
Although the information in both provide accurate information, we must ask why the edit exists and how the edit informs discussions about facts and fiction in the news, especially since twenty-first century cynicism is in play. 

More importantly, the ease with which website edits happen, and the cavalier failure to note on the site date and purpose of edits, behooves teachers to consider how we instruct our students in searching sites. 

This reality is particularly disconcerting to me. As I told Ami and commented on Kylene's thread, until January 20, 2017 I could confidently send my students to .gov websites with the assurance that the information is accurate and valid, that it meets our highest standards for websites because our GAO operates independently of partisan politics. 

I no longer have confidence in all .gov resources, and my teaching life is more discombobulated. Such is the world of "alternative facts," "truthiness," and our topsy-turvy world of disinformation. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Civility and Satire #SOL17

In his classic satirical novel Catch 22, Joseph Heller introduced a term that has embedded itself into our political lexicon. A catch 22 is a dilemma occurs when two competing options offer no clear win or benefit to the one caught in its circumstance. 

In Catch 22 Heller explains: 

There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one's safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn't, but if he was sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn't have to; but if he didn't want to he was sane and had to. Youssarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch-22 and let out a respectful whistle.

An early morning Twitter dialogue Monday reminded me of Heller's novel. The conversation centered on this satirical cartoon: 

I retweeted this post and promptly received a response challenging it as "mean." The responder later clarified that the cartoon itself isn't "mean," but the commentary from TheDailyLiberal is. 

I disagree with the characterization that the cartoon is mean; rather, I see the tweet as a brief analysis of PEOTUS's rhetoric. Certainly, many have noticed and commented on Donald Trump's tangled syntax. Recently, Trump advisor kellyanne Conway admonished the public to look into Trump's heart rather than take literally his words. 

But Trump's words and actions are all we have by which to judge him, and it's these that generate response. 

Failing to comment on Trump's comments risks assessing that silence as "tacit consent." Those who support the man would like nothing more than to silence the critics, hence Conway's admonition to "look in his heart." 

Failing to comment on Trump's rhetoric risks normalizing his criticism of national heroes like Representative John Lewis. 

By definition, satire is biting. It's meant to criticize in a cutting way. Those who respond to it shouldn't feel caught between two competing notions. 

In my own bubble--and I do live in one, as do most of us--I love sharing satire, especially Andy Borowitz's take on Donald Trump. Borowitz is funny and razor-sharp in his critiques. The same is true of Alec Baldwin's parody of Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live.

Yet I know my anger and dismay over the election results, over the hateful rhetoric Trump spewed in his campaign and on Twitter, over Russian interference in the election, over the spread of and acceptance of "fake" and distorted news, all needle me to the point that I have responded inappropriately, more often than I want to admit. 

A few weeks ago, I made a resolution to "go high" in my responses to Trump. I've stopped following those in my FB feed who act mean, particularly those who use derisive diction such as "libtard" and other political epithets. I'm trying to scroll past posts that push my buttons, those that spark my mean streak. 

This doesn't mean I won't share satire. I will. It doesn't mean I'll stop trolling Trump. But there are rational voices on Twitter who push back at the false narratives Trump tweets in the wee hours. Evan McMullen is one such voice. I'll follow this former CIA operative's example. 

We can criticize with civility and satire. As Joseph Heller reminds us: 

Some men are born mediocre, some achieve mediocrity, and some men have mediocrity thrust upon them...[They] agreed it was neither possible nor necessary to educate people who never questioned anything.

Joseph Heller wrote Catch 22 beginning in 1953, but it wasn't until 1961 in the early days of the cold war that it was published. The novel is set in WWII, yet his critique's relevance can't be denied.*

Youssarian laments the sorry conditions:

What a lousy earth! He wondered how many people were destitute that same night even in his own prosperous country, how many homes were shanties, how many husbands were drunk and wives socked, and how many children were bullied, abused, or abandoned. How many families hungered for food they could not afford to buy? How many hearts were broken? How many suicides would take place that same night, how many people would go insane? How many cockroaches and landlords would triumph? How many winners were losers, successes failures, and rich men poor men? How many wise guys were stupid? How many happy endings were unhappy endings? How many honest men were liars, brave men cowards, loyal men traitors, how many sainted men were corrupt, how many people in positions of trust had sold their souls to bodyguards, how many had never had souls? How many straight-and-narrow paths were crooked paths? How many best families were worst families and how many good people were bad people? When you added them all up and then subtracted, you might be left with only the children, and perhaps with Albert Einstein and an old violinist or sculptor somewhere.

How do we live in such a world? That, my friends, is the real catch-22 that confronts us in the Trump world order. 
Each Tuesday the team of teachers at Two Writing Teachers sponsors theSlice of Life story challenge. I'm grateful to these ladies for theirunwavering dedication to living the writer's life. Head over to the TWTblog for more slices of life. 

*Edited to correct publication date and add context for the novel.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Couch Surfing on a Snow Day #SOL17

Driggs, Idaho hosts Snowscapes each year.
This is a snowscape from a previous festival.
Here in our little postage stamp corner of the country we've had an unprecedented number of snow days. THREE! 

Unlike the cautious South, snowfall in our area rarely results in significant changes in folks' schedules. We're not quite as tough as North Dakotans, but we know how to drive on snow, know how to run a snow blower, and know how to adapt to seasonal changes by keeping supplies on hand.

Our district officials know that a snow day has another name: SKI DAY. Students dismissed from school head for the slopes at Pebble Creek, a ski area known for its steep vertical slope and rocky runs. 

This year is different. 

We have had three "snow" days in a row. Calling these days "snow" days is somewhat deceptive since it's not snow that closed school. Sub-zero temperatures and sheets of ice on mountain roads take the blame for our school closures. 

I celebrated a little when I got the text last Wednesday night informing me of school's cancellation on Thursday. We'd had 6"-8" of snowfall during the day, and my husband and I decided to destress at a local watering hole when the news arrived. I used Thursday as a day to read, to work on my NCTE17 proposal, and to clean toilets. I did a happy dance! 

By Monday, after rising at 5:00 a.m. and heading to the gym for my morning workout, I was ready to head back to school. I had managed to grade outlines for Comm 1101 students Sunday, had finished the proposal sans a couple of tweaks and uploading it, had vegetated enough. 

I felt a case of cabin fever coming on. 

Monday I couch surfed. 

From my cozy couch...

  • I began reading the fourth Harry Potter book but soon nodded off. 
  • I watched a funny video of the Georgia Tech swim team traversing the snow in their Speedos. 

  • I answered a text from a student who wanted me to evaluate a college essay, which I did.
  • I trolled PEOTUS and Kellyanne Conway on Twitter. I was curious about how he'd respond to Meryl Strep's Golden Globe Award speech (BTW: as predicted).
  • I participated in a group text reminder of Leadership Team meeting Tuesday morning in which my colleagues celebrated another day of no school. Imagine the image below as an animation.

  • I read FB posts about water issues in friend's homes, posts from colleagues who had gone to school before the cancellation announcement, and comments on my district's page from angry parents who claimed to need more notice before sending their teens out to drive on icy roads.
  • I napped some more.
  • I dressed Snug, one of my dogs, in his new coat and posted a collage of him modeling on FB. 
  • I thought about grading papers and making lesson plans, but decided not to strain myself. 
  • I snacked. A girl needs nourishment when couch surfing. It's a strenuous sport. 
  • I made soup. 
In short, I wasted a lot of time on my third snow day. I'll regret that Tuesday morning as a scurry to get things done at school. Since December 16, we have only been in school two days. That will hurt the rest of the week. 

I'm not very productive on snow days. I'm exhausted from my day of surfing on the couch. I think I'll go to sleep now. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The Trickster Archetype in Hamlet and PEOTUS

Henry Miller "Large Reclining Figure (1984)
via Wiki images labeled for reuse.
When I think about the archetypal Trickster, Native American literature typically pops into my mind, but Shakespeare also incorporated the Trickster into his dramas, and we see the Trickster at work in our political structures. 

Trickster Characteristics

Karl Kerenyl describes the function of the Trickster as contributing "disorder to order" to "make a whole, to render possible, within the fixed bounds of what is permitted, an experience of what is not permitted." Carl Jung describes the Trickster: "Although he is not really evil, he does the most atrocious things from sheer unconsciousness and unrelatedness." 

In his "8-Function Model of Archetypes," John Beebe depicts the Trickster as "amoral, mischievous, disruptive." This model builds on Jungian psychology's conscious and unconscious self. The Trickster operates on the 7th level of Bebee's model to "create double-binds" that "circumvent obstacles." 

The Trickster in Hamlet and in Presidential Politics: 

Hamlet: Prince of Denmark is full of Trickster-type characters, but Hamlet reigns supreme in his ability to "disrupt" a political structure he sees as "disorderly": "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark." Hamlet's father tasks the younger Hamlet with the duty to "make a whole" of the monarchy by exposing Claudius, his uncle, as the murderer of his father. In this context, Hamlet must operate "within the fixed bounds of what is permitted, an experience of what is not permitted." 

Certainly, Hamlet operates in a subversive manner. He's mischievous. He's disruptive. Arguably, he's amoral, or at least he acts in ways that theater-goers might judge amoral. 

In 2011 an article in Personality Types in Depth posed a question about the role of political Tricksters that is relevant as we begin a new year: "Was Shakespeare ultimately cautioning us about the potentially disastrous effects of unbridling the Trickster in psyche or society?"

In 17 days our Trickster-elect will take the Oath of Office. Yet we must recognize that the PEOTUS elect functions as a "hero" in some cultural circles and that there is little evidence that he reflects and searches his soul to examine his beliefs and morals. 

However, sans self-examination, PEOTUS operates in a questioning paradigm that rejects established political norms

  • Will he release his tax returns? No
  • Will he put his businesses in a blind trust? No
  • Will he accept intelligence briefings and findings? No
  • Will he appoint cabinet members with relevant credentials for their respective positions? No
The list of ways PEOTUS challenges political order to create disorder knows no bounds. 

When PEOTUS takes to Twitter to wish his "enemies," the Americans who voted for his opponent, a Happy New Year, when he tweets about the election outcome two months after the election, when he describes the media in derogatory terms, when he attacks businesses on Twitter, we get glimpses of his insecurities. I've come to see tRUMP as an insecure man-child who knows he has no credibility and will do whatever he can to divert attention away from this reality. 

Like Hamlet, our PEOTUS revels in self-doubt. Some see him as a hero, but many see him as a tragic character on a collision course with history. 

Throughout the campaign and transition, PEOTUS has equivocated on the political stage and in his commitment to democratic principles. He's obsessed with whether or not people like him. Like Hamlet, "his equivocating interpretations of the events shape our understanding, at the same time that his actions and inaction serve as a pivotal force in shaping the events themselves," writes Steve Whiteford about Hamlet, but the characterization also rings true of PEOTUS.

Hamlet meets his tragic end through a failure to understand the Ghost's origin. Thus, he equivocates. Hamlet sees the Ghost as an evil Trickster. He knows his Uncle Claudius, now the King, is an evil Trickster. He eventually recognizes his childhood friends Rosencrantz and Giuldenstern as unwitting Tricksters. He even questions Ophelia's love and loyalty. Could she, too, be a Trickster?

Before he can function or act within social and political structures, Hamlet, needs more proof that Claudius killed his father, so he devises an elaborate scheme: "The play's the thing wherein I'll catch the conscience of the King." Similarly, Trump's inability to trust the democratic institutions that have kept our republic functioning more that 200 years stands on shaky pillars as PEOTUS's distrust in the system he will "lead" has led many to see him as a fool, as mad (mentally ill), as morally and ethically depraved. His "enemies" take to Twitter to chide and bait him and do so without relenting. 

At the end of his Trickster analysis of Hamlet, Whiteford says Hamlet "fails miserably--unable to see and transcend his own inferior and unconscious motives." Ultimately, Hamlet dies a tragic death, the fate of the fallen Shakespearean hero. 

We've yet to see the final denouement for the PEOTUS, but Monday Andrew Smith wrote a FB post reminding PEOTUS of his 2.9 million vote deficit and suggested in the comment section that PEOTUS is "headed for a breakdown." He's not the first to offer this prediction. What tRUMP and his supporters in the Republican party have done and by all indications will continue doing is deconstructing the foundation on which our system stands. 

Today marks the end of the independent ethics committee that functions as a check on congressional members. This is a ploy of the Trickster-elect. Indeed, "Something is rotten in the state" our our United States. Will we allow the Trickster among us to disrupt and create disorder? Will we resist? 
Each Tuesday the team of teachers at Two Writing Teachers sponsors the
Slice of Life story challenge. I'm grateful to these ladies for their
unwavering dedication to living the writer's life. Head over to the TWT
blog for more slices of life.