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June 16, 2014

Breakfast Politics

by Brendan

I had breakfast discussions about politics with two different groups on Friday and then Saturday of last week.  The Saturday breakfast was 4 other guys, 3 of whom were lawyers (I know, pray for death! What were you thinking?), one retired military officer, one other retired professor.

We were talking about liberal and conservative media, and the military officer asked, “Do liberal college professors persecute conservative students in their classes?”  Oddly, neither I nor the other professor were permitted to answer.

University of Florida Bookstore

University of Florida Bookstore

But here are my answers:

1. SARCASTIC: Of course we do.  Why, when I was teaching, I reviewed who my conservative students were each morning on the way to work and tried to think of ways to persecute them.

2. SARCASTIC AND CRUELLY DISRESPECTFUL: Do military officers persecute those soldiers in their command whom they dislike, such as women or gays?  And is the persecution often rape?

3. TRUTHFUL BUT DISINGENUOUS: Persecuting students for their politics would be unprofessional.

4. TRUTHFUL AND ACTUAL: I taught at a 2-year college, mostly service courses in writing skills.  The main goal was to make my students better writers, so I never really knew what their political views were. (If they had been better writers, I might have known.)

Some insight into this situation.  Students might complain to their parents, administration higher-ups, or even their professors that their low grades were retribution for their conservative (or whatever) views.  The real, buried issue was that their writing was incompetent, and they were just making excuses.

One more thing: I taught an Advanced Composition class once using a textbook called Current Issues and Enduring Problems.  It contained essays about various issues, usually point\counterpoint.  At the end of the course, two students came up after class to ask if I would be the Faculty Advisor for their new Young Republican club.  I pointed out that I was a fervent Democrat, which seemingly would pretty much dis-qualify me from being Faculty Advisor to the Young Republicans.   Guess I did too good a job that semester of discussing both sides to all the issues.

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