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BARTH KECK

I’m tired of arrogance and name-calling. I’ve had it with the smug attitude and the pandering to a select group of Americans.

I prefer hope over fear, kindness over anger. I choose inclusion instead of exclusion and honesty instead of deceit.

In a word, I want light, not darkness.

This might not be the “most important election of our lifetime” as billed by many pundits, but the build-up has certainly been constant – and exhausting. But finally, it’s here: a chance to get off the dark path and move toward the light.

The fact that this year’s presidential election has contained so much negativity is not surprising since the past four years have been anything but “normal.” Having an obsessive Tweeter and unfiltered agitator in the White House has even caused Connecticut Republicans to temper their support for the incumbent.

Rep. Leslee Hill and Sen. Kevin Witkos, representing Canton, Avon, and Simsbury, for instance, “carefully keep [Donald Trump] at arm’s length, neither embracing nor denouncing the president.”

Even so, a Sacred Heart University survey last week found that 70% of Connecticut Republicans support Trump. To be sure, Trump backers are still out there – like Marianne Clark of Avon.

“I love him,” said Clark about Trump. “I love this guy. I really believe he cares about the people.”

Cue the scratchy-needle-across-the-record sound effect.

Seriously? He cares about people? I might expect supporters to prop up his policies – that is, if they ignore the counterproductive tariffs, the highest-ever national debt, the failure to create a new healthcare plan, and the gross mismanagement of the pandemic. But to claim that Trump actually cares about people is an impossible sell – at least to this teacher, husband, and father.

As a teacher, I find his aversion to facts distressing. By the end of August, Trump had made more than 22,000 false or misleading claims in 1,316 days, according to the Washington Post Fact Checker.  During the final stretch of the campaign, Trump is averaging 50 erroneous claims a day. What’s more, Trump’s refusal to read intelligence reports and his misunderstanding of American history aren’t what you’d call examples of academic rigor.

Teachers, therefore, are one group that Trump clearly does not “care about.” And why should he? As a teacher, I spend most of my time in class teaching kids “to hate their own country.”

As a man and husband, meanwhile, I am also sickened by the president’s abject subjugation of women. There is the long history of public insults, particularly involving women of color. There are the seemingly innocuous statements – “we’re getting your husbands back to work” – that reveal his antiquated chauvinism. And there are the multiple women who have accused him of sexual misconduct, of course.

“Of course.” How far have we fallen that we now utter such accusations so casually?

It’s beyond my understanding how any woman could give this man a pass, considering his track record. As a man and husband, I certainly don’t.

Finally, my role as a father of two now-grown boys and a school-age girl has me particularly disgusted with the president. Call me old-fashioned, but I still embrace the idea of the president as an upstanding citizen, a role model – in short, one who should act “presidential.” I don’t expect perfection, just some basic decorum. But “decorum” is clearly a foreign concept to this president.

The list of insults and crass remarks is endless. “From referencing a television host’s menstrual cycle to using vulgar phrases to describe opponents to his encouragement of violence at rallies, Trump’s insults have known no bounds.” In case anyone doubts this fact (I mean, really?), a comprehensive list is available here.

Beyond his failure as a role model, Trump has shown little regard for youngsters with an abhorrent immigration policy that has permanently separated 545 children from their parents as well as a personal repudiation of science that harms the health of kids now and in the future.

Donald Trump, put simply, acts in a fashion in direct opposition to how I’ve taught my own children to act. My sons and daughter know better – they know the right thing to do is to show respect and concern for others – so why shouldn’t a president?

I know that many people will still vote for Donald Trump on Election Day if they haven’t already. That’s their choice, and that’s the beauty of our representative democracy: Citizens have the right to make such choices. But as a teacher, husband, and father, I believe that’s a choice for darkness.

I prefer light.

Barth Keck is a father of three and an English teacher who teaches courses in journalism, media literacy, and AP English Language & Composition at Haddam-Killingworth High School.

DISCLAIMER: The views, opinions, positions, or strategies expressed by the author are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or positions of CTNewsJunkie.com.

Barth Keck

Barth Keck is in his 30th year as an English teacher and 15th year as an assistant football coach at Haddam-Killingworth High School where he teaches courses in journalism, media literacy, and AP English Language & Composition.