We’re living history.
With the morally dysfunctional Donald Trump igniting a reform in societal political awareness, there is something great coming out from the ashes of his contempt. Rebellion.
People are rebelling.
From the Women’s March to the universal decrying of his travel ban on several Muslim nations, I truly can’t remember a time in my life where the everyday citizen has responded in shared voice. It’s been slowly building for a year or so now. From Black Lives Matters to shared response to misogyny put on display during Hillary Clinton’s campaign, goodness has begun to speak out and the conversation needs a response.
Not only are we living history but it’s the “present” that we in the classroom must talk about. I often write and share on this site my thinking on learning in the classroom, how we use technology and as it pertains to media, how thinking must be priority. The lessons of today are paramount in teaching our students, regardless of subject or grade, the importance of values that cross all religious, racial, gender, ethnic or class boundaries. RESPECT. EMPATHY. LOVE. Not just words that shape slogans, but the foundation needed for a decent society to take root. Who are we, if not able to find goodness? What do we teach our children when we stay quiet and do not provoke?
Specific to the media classroom and conversation, a lesson on voice needs to be had. President Trump has already begun his quest in fragmenting the value of journalism and has used social media with a troll mindset. As a teacher, he is the great example and manifestation of McLuhan’s foreshadowing discourse that the medium is the message.
Often, in media courses and I remember this from my high school days, McLuhan’s theory is incorrectly digested. It’s not the artifact that truly matters (the television program, movie, radio broadcast etc.), but rather the medium itself. The fact that any given medium can incite a societal reaction or shape our thinking is of deepest importance. This is evident in the use of Twitter by President Trump. Twitter, in this case, is the message. We must recognize that in 140 characters, the value of thought is limited. Although the medium can be powerful, his use is not about conversation or sharing but explosive proclamation. It’s a platform that shields him.
As such, if you’re like me and in the classroom, now, is an incredible time for rich discourse grounded in thinking and meaning. I revisited McLuhan last night and took in old university notes with the acute awareness that I was waiting for the politics of today to truly see McLuhan’s thinking take shape.
Now, I better get to class. Time to have a conversation.