“Sunday morning when we go down to church
See the menfolk standin’ in line
I said they come to pray to the Lord
With my little girl, looks so fine
In the evening when the sun is sinkin’ low
Everybody’s with the one they love
I walk the town, keep a-searchin’ all around
Lookin’ for my street corner girl.”– Jimmy Page
Hulu ran an original series this year titled simply, “A Teacher”. I get an uneasy feeling every time I see a drama about teachers on television or in movies. They always seem to short-change us somehow. This particular series is a unique mini-series that looks at an inappropriate relationship between a teacher and a student over the course of ten episodes.
So, as subjects go it is an interesting way to do it. It ended up being between three and four hours of running time, so it dedicated more than a typical movie and less than a drawn out series. As you might expect, I have a number of critiques, but that’s not really the purpose of this particular post. We are simply using it as an extended metaphor of sorts.
In the series, a teacher (Claire) has a relationship with a male student she taught in senior English. She of course loses her career and ends up going to prison. The series sped its way through the relationship building and immediate fallout (no trial scenes or scenes of her career fallout) but showed how both parties were emotionally damaged after the fact.
Again, that’s neither here nor there. What is prescient is that while her relationship wasn’t technically illegal since the boy was 18, it was certainly unethical and morally wrong. Now, she could have resigned and simply gone on her merry way, but the state chose to press charges (again, it isn’t quite clear what they actually convict her of) and I’m assuming that the state went after her to pull her teaching certificate.
Why did they go to so much trouble to punish someone that had already resigned? Couldn’t they have just left her alone to pick up the pieces of her broken life? Maybe she had learned her lesson. Maybe she could teach in a different district in a different school and do so without committing major ethical violations.
I think most of you see where this is going. Claire was emotionally damaged to the point where she could not see what she had done even years after the fact. The victim in this case had to tell her exactly what she did and how it impacted him more than it impacted her. One can only imagine that if she had been allowed to continue teaching she would have done something else to another student. No, it might not have been sexual, but she clearly had a moral/ethical blind spot that wasn’t going away.
Senator Susan Collins now famously said she did not vote for conviction in the first impeachment trial because she felt that Donald Trump had “learned his lesson.” Most people thought that was hilarious even at the time. He has been acting this way his whole adult life. He doesn’t “learn lessons” and I would argue that few that have reached full ass adulthood, learn lessons in the sense that we ascribe to children.
The state of Texas and the TEA went after Claire for the same reason that Congressional Democrats have gone after Trump. Yes, he is no longer president, but he is still the defacto leader of the Republican party. He did something wrong and we want to make sure he can’t hurt anyone ever again.
Grading inciteful speech isn’t an exact science. It is difficult to connect the dots definitively. Criminal conspiracies are often that way. You don’t catch the don on the phone tap telling Paulie to go kill someone. The don uses euphemisms and innuendo, but everyone involved knows exactly what needs to be done. Sure, the ex-president never told the crowd outright to attack the capital and kill Mike Pence and Nancy Pelosi. So, you could certainly question the merits of the case on those grounds.
He also never told the Georgia secretary of state outright that I want you to commit fraud so I can win the election in Georgia. Those words were never spoken. Yet, what he did say was pretty brazen and pretty direct. I think if you got the GOP senators in private they would tell you that Trump committed impeachable acts. Heck, some have even said that in public.
So, what are we doing here? Are we going to say that Claire never should have slept with a student but she did it and has since resigned, so it is okay? Trump committed impeachable acts, but he is no longer president, so it shouldn’t matter? If you believe he didn’t incite violence and shouldn’t be held responsible that’s one thing. If you think he did but shouldn’t be held responsible I’m just not sure how we justify that. People in the GOP are still looking at him as the standard bearer of their party. If the standard is that corrupt and that dangerous it must be dealt with.