Teachers Vote. And Kind of Dislike Cheetos

If you are a teacher, you have probably come to dislike Cheetos.

If I wasn’t a teacher, I would have no idea how much this tasty little cheese dusted snack food is controlling the masses. But I spend most of my time in a school, so I probably pick up a dropped artificial cheese strand a least once a day. I see the unmistakable orange packaging hanging out of book bags, collect homework with orange finger prints on them, and occasionally see a student hold up their orange dusted fingers and ask for the bathroom pass.

If we really wanted to reform education, we should figure out some way to put some kind of brain enhancing chemical in Cheeto dust. How ‘bout it, science?

I’ll admit, I’ve never been partial to that whole category of snack foods. Cheese curls always lose out to a chip when I have the choice, Combos are my junk food of choice when I make a quick run to the corner store in my neighborhood, and I’m kind of a chips and salsa fanatic when I want a snack during a game.

In short, it’s easy for me to dislike Cheetos. It’s natural for me to make fun of my students’ poor taste in snack foods and jokingly circle the cheese dust on a paper with a giant “-10 for poor taste.” It’s not that I don’t like corner store junk food, it’s that Cheetos are one of the worst options.

My profound frustration for faux cheddar snacks is one of the reasons I always kind of laugh when Damon Young calls our current president “Darth Cheeto.” Sure, he is a bit more orange than the rest of us, but his annoying fake tanning habits and makeup should be something I can look past. The whole metaphor, however, is just an easy jump for me. I really don’t like Cheetos and I really don’t like our president.

I really, really, don’t like this president.

It doesn’t help that I am a teacher, and I know well the danger of hateful and bigoted rhetorical choices. It doesn’t help that I disagree with him on most every policy, appointee, or even his lifestyle preferences. It certainly doesn’t help that I live in a city, work in a neighborhood public school, teach students who have been marginalized by political structures, and basically care about students whose lives this president has tried to ignore, discount, and dismantle. It doesn’t help that I live in Pittsburgh, a city that has just experienced unimaginable hate and the president responded with the same language he has always used. He asked for more guns, and ignored the cries of the victims asking him to stay away. It doesn’t help that I believe in things like healthcare for all, education for all, and social safety nets and I don’t mind some taxes to achieve those things. It doesn’t help that this president and his followers in congress have just decided to give a break to richest Americans, while pushing more weight on the backs of the poorest ones.

Cheetos are just annoying and kind of messy. But this president is dangerous, and not in the ‘junk food makes you unhealthy’ kind of way. In the ‘take our focus off of what matters’ kind of way. In the ‘ignore the most vulnerable and pay attention to the rich’ kind of way. If we are responsible for the plight of our neighbors, than all of our hands are bloody on this one.

On Tuesday we get a chance to send a clear message to this president about what we care about.

Let’s tell him we care about our students.

Let’s tell him we care about our neighbors.

Let’s vote.