one of the main reasons i support carly fiorina for president in 2016 is because of a statement she made in her speech at the reagan library last night: every american has God-given gifts that must be allowed opportunities to reach their full potential. in answer to a question from a woman in the audience about how americans can be confident that republicans support personal choice as much as the democrats claim to, carly points out that democrats were the ones who pushed for the denial of the family’s choice in how to educate their children, instead advocating a one-size-fits-all, dumbed-down approach called ‘common core.’ she reminds the audience of karen lewis, the head of the teacher’s union in chicago, saying the teachers of the schools ‘can not be held accountable for the performance of the students in [their] classrooms because too many of them are poor and come from broken homes.’ (note: i just spent upwards of twenty minutes searching for a source of this quote but all i found were articles espousing the typical liberal narrative that because lewis is a black woman she can do no wrong. even google has a side.) carly points out the implications this teacher’s union head’s words carry: that the poor and those with less-than-stellar home lives must not have any ability to move forward in the world, that they are somehow lesser humans and that society and educators are in no way obligated to respect their goals and motivate them to work for success.
i am an adopted child of an interracial couple whose parents were racist against each other. they were young and unmarried at the time of my birth and already had my brother to take care of; without support from their families, they were forced to give us up in hopes that another family could better provide for our needs. if the words of karen lewis are to be taken at face value, i and my brother, coming from a poor, unstable southern family, shouldn’t have been given the opportunities that adoption into a more financially stable home with married parents would provide, specifically relating to education. we, according to her, are lesser humans with no potential to succeed. i’d love to see her face as she reads of my accomplishments in school: skipping a full grade due to intelligence and moving forward another grade in math. taking an a.p. english class in high school. graduating as valedictorian. auditioning for and getting into a prestigious high school choir and receiving the second-highest ranking at regional competition three years running. running in the state cross country meet twice despite having never been in the sport before. receiving $6500 in scholarships to my chosen college the day i applied simply due to my g.p.a. and having it increased by $1000 upon further review of my transcript. can she really say my parentage cancels out my potential?
carly speaks for all americans in her belief that each of us has something valuable, viable, and irreplaceable to offer to the world. we must support a candidate who will recognize human dignity, promote the advancement of individual potential, and reject the idea that anyone’s birth forecasts her future.