Who’s to Blame?

I’m going to give you two examples of bad teachers, one of which was me, and I imagine you’ll see before the conclusion how this relates to recent events in Portland.
The first incident happened when I was a student, back at good old East Des Moines High. After swimming class, we found ourselves locked out of the locker room. So, Mr. Vavra, who I always called coach Vavra because I was on the swimming team (btw, did not realize it was a Czech name until I moved here), was called to come open the door. Well, as he was unlocking the door, one kid said “If it’s Thompson, (I don’t remember the names, so Thompson will do) can I punch him?” Coach Vavra said “Yeah, sure” and you can guess the rest. The door opened and Kapow! So, I always considered that an example of bad teaching.
Fast forward about 35-40 years, and I’m teaching a particularly rowdy group of 4th graders. Honza was the problem child in the class. All the kids picked on him. After a while I began to realize why. He meant well, he really did, but he tried so hard to be liked, and so inappropriately, that he was hated. Even got on my nerves after a while. Well, one day I was arguing with him and this cute, little girl, who was smart and a very good student said “Can I hit him with my bag?” and I said “Yeah, sure.” Now, two things I hadn’t realized. This innocent looking little girl was far stronger, and meaner than I’d thought, and her bag was filled with books. Honza started crying immediately and I spent the rest of the class apologizing to him like crazy and hoping I wouldn’t lose my job.
In this analogy, Trump is obviously the violent child, but Obama is the bad teacher. He signed the NDAA, which gave Trump the legal fig leaf, the pretext he needed, to send in his goons and start arresting innocent people and beating the hell out of them for no particular reason. He signed it, and this was not some spur of the moment thing in the classroom. He may not have thought somebody like Trump would use it, like most people he probably never thought Donald Trump would ever be elected, but he did sign it, and it had led to horrible abuses.
And that should always be remembered as an example of bad presidenting.

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