The Midterm-Election Voting Guide: Let the Fifth-Grade Teachers Take Over for a Change

Can't figure out what the rules of engagement are in this post-truth world? Vote for the people that fifth-grade teachers would want you to vote for.

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Nice group of patriots we’ve got here! At a protest rally in Ann Arbor, Michigan, July 18, 2018.

See that wild-eyed, dangerous-looking group of leftists in that photo above? Those are my friends. They’re the reason I laugh (but in a sad, disgusted sort of way) when Fox News darkly hints that they are part of some scary underbelly of revolutionary plotting.

The vaunted radicalism of the modern protest marcher comes down to this: a bunch of artists, social workers, office administrators—and a plentiful number of elementary-school teachers, depend on it. Perhaps they are not dangerous, but they are essential. Those people show up. They mean business. They actually care. And they are, currently, quite ready to act.

You’ve seen the trope “I don’t know how to convince you that you should care about other people.” It was written by a fed-up fifth-grade teacher, I’m quite sure. And that’s why I want to make a modest proposal: Let’s let the elementary-school teachers take over and run the damn world. You don’t have to convince them to care about other people. They’ve been doing it all along.

I have strong memories of my own fifth-grade teacher, Mr. Scheffler. In addition to killer spelling tests (I thank him every day of my life as an editor), he meted out a lot of social education and practical lessons in working in pairs and teams. Of course, as happens with so many things, there has been continuous improvement in the fifth-grade world. My youngest son’s fifth-grade teacher, Ms. Spiroff, ran Spir City, in which elections were held, taxes were levied, and there were endless opportunities to meet, debate, and vote. These two got only a fraction of the pay that, say, a top motivational speaker or startup founder would see, but they did the same jobs. 

It’s all well and good to have political experience. It’s important to know the ins and outs of Washington (or the state capital) before you head off to represent people. But let me tell you one thing I know: It’s also damned simple. These middle-aged, middle-income people who toil in obscurity have a lot of common sense. They understand why we need Social Security, aid to veterans, and reasonable health care of a modern global standard. They understand why the government is supposed to be working for us, not consolidating the power of corporations and foreign dictators. They learned it in fifth grade, and a lot of them have passed it on to 11-year-olds in the classroom and at home. Let’s listen to them.

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