Apples, Raised Fists, and Communism. A Teachable Moment From a Single Tweet.

Imagine you as a teacher found out that a symbol associated with you and your profession was the actual antithesis of what you are supposed to stand for.

Take for instance the apple. A shiny red apple.

However, there is a sordid version of its history.

There is that fruit closely associated to that original fall of humankind when in Genesis a serpent tempted Adam & Eve to take a bite thus allowing sin and death into the world.  (It doesn’t get more historical than that).

And there was that time when three goddesses from a polytheistic society decided to use an apple to instigate the greatest war in the mythical world which spawned not only two epic poems that have haunted students for decades but also gave rise to a rather inconsistent movie in which Brad Pitt had to use a stunt double to perform those acts of barbarism. (But nice hair!)

And there was that time an apple was eaten by a single woman who was living with seven older “men” in one house and it made her overdose on some sort of witchcraft. That then spawned a story line which told young ladies that true love was being a damsel in sleepy distress and waiting for some man to come and make it right for her because she could not do it herself.

Disney had a habit of that for a few decades.

Yet does having an apple associated with my procession make me a polytheistic individual bent on causing strife by sewing discord and bringing sin and death into the world while making sure that gender stereotypes are reinforced in my classrooms?

Actually, I see apples as a rather nutritious crop that is widely grown in North Carolina and provides sustenance to many. In fact, I spend a good deal of time looking at news and email on a smartphone that is named after this legendary fruit.

But if one wants to look at apples in that rather limited point of view, then it’s America. One has every right to do that.

So, on Saturday this particular tweet was sent out by John Hood, president of the John Pope Foundation and former president of the John Locke Foundation.


He expressly insinuates in this tweet that NCAE has adopted a communist symbol for its May 1st rally in Raleigh. It was meant as a jab to NCAE, the one “union” that literally threatens people like Hood and Art Pope.

The tweet is nothing but an “apple of discord” thrown into the social media world to cause a little bit of strife. Let that apple ferment a little and it might intoxicate people enough to make a decision about whether to support the May 1st rally in Raleigh based on one person’s interpretation.

And that’s fine. It’s America, but if you are a teacher or public school advocate in North Carolina who is thinking about advocating for the students in public schools, then name calling and logical fallacies of association should not even sway you from doing what is best for kids.

We as teachers have been called worse. Much worse. In fact, you have already been called communists.

Remember these?



And those are lawmakers.

Even the son of President of the United States whose last budget slashes funding for public schools said this in February of this year:

“You know what I love? I love seeing some young conservatives because I know it’s not easy. (Crowd applauds and shouts.) Keep up that fight. Bring it to your schools. You don’t have to be indoctrinated by these loser teachers that are trying to sell you on socialism from birth. You don’t have to do it. Because you can think for yourselves. They can’t.” 

So, if I am a teacher who tries to practice the values of inclusiveness and equality in my classroom who happens to think that the teaching profession should have collective bargaining rights in order to keep public schools strong in the state of North Carolina and wants to rally in Raleigh for tangible issues that would improve our schools, then I am a “communist democratic,” a “thug.” and a “loser teacher?”

Maybe a “loser communistic democratic teacher thug.” If that is what Hood and others are defining it as, then I will gladly wear that label.

But if I ever see a fist clenched in victory in a game or raised at a concert, the thought that these people are communists will not appear in my mind.

That is unless, I have been poisoned by one of those apples.