Teacher Who Identifies as Paper Proofreads Trump

Public mockery is a dangerous thing. It is so easy to end up with the cream pie in your own face — especially if you are a retired school teacher with an agenda who is dumb enough to try to embarrass a sitting President of the United States to score petty political points.

Yvonne Mason, 61, a former high school English teacher, sent a letter to the White House asking Donald Trump to visit the family of each person who died in the Parkland, Florida high school shooting. In return, she received a letter, signed by Trump, reciting some of the actions taken by the president and his administration in response to the shooting.

And that’s when her inner grandstander took over.

So when she received the letter in the mail, she pulled out her go-to purple pen and started making corrections. Then she snapped a picture, posted the letter on Facebook and mailed it back to the White House.

“It was a poorly worded missive,” she said. “Poor writing is not something I abide. If someone is capable of doing better, then they should do better.”

Let us consider the essential smugness of Ms. Mason’s nonsensical act of self-aggrandizement.

First of all, she perfectly captures the heart of a typical modern school teacher (i.e., self-important knee-jerk progressive blowhard) by making her pitch for the Virtue Signal Hall of Fame, demanding that Trump visit the families of every shooting victim. Now why in God’s name should a sitting President of the United States be obliged to personally meet everyone who has lost a family member to violence? If we interpreted this childish attention-seeking demand as an actual principle of good governance, then Trump could probably while away the rest of his first term just tooling around Chicago meeting victims’ families. (Hmm, come to think of it, maybe that’s not such a bad idea.)

Furthermore, in case you are wondering about my characterization of Mason’s initial letter as a “demand,” consider this:

“I had written to them in anger, to tell you the truth,” she said. “I thought he owed it to these grieving families.”

Oh, well! She thought Trump “owed it” to the families. That settles it, then.

Owed what? And why? Had he murdered someone? Had he sold guns to the killer? Had he publicly advocated shooting people at a high school?

Of course not. Mason’s claim was nothing but a self-righteous progressive talking point, reframed as a “letter to the President,” written in anger, which is to say merely for the sake of expressing outrage — phony, impersonal outrage of the sort knee-jerk progressives are forever expressing at the top of their lungs, in lieu of any real human feelings.

These facts of character and motive certainly color her response to the White House’s reply:

The letter she received did not address her concerns, she said. Instead, it listed a series of actions taken after the shooting, like listening sessions, meetings with lawmakers and the STOP School Violence Act, a bill that would authorize $500 million over 10 years for safety improvements at schools but had no provisions related to guns.

That is to say, Mason, who was already angry and inclined to dismiss the White House’s position, regarded the reply she received as insufficiently polite and deferential. But why should the White House have been polite and deferential — in response to a letter written in anger, and making absurd demands from obvious political motives? And by the way, her disappointment was apparently triggered by the fact that Trump, rather than meeting with families, which would do absolutely nothing to address the issue of violence, actually listed a series of practical measures ostensibly aimed at reducing the risk of further school shootings. Don’t get me wrong: I am not a supporter of such precipitous legislative “action.” But why isn’t Mason? Because the letter “did not address her concerns”? What concerns? That Trump should bow before grandstanding high school teachers who angrily demand that he apologize to the nation for…for something.

But the great coup of Mason’s Facebook post, of course, is the photograph of her corrections on Trump’s letter. Oh, look — he wrote “Nation” with a capital N. He wrote “State” with a capital S.

He also took the time to answer a letter from someone who fully deserved to be ignored. Rather than appreciating the fact that she had received a cordial reply to a letter written purely to score meaningless points with herself and her friends, Mason took the opportunity to show how classless and artless she is, by using her English teacher’s “expertise” to mock the President of the United States for the sake of her own vanity.

And let’s face the obvious: Trump did not write that letter. He merely signed something written by a member of his staff tasked with writing somewhat Trumpy letters to progressive dimwits with attitude problems.

As for the content of her corrections, evidence of just how politically snide her mind was during this exercise in superciliousness may be seen in her circling “Trump’s” use of the word “rule” in the following sentence: “I also directed the Department of Justice to issue a rule banning devices, such as bump stocks….” In the margin, she places a question mark, followed by the words, “explain ‘rule.'”

I don’t know, Ms. Mason, but I would guess “rule” would mean “regulation” — you know, the sort of thing White House departments issue, as was duly noted, using the words “rule” and “regulation” interchangeably, in a March 23rd New York Times article on the bump stocks ban.

But aside from that, I was just wondering: Shouldn’t “explain” be capitalized in Mason’s directive, since “Explain ‘rule'” is clearly a complete grammatical sentence?

On the other hand, one of Mason’s earlier margin comments reads, “Not parts of proper noun construction,” where, since this comment is not a complete grammatical sentence, there is no legitimate reason for “Not” to be capitalized.

Then there is her final remark about the unnecessary capitalizations in “Trump’s” letter: “OMG this is wrong!”

OMG that’s an awfully teenage chat-message-like form of correction for a retired high school teacher to be using. “OMG”? Seriously? To the President of the United States? IMHO, that’s LOL-level stupid. When my university students — who are social media-obsessed twenty-somethings learning English as a second language, not sixty-one-year-olds teaching it in an English-speaking country — use that kind of online bullcrap lingo in a real writing context, I beat them down for it pretty mercilessly. If I ever caught myself using that sort of guck in my own writing or in correcting a student’s paper, I would know I had finally lost the battle against the deterioration of language, and would probably quit my teaching job immediately.

But for me, perhaps the highlight of Mason’s desperate attempt to look clever comes in the original article linked above, which quotes Mason’s innocent explanation of her petty Facebook mockery of a president she dislikes, namely that she “hadn’t quite left ‘grading-paper mode.'”

Perhaps that clunky phrase was supposed to be “paper-grading mode,” as in the frame of mind suitable for correcting written assignments. Otherwise, if we are to take her literally, then she may be saying she is marking up the White House letter because she is in the “mode” of something called “grading paper,” which I assume would be a special kind of paper one uses for grading. I was not aware that paper had modes, nor that there even was a special sort of paper designed for grading. But apparently, at least according to America’s High School English Teacher, playing smart aleck with the president of your country is just one of those things that oozes out of you when you have achieved (are beset with?) this particular paper mode, whatever it might be.

There are exceptions to most rules, of course, but as a general rule of thumb, I will simply conclude with this bit of marginalia:

Trump may be dumb; progressive school teachers are dumber. (If you need proof of this, just look around — or consider that after several generations of progressive public schooling, the leading nation of this era voluntarily wedged itself into a choice between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.)

Don’t listen to the teachers. Blame them!

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