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A Johnston music teacher called Jake Strachan is advising people to talk politics with family on Thanksgiving. And if there ends up being no hope, he encourages people to cut close family members out of their life.

“‘Respecting your elders’ has to come with an agreement that they will also respect your basic right to exist – to live, to work, to love,” he wrote. “‘Well I was born in a different generation’ is just code for ‘Back then, I could say and do whatever the (f-word) I wanted, because I’m white, cisgender, heterosexual, able-bodied and Christian.’

“‘I don’t like to get political’ is just code for, ‘My white privilege allows me to sail through life without any governmental decision actually affecting my daily life.’ EVERYTHING is affected by political (in)actions!”

Strachan wrote that conversations in intimate settings like family get-togethers are way more effective than political ads, campaign mailers and door-knocking efforts.

“Call out Fox News-fueled talking points,” he wrote. “Call out hateful rhetoric. TELL THEM you value equity and social justice, and explain exactly why.”

He said if “we continue to allow ignorant comments and attitudes to go unchecked, it’s over.”

“There’s no, ‘but booth (sic) sides are bad!’ when one side only offers ‘thoughts and prayers’ with no real plan to govern. And if there is no hope, you are allowed to cut people out of your life – even close family members. Life is too short.”

Strachan was highlighted during Black History Month for teaching on “Sing a Song,” a book that follows the journey of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” commonly referred to as the black national anthem.

“While music has been called a universal language, every story needs and deserves to be told,” Strachan said. “Classical European traditions carry significance in music education, but so many students find more of themselves in stories like this. We’ve had some great discussions about family, culture, social issues, and the role music plays in documenting all of our unique journeys.”

Strachan’s Thanksgiving approach seems to be a popular approach among educators. Other folks who work at school districts and reacted positively to the post include:

Lynn Chambers Knudson (West Des Moines Community Schools)

Rozlyn Wirtz (West Des Moines Community Schools)

Olivia Chiles (Pleasant Valley Community School District)

Lydia Schettler (Former music teacher at Kuemper Catholic, currently listed as Pre-K Music Makers Class instructor at Plymouth United Church of Christ)

Jen Worthington

Robbie Robinson (West Des Moines Schools)


  1. We come from a musical family and my kids dislike his class. No class control, he yells at them and has made comments. Should not be teaching kids.


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