Talk about a breath of fresh air. Greg Sargent and Paul Waldman of the Washington Post have put together a terrific piece on the “backlash to the backlash,” specifically the bat$hit anti-gay, book banning nonsense in the State of Florida. Tuesday night in Hernando County, educators let right-wing parents have it. They can’t teach under conditions like they’ve been asked to. Enough is enough and that line was passed long ago. Now things are in overkill.
“I have never seen such fear from my colleagues as I have seen in the last two months,” social studies teacher Victoria Hunt told the board.
The whole affair really put the culture-war-mongers to shame. Not that they’ll see it that way; as the meeting also showed, scenes like this — with maximum rage, fear, tension and suspicion surging between parents and educators — are precisely the outcome they want. […]
Meanwhile, Alyssa Marano, a math teacher who has resigned, rejected the oft-heard charge of LGBTQ indoctrination of students. “No one is teaching your kids to be gay,” she told the room. “Sometimes, they just are gay. I have math to teach. I literally don’t have time to teach your kids to be gay.”
Thank you Ms. Marano. Finally, the voice of common sense. A 50-minute class can only convey so much material.
Nearly 50 teachers are reportedly planning to resign in this school district. Lisa Masserio, president of the teachers union in Hernando County, says state laws and directives restricting educators are a key reason. She told us: “There is increased pressure and scrutiny on an already difficult job.”
At the meeting, right-wing parents and a minority of the school board amplified the usual attacks: Pornography in classrooms, indoctrination, wokeness. Watching them, it was impossible to avoid the sense that they were relishing every second of the tumult they’ve unleashed.
This is exactly what’s going on. This is deliberate. Franklin Graham has openly declared that the school boards are the place to start a right-wing, theocratic takeover. Read this Fox News article where Graham intones, “the school board member is the most important elected official in America.”
“Our educators have taken God out of schools. Our politicians have taken God out of politics. Our nation is not better [for it]. Our nation is worse,” he said. […]
We need Christian men and women on school boards who can take control of their communities,” he said.
“All of this trash and all of this filth that the left is pushing on our students — that can be turned around if Christian men and women ran for school boards.”
There you have it from the horse’s mouth. And Graham didn’t dream this up. Pat Robertson started talking about this in the 1980’s and Mike Pence got right on board. There is a theocratic plan to take over America and you need to know about its roots, because DeSantis is on board for this, too. A lot of people thought the idea of a theocratic takeover was nuts then. Little did they know that 40 years later the so-called Christians would be going after the Little Mermaid for being black and a power-crazed governor would allow Nazi-esque book banning — to be followed by Nazi-esque book burning, I have no doubt.
These people are a menace to education, not the salvation of it, and that point was made at the Tuesday meeting.
At the meeting, Shannon Rodriguez — a favorite of the right wing Moms for Liberty that led the attack on the Disney movie episode — kept robotically repeating phrases like “woke ideologies” and “woke agenda,” not even slightly disturbed by any sense of obligation to define their meaning. She proudly brandished her solidarity with boycotts of Bud Light and Disney as a badge of anti-woke heroism. Another conservative parent practically shouted, “You have awakened the entire alpha male blood of this country!”
But the real story of the night was the response. Again and again, parents and students forcefully defended teachers. They cast the right’s attacks, the censoring of educators and the removal of books as the real threats to education.
“War on woke?” one student said pointedly. “More like war on your children’s future.”
“It’s me and my fellow students who are feeling the effects of this,” said a second student. A third said the removal of books from classrooms is what’s really “indoctrinating students.”
The situation is desperate. And desperate times call for desperate measures. This will gladden your heart.
Things like this are happening all over. As Sarah Jones of New York magazine reports, liberal parents in states as far-flung as New York, North Carolina and Montana are organizing local groups, pressuring school boards and running for office to challenge the right’s education takeover.
As Graham correctly identified, the office of school board member is key. And it is fittingly ground zero of the culture war right now.