Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Parental Choice

In fifth grade, my teacher gave an example of disinformation. There was a competition, he said, between a Soviet-made car and an American one. The American won. Russia’s newspaper, Pravda, reported an international contest between cars, in which the Soviet car came in second, while the American finished next to last. In Russian, “Pravda” means “truth.” Which it was.

In a local school board race, a candidate’s campaign website featured pictures of a cute, blond, white girl-child and a kimono-wearing (because that’s what they wear) Japanese girl of similar age. “Blaming her for slavery,” it said, referring to the former, “Is like blaming her (the latter) for Pearl Harbor.” Also true. Even though no one is.

Presuming voter ignorance, “Take Critical Race Theory out of our public school system,” was the concluding tagline. It’s not in it, but that’s not the point, either. Republicans cooked up a vote-getting hot-button lie; one that fits snugly behind a forehead, the extraction of which requires too many words for Trumpic consumption. It worked

Riding the wishful whirlwind even further, they’re now campaigning on parents’ right to decide what their children learn in public schools. Likely, it won Virginia’s governorship for Glenn Youngkin. Brilliant. As not-brilliant as Terry McAuliffe’s summary dismissal of the idea. Yet again, a proper response requires more thought than Trumpists prefer. 

Nevertheless, it deserves credible conversation from both sides, not that such a thing exists anymore. Let’s consider it anyway.

Can we agree that societies have a stake in what’s taught in schools; maybe, even, that societies’ needs outweigh those of interest groups? We’ve already seen a sample of Soviet subterfuge. It should be obvious that having nothing but mis- or uninformed citizens opens the door to tyranny. Throughout history, nascent dictators have crossed that transom to little resistance. Others, home-grown, are still trying.

On the other hand, at least theoretically, in a democratic republic the people’s voice is controlling. Or was, pre-McConnell, pre-Foxotrumpism. We presume the people pushing parental power over pedagogy will predominate in political polling. They’re on it already – Republicans are as good at disingenuous messaging as Democrats are bad at it. So how do they propose it should work? They don’t. What’s important is that it inflames superficial thinkers and scores votes. 

Consider a state in which parents would have a say in public school curricula. How much of a say? In what subjects? All parents or chosen ones? Should it be the loudest shouters at school board meetings? Or would there be a parental committee? Selected how, and by whom? Will particular qualifications be required?

Would there be a list of books to be allowed, or banned, subject to popular vote? Who makes the list? What consideration is given to parents who disagree?

How about words? The aforementioned school board candidate said “equity” is a divisive one. Should every parent have the right to tell teachers what their individual children may and may not hear? Or should it be by majority vote of the classrooms’ parents? How, specifically, would this terrific idea work?

In some red states, where, ironically, so-called “liberal cancel culture” is bandied, banning words is under consideration. “Racist” has been suggested. Texas’ governor wants to remove from school libraries any books that any parent claims causes “discomfort.” (Remember “snowflakes?”)

So, if they don’t want their kids reading about slavery, no kids can? What about evolution? Or Jonas Salk, Susan B. Anthony, John Ross? Tulsa? Elvis? Is enforced ignorance good for our country, or, like wearing masks, doesn’t caring about community matter?

Teaching America’s history, unvarnished, is the primary source of rightwing outrage. Science, too. Will Trumpic states produce only kids who are clueless about how and by what means America’s ethics and laws have evolved? Or about science; unable, unwilling, uninterested in knowing what’s real? Other than Republican politician, for what occupation would they be equipped? And let’s not even think about sex education. 

Leave it to liberals, though, to go to their own ridiculous extremes. Consider a proposal in California, where woke is oke. Addressing the gap in math scores, which is real, serious, and a threat to us all, they’d stop identifying gifted children – even suggesting there’s no such thing. Rather than provide accelerated education, they’d have those kids spend time helping the strugglers. Make math “socially responsible.” The consequences for all students and for society are so obvious it’s amazing it was proposed. 

"Sister Sarah (she/her) has five organic, pesticide-free, socially-distanced apples in a hemp basket. How many…" 

That’s why Democrats, despite truly good intentions, lose elections. And why Republicans, despite truly bad ones, win. 


  1. Thanks Drumpf for allowing us to say Merry Memorial Day! again.

  2. This is a great, excellent, dead on the nuts right kind of article. "White Appeasement" is the theme. Here's a clip from the article.

    The Opinions Essay
    Opinion: Have Democrats reached the limits of White appeasement politics?

    But the questions of if, when and how Democrats pursue White appeasement politics have always been contested within the party. And right now, that debate is perhaps more relevant than ever before.

    Certainly, there is a real case that Democrats need to prioritize wooing White voters — and by whatever means necessary. The Republican Party is growing increasingly radical, raising the stakes for the country in the 2022 and 2024 elections. Even as the United States becomes more racially diverse, White Americans remain about 70 percent of voters overall and make up an even larger bloc in key swing states such as Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Democrats can’t win presidential elections or control of the Senate if they lose too many White voters to the GOP.

    At the same time, the limits and dangers of Democratic White appeasement are serious and substantial. Past policies adopted by party leaders to appeal to White voters have hurt people of color in deep and lasting ways. And many of those moves didn’t actually attract many White voters, either. Centering White voters now could push the Democrats away from a recent positive trajectory that includes increasingly embracing candidates of color and aggressive efforts to address racial inequality. Further, such a shift might not even be necessary. In 2020, Democrats won the House, Senate and presidency with their coalition of people of color and White Americans with more progressive views on racial issues.

    Look for it, and you can see that many debates within today’s Democratic Party are at core about how much the party must appease moderate and conservative White people vs. how far those same Whites can be pushed to accept the goals and aspirations of people of color before switching their votes to Republicans.

    The nomination of Joe Biden, a White man in his 70s, was in many ways a concession to America’s White majority — but he was a package deal that also included the Black and Indian American Kamala D. Harris, and later the most racially diverse Cabinet ever and an administration that regularly consults with the young and diverse “Squad” in the House.

    Go incognito mode to read:

  3. This is 2014...There's a reason for the great resignation.
    Everyone needs to understand the economy and how it operates.

    Permanently Temporary: The Truth About Temp Labor

  4. "Floyd’s murder in May 2020 set off a more intense drive to confront systemic racism directly. But critics, including President Donald Trump, argued these lessons cast all White people as oppressors and all people of color as victims. Spurred on by activists such as Christopher Rufo, Trump labeled any effort by schools to address systemic racism as critical race theory, which is not taught by any K-12 systems but does take as its starting point that racism is baked into American institutions."

    This is one way it's "baked in"...

    Aug 20, 2021

    The Murderous Police Gangs of Los Angeles

  5. Chuck on MTP Daily...I can't believe they aired this.

    All this dude did was vote for roads and bridges. No CRT, nuthin'...Just infrastructure, like they wanted and they got.

    Now let's pass the accompanying bill of 1.75 Trillion. Yeah right, that's really gonna happen? lolol...Fools

    1. Don't watch Chucklehead Todd anymore. Your brain will rot.

  6. Oooopsie Daisy! The violence can also go against "RINO" types. They'll retire to a cushy gig lobbying. No worries.

    ‘Traitor’: GOP Rep Who Voted For Infrastructure Gets Death Threat Voicemail

  7. I'm back! I had a last-minute, non-emergency trip to Santa Rosa to give my dining room furniture to my sister. Long story, I won't bore you, but I had an adventure.

    Sid, please extend congrats to your wife on winning her re-election. My inexpert guess is that some of this textbook/ verbiage/ ideology malarky will be surfacing in lovely Mukilteo. It may come up in Everett too, but I don't think the Everett Public Schools will put up with it. There was some shocking video yesterday taken at a Virginia (can't remember which town) school board where two members were talking about burning books. Sweet. Those authors can expect their sales to increase, I hope.

    Best news of the day is that Pigpen Bannon has been indicted. Penalties are up to one year in jail for each count, if he's found guilty. Perhaps the avalanche of indictments is beginning with this one snowball? Let's hope.

  8. Robert Reich: Manchin’s Inflation Argument “Absurd” | Zerlina.

  9. Union Busting: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

  10. Republican Party Is Becoming Armed Insurgency In U.S. Says Malcolm Nance

  11. I join Smooth and MEH in congratulating Dr. Sid's wife on her victory in Mukilteo's election. Grass roots elections are being targeted by "trumplicans" and they must be vigorously confronted by all democracy loving citizens. We outnumber them nationally by at least 30% .

    1. Thanks to all three of you! 30% was her margin of victory, matter of fact. But whereas "we" may outnumber "them" by that much, the game is rigged so that minority has all the power in many, if not most, states. Enough to keep the majority defeated.

    2. yeah...The Gerrymandering is frightening. GA. will never be a blue state again. Too bad too. It's actually a blue state but Gerrymandering has kept it Red.

  12. Replies
    1. She got mad and left the pitch when I took exception to the way she said something or other. Don't remember what. Can't say whether she lurks or not, but she swore off commenting.

    2. Yeah, ks mentioned something passive aggressively semi-derogatory about me as well before ghosting the blog again. Nothing new. Same criticisms which do have some merit. But not on the basis ks presents.

      I am not a bully, I am the anti-bully. I am kind hearted to a fault sometimes. But I never mince words and I usually have some pretty well thought out reasons for why I have a strong opinion that's worded pretty prickly once in a while. But, often when talking about life and death I get pretty serious sometimes. Other times it's sarcasm or irony or just to get a laugh by stating something ridiculous.

      Something like more housing for the poor may be a NIMBY issue to one person. A welfare state tax burden to another. Or possibly life and death if you are homeless. Not just from freezing to death. Murdered for your money. Raped and simple suicide once someone loses all hope.

      But most of all it's a place for conversation, debate, or a meeting place among other things in my opinion.

      I just think that someone whose had experience arguing, like a lawyer or a teacher, is less inclined to take it personally given normal circumstances. I think more lineal thinkers like accountants are less inclined to cheerful debate. Engineers are funny creatures. So are military types. Especially the grunts.

      I just happen to have a unique way that I communicate. I am fearless when I am making an argument. I am plain spoken because it's easiest to understand most days to the most people. No other reason. So it comes off sounding rougher than it truly would if we were face to face. Body language and the voice makes all the difference.

      We'd have a face to face discussion using the same words and it'd be a completely different vibe. Once I trust someone I am always fun to be around. I have a ginormous family and it's unanimously me who's most popular. It's just a thing that's a result of my big personality. Some people call it "bragging" because they don't know, and it's really really weird and rare, and I call it fact and so does 3-4 dozen others in the same gene pool. It's always been this way since the day I was born anyway. It's a "thing" in my being a kid or especially a teenager/young adult. I ran away from all that attention for decades. There's just a lot of weight on your shoulders and I didn't want that attention but I just kept getting it from everyone, everywhere. It's hard to explain in short like this. There's an equally ginormous back story for why it all is what it was, and still is. People love me or hate me. There's never been an in between, ever. Everyone remembers me too. It's just been my life.

      When the book is done everyone who wants a copy will get a free signed copy :O) Just ask and you shall receive. Action Jackson get's the first one :OP

  13. Smooth to the core,

    You are deserving of my admiration as a TRUE patriot and wise commenter on our beloved countries current condition. Count me as brother patriot and friend. Semper fidelis!


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