Not a day passes without mothers and fathers rebelling against left-wing indoctrination of their children at school. Like magma erupting through the Earth’s crust, superheated parental anger is cracking the natural disinclination of ordinary people to speak up on controversial issues. Videos of parents confronting an education establishment that has been entirely captured by the radical Left are going viral so often that they’ve become a new social media genre, as Max Eden noted in the Washington Examiner magazine.
This is a counterrevolution that might topple the edifice of left-wing lies about our culture and our country. To switch metaphors, the ideological abuse of schoolchildren might be a bridge too far, the fatal overreach by left-wing bullies. These militants may, as a result, be thwarted in their repellent efforts to make ours a less successful and less admirable nation. They reckoned on ordinary Americans remaining docile, like those proverbial frogs in gradually heated water, but they have probably miscalculated.
Let us hope so.
In Minnesota this month, to cite just one local eruption, a 9-year-old schoolgirl challenged her school board to take down Black Lives Matter posters that festoon the buildings in which she is supposed to be educated, not indoctrinated. Reading a statement evidently written with her parents’ help, the girl denounced the board’s mendaciousness and hypocrisy, which had guided its decision not merely to allow but to create BLM posters for Lakeville Elementary School. The girl had asked her principal to remove the posters, which violated the board’s stated policy of “no politics in school.” He refused, telling her the posters were made by the board itself.
Such single examples or even a string of them cannot capture the nationwide scope of the uprising that has begun against extreme-left machinations and hypocrisy. It does not evoke the full fury of parents whose reasonable hopes for their children’s learning are being betrayed by arrogant administrators and teachers.
How did the woke militants blunder so badly? Why is this the leafy suburban hill that parents have chosen to die on? One might argue that egregious radicalism was already infecting and corroding many other areas of American life. What made education differently?
The answer, surely, is that when ideological clashes are about more remote matters, such as taxes or welfare programs, it is easier to pretend that they are harmless. Sure, they are costly and misguided but paying for them without making a fuss can be regarded as the price of a quiet life. It’s not that way with children, though. Parents do not see their sons’ and daughters’ flourishing as in any way theoretical or at arm’s length. Indeed, no subject is closer to them. Most people can live with busybodies messing up policy. But mess with their children, and you’ve woken the Kraken.
At that point, parents abandon their desire for a quiet life, set aside their usual practice of leaving politics to others. It’s for their children, after all, that they are most conspicuously willing to abandon what they think of as their dearest principles. How many people say in good faith that they believe in equality of opportunity? Is it 80%, 90%, or more? But it isn’t true. When it comes to children, we want to give them every advantage we can. All those music and dance lessons, the tedious taekwondo classes, the SAT prep, the networking to land internships? These are not efforts to create equal opportunity but to push our children ahead.
So, when schools run by militants and right-on, do-gooding, soft socialist Democrats inject their corrosive falsehoods into the school curriculum, parents know that the revolution has come for their sons and daughters. Parents care for their children as individual people, more dear to them than anything else. And they know that the ideologues don’t. On this subject, parents have been left without the usual choice between flight and fight. The cultural revolution is now in all our faces. We can’t escape it, so we have to confront it. Ordinary Americans may not be interested in left-wing ideology, but they’ve learned the hard way that left-wing ideology is interested in them and their children.
Critical race theory, today’s most fashionable and pernicious orthodoxy, is about ideological reeducation, not about real education. Its originators admit that it is revolutionary in intention and practice. It aims to overthrow the liberal order, to displace rational analysis with passionate advocacy, to dragoon the next generation into a movement designed to destroy the institutions, the culture, the wealth, and the success of America.