Sen. Josh Hawley is proposing the “Love America Act” in the GOP’s latest bid to fight the teachings of critical race theory.
Hawley, a staunch opponent of the philosophy, said his legislation would combat the “misinformation the Left is spreading” that the United States is “a racist country” that’s “systemically evil.”
“That’s not true. This is a great nation. We’re a nation of liberators. It’s time to reclaim that and to teach our children who we are, who they are, and that’s why my bill would say, ‘Listen: If a school district gets federal money, you’ve got to teach the basic truth about the country, [such as] the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Declaration, [and] the Pledge of Allegiance,” he told Fox’s Tucker Carlson Thursday night. “These are the things, the documents, that express the ideals that unite us as Americans. You’ve got to replace the lies with the truth, and that’s what I’m trying to do.”
Republicans have expressed opposition to critical race theory, which holds that the U.S. is inherently racist and that skin color is used to create and maintain social, economic, and political inequalities between whites and nonwhites, saying that the philosophy relegates all white people to the role of oppressors and all people of color to that of victims.
Earlier this month, Sen. Tom Cotton, another vocal opponent of the theory, opened an investigation into defense contractor Raytheon’s use of training materials that promote critical race theory, which he accused of “containing gross stereotypes about various groups, including the racial stereotype that black people as a group are ‘exhausted, frustrated, stressed, barely sleeping, scared, and overwhelmed’ … and white people, Christians, able-bodied individuals, straight people, and English speakers, as members of ‘privileged’ groups who have ‘the luxury to ignore … injustices.'”
House Republicans questioned Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin about critical race theory in a June 23 House Armed Services Committee hearing after reports revealed that it and adjacent concepts such as “systemic racism” and “white rage” have been part of course curricula at the U.S. Military Academy.
“This type of teaching, that is rooted in Marxism, that classifies people along class lines, an entire race of people as oppressor and oppressed. I cannot think of anything more divisive and more destructive to unit morale,” said Florida Rep. Michael Waltz, who is himself a former Green Beret.
Austin acknowledged some critical race theory materials may be required reading in some courses but drew a distinction between assigning reading materials and embracing the philosophy.
“This is not something that the United States military is embracing and pushing and causing people to subscribe to,” he replied. “Now, whether or not this was some sort of critical examination of different theories, I don’t know.”
Some on the Left have been outwardly supportive of the theory, with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez saying teachers must become “fluent in how to dismantle racism.”
“Critical race theory is not taught in elementary school. It is barely taught in law schools, frankly, in the level that it should be taught,” she said Monday. “We know that Republicans have started to now use these laws curtailing critical race ‘curriculum,’ that’s not even being taught in the first place, as a proxy to saying we can’t teach anything about race in our schools beyond just some of the most minimal, minimal, minimal facts.”
Six states have restricted critical race theory and related concepts or countered them with alternatives, while three left-leaning states have considered or passed measures affirming or requiring instruction in the theory or its related concepts.