Joe Ford, of Louisville, Ky., was inspired by Cathy Eads’ Drag-on to recount more reasons why we must not hide under a bushel. If you would like to submit a post to Clearing the Fog, please contact us here.
I knew if I just waited a week or so to respond I would have more fodder, because there is no limit to the pettiness, ignorance, and cruelty of most Republican officials, who hate America and God’s creation so deeply and with such passion.
Let’s start with a first graders’ spring concert in Wisconsin. What could be cuter, right?
Here’s something cuter: first graders singing “Rainbowland” (by Dolly and her goddaughter Miley) about a utopian world that could be possible if people lived in harmony.
It almost makes me tear up just thinking about first graders singing “Chase dreams forever/I know there’s gonna be a greener land/ We are rainbows, me and you/Every color every hue.”
But put that hanky away: administrators decided to ban the song, as it is perceived as “controversial” and might not be “appropriate for the age and maturity level of the students.” WTF? What could possibly be MORE appropriate for first graders? A re-enactment of Sandy Hook? The maturity level of the children is not the issue, but rather the maturity level of the adults.
I’ll add that “Rainbow Connection” (by Kermit the frog) was apparently also banned from the first graders’ spring concert, but was reinstated, no doubt because the administrators feared they would be ridiculed for the buffoons they are.
Really? Rainbows are the issue? Perhaps we should be reminded that rainbows are a sign of the “everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth” (Genesis 9:11–15).
Moving on, but not really. I roughly quote below from an article by Charles Blow of the New York Times (emphasis mine):
An elementary school in St. Petersburg, Florida, stopped showing a 1998 Disney movie about Ruby Bridges, the 6-year-old Black girl who integrated a public elementary school in New Orleans in 1960, because of a complaint lodged by a single parent who said she feared the film might teach children that white people hate Black people. (What? White people hate Black people?)
Ruby, a first grader, had to endure throngs of white racists – adults! – jeering, hurling epithets, spitting at her, and threatening her life. But now a Florida parent worries that it’s too much for second graders to hear, see, and learn about in a considerably toned-down Disney movie.
But of course, the point is not the protection of children but the deceiving of them. And the real point is that a single parent can object to a lesson or book and potentially have it banned. They are foot soldiers in the culture wars. A Toni Morrison book was banned for a rape scene. The Bible has rape scenes. Are we going to ban that?
And moving not very far at all, a principal in Florida (of course) this month was pressured to resign after sixth-graders in his school were shown Michelangelo’s statue of David, a biblical figure no less, and three parents complained. Meanwhile, take no comfort in the promised administrators’ “review process” of these parental complaints, such has been enshrined in law here in Kentucky. There will be no funding for resources to review the hundreds of objections.
So while one individual can squash a book or lesson on the front lines, Republican legislators are establishing an infrastructure to dismantle the American system of government. In Wisconsin, hot on the heels of a win by a liberal-leaning judge who will take a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, a new two-thirds Republican majority in the state’s Assembly is talking about its ability to remove that judge—or the governor or anyone else not to their liking.
They likely won’t succeed, but it is the attitude, drunk with power, that is scary. In the wake of the success of abortion protections on ballots across the country, states are rewriting the rules to prevent mere citizens from placing such measures on the ballot. Conservative state houses are stripping Democratic governors of their powers. And duly elected state legislators are being expelled from their offices.
In Tennessee this week, three legislators stood in front of the chamber and joined the chants of citizens in the gallery who were protesting the Republicans’ inaction after the recent slaughter of three nine-year-old students and three of their school’s staff members—in the very city where the state house stands—by a former student wielding three guns. For this transgression against decorum, the Tennessee House expelled the two young Black legislators—but NOT the white legislator who also joined the protest.
That’s right: The Republican legislators took immediate punitive action toward those peaceably protesting the slaughter of innocents but did nothing about gun violence. Oh wait—they did do something: After the murders, members of the legislature who brought up the topic of gun violence…had their microphones shut off! Hence the protesting legislators’ need for a bullhorn to duly represent the will of their constituents.
With the two expulsions, 140,000 citizens of Tennessee lost their representation in the Tennessee House. Did I already say that “Republican legislators are establishing an infrastructure to dismantle the American system of government?” You can’t make this stuff up.
Wait another week and we’ll have more examples. The destruction of a free America is upon us. Our new national religion—hate—is here. Write (lots of) letters to the editor. Show up at a Trans rally. Speak the truth, loudly.
It is a frustrating time. Many have pointed out that assault weapon owners, hypersensitive and maliciously aggressive school critics, historical revisionists, and election deniers and their ilk are in the minority. But they are loud and well-organized, and they vote. In 2019, for the first time ever, I volunteered to go door-to-door encouraging people to vote for Democratic Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear. (He won because of me!)
The lesson we should take from this is that we, too, have to be loud, have to participate, and have to vote. Hang on to hope. Keep an eye on that rainbow.