The politicization of public education is nothing new but there has been a clear increase in the style and type of propaganda put out by the Regressive Left since the election of Donald Trump. In one sense, it’s hilarious because it shows a latent impotence, a reaction by virtue signaling that accomplishes little beyond the signalers feeling good about themselves. These people seem, for the most part, bitter and unhappy; it’s almost the sine qua non of being a leftist.
On the other hand, this ramped up agitprop is appalling in who it excludes: everyone who doesn’t share the adults-in-charge politics of open borders and moral relativism. Signs touting the banal message “all are welcome here” have recently popped up at Hopkins Junior High and other schools around the metro area. While not strictly political, they are strictly of a piece with the failed progressive agenda that was comprehensively rejected by America in the last election.
These signs are a small cottage industry of moral preening, as a quick visit to the company’s website shows. You can purchase a “pet bandana” so even your dog or cat can virtue signal, which is really just them making you look good, you special thing you. Naturally, ten percent of the profits are donated to the ACLU and another ten percent to Transforming Families (get it?). Only families don’t need to be transformed, they need to be defended from this nonsense.
Remember: Democrats were turned out of elected office in record numbers during the abysmal presidency of Barack Obama. The refusal of Americans to send the corrupt Clintons back to the White House is an ongoing source of rage and petulance in the media and other elite institutions no longer able to influence the majority in this country. Consequently, we see skirmishes on the margins, where the defeated have retreated but also where they have long held sway. That much, at least, hasn’t changed since November.
Public education, on the whole, does a terrible job educating children. More concerned with cheesy social justice tropes and enabling a sense of victimhood at a young age, graduates are ignorant to the point of illiteracy. This is fine by those who do the programming. Somewhere Saul Alinsky is smiling.
* * * *
“All Are Welcome Here” is the secular apotheosis of what Dietrich Bonhoeffer called “cheap grace.” It asks nothing, implies nothing and requires nothing. Catholic theology has a term “invincible ignorance,” by which the Church means someone who has not heard the message of salvation through no fault of their own. Myself a non-believer in any of the Abrahamic faith traditions (Simone Weil called the Old Testament “a tissue of horrors”), I’m repeatedly struck by the religious overtones of the Regressive Left. True, they mostly consist of the Pharisaical but the Pharisees by definition were religious. Liberals channel religion. They just don’t know it.
So it is with these insipid signs. No judgment, no barriers, no nothing. We’ve arrived at a society sufficiently dumbed down to think that making any judgment is being judgmental. But the goal of any genuine education, any real learning, is precisely to make judgments. What makes great art? A great painting or sculpture? Why are the surviving fragments of Sappho still read, still treasured? What is it within certain novels of any language that makes them endure, even in translation? Why does Shakespeare continue to speak to the whole of Mankind? Why is most modern art of any genre garbage?
* * * *
More prosaically, these signs are designed to put a false narrative onto “the other,” to suggest that wanting a merit based immigration system that won’t turn America into the Third World, wanting a return to economic policies that favor those who have long been neglected by both parties, wanting something other than the corrosive policies of self-hatred that have captured the modern Democratic Party, is something akin to original sin. Fortunately, baptism in the form of mindless sloganeering is readily at hand.
“All are welcome here” until a student walks in with a MAGA hat or a Trump tee shirt. We’ve seen this proven true countless times in numerous school districts since last November 8. The “all” comes with a hidden definition: people just like us, no heterodox thinking allowed. To not think like them is to be guilty of Wrong Think, which is to say, to be guilty of baseless accusations of any number of “isms.”
We should not tolerate this intolerance. Schools have no business advancing the political agenda of their liberal teachers and administrators. True, it might be too late to turn this particular tide but we should at least go down swinging. We won, after all, and it is they, not us, who are on the run. Them exploiting easily manipulated children only proves the case.
* * * *
Parents of public school children need to put an end to this but they’re already busy raising those children and making ends meet. Those of us whose children are grown, or who may have never had children but still care deeply about the culture, need to help tamp down this over politicization of our schools. The task is daunting but the incoming tide does seem to be with us in the election of President Trump. He can be all things to people or only some. But one thing he should be, in the fight against Cultural Marxism, is an example.
Trump is a political and cultural talisman, one that comes around only rarely. Anyone right of center would be foolish to squander this opportunity and not use that influence to push back against the forces that seek to destroy our country as founded. The stakes last November could hardly have been higher. But without following through, we may as well not have won.
* * * *
In addition to Alpha News, John Gilmore is also a contributor to The Hill. He is the founder and executive director of Minnesota Media Monitor.™ He blogs at MinnesotaConservatives.org and is on Twitter under @Shabbosgoy. He can be reached at Wbua@nycunarjfza.pbz