DeSantis: Make Kids Dumb Again and Gov. Sanders: Duh, What He Said
Santos: GOP's Walking Ethics Violation, Ohio: Block the Vote, David Crosby: Icon of the Times & More
There is some truly villainous behavior in this week’s newsletter by some truly villainous people. Sadly, these same people—Ron DeSantis and George Santos, for example—have appeared previously. I would like to be done with them and never mention them or think about them again. Some would say that when the media keeps giving them attention, we only encourage their evil deeds, since it’s attention that they crave.
But that is naive. They crave power, which brings money, which is their only endgame. If they had any awareness of history, they would know that their legacy will not be as great statespersons who have elevated the country and preserved freedom. They will be studied in the future as tyrants, racists, and anti-democratic grifters. Trump’s legacy is already wilting in the sunlight of time and reason as some of his followers sheepishly realize they were duped. Like when the town sheriff talks down a screaming lynch mob by shaming them for betraying their morals to feed their rage. They slink off muttering, “Sorry, Sheriff.” Laster, they will deny they were even part of the group.
We, the people, make villainy possible by smugly ignoring it when it starts, arrogantly dismissing it as it grows, and foolishly giving up as it chokes the air from our beliefs. We have to keep shining the flashlight on these insects as they scurry about trying to convince us they’re dragons when they’re really just cockroaches.
Education: Propaganda Terrorism
A Primer on How to Dumb Down Our Children
On November 30, 2021, I wrote a Substack article “Critical Race Theory Wants to Marry Your Sister” in which I discusses how CRT doesn’t really exist in public education, yet it has become the modern version of a snipe hunt. Republicans whip the fearful public into frothing hysteria over a non-existent creature. It’s basically propaganda terrorism: scaring people to make them more pliable to their will.
What saddens me is that it’s more than a year since my article and the same ploy is still being used—“There’s a terrible monster coming for you and your children, which only I can stop.”—and it’s still working! The public is no better informed of this sham than before. America, how often does Uncle Benny snatch a nickel from your ear before you get that there’s not really a nickel in your ear?
The following two stories should scare you because this isn’t just performance politics in which they virtue signal in order to please the baseless beliefs of their base. This is a slow-motion assault on education, an effort to turn back the clock to the ‘50s when brainwashing children into button-downed clones was all the rage. What we learned in ‘60s and ‘70s was that all that diversity in studies brought about a cultural and scientific renaissance in America. We flourished economically and culturally.
The only people who fear education are those who know learning makes people harder to control through threats and blustering. Naturally, they want to dumb it down in order to dumb down our children. The saddest part: parents are letting them do it. It’s intellectual child abuse.
As we watch with horror as the Taliban ban education for women in Afghanistan, we shouldn’t feel too smug or superior. Censoring education so we produce only conservatives is pretty much the same thing.
DeSantis Blocks AP African-American Studies Course for Breaking Florida’s Anti-CRT Law (The Daily Beast)
SUMMARY: “Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has rejected a College Board request to approve an African-American Studies course in his state on the grounds that the course violates state law, according to a report. The Advanced Placement (AP) program, of which a pilot has been launched, was reportedly rejected by DeSantis’ administration in a letter to the College Board from the Florida Department of Education’s Office of Articulation. The rejection letter dated Jan. 12 said ‘as presented, the content of this course is inexplicably contrary to Florida law and significantly lacks educational value,’ according to National Review. The letter reportedly added: “in the future, should College Board be willing to come back to the table with lawful, historically accurate content, FDOE will always be willing to reopen the discussion. DeSantis’ controversial ‘Stop W.O.K.E. Act,’ signed into law last April, aimed in part to combat the teaching of critical race theory in Florida.”
MY TAKE: I remember the struggles in the ‘60s and ‘70s to get colleges and universities to offer African American studies courses. At the time, most people didn’t think it was a legitimate course of study. To them, Black history and culture was just slavery, pimps, and tap dancing. What more was there to say after day one?
That was the point: to broaden our children’s knowledge of and respect for a people who were nearly invisible in their history books and on their TV and movie screens (except for White-approved stereotypes). And to reclaim a cultural identity for Black students eager to learn about their own heritage.
I don’t understand how a state like Florida, which is 46.7% non-White (53.3% Non-Hispanic White) allows the whitewashing of ethnic history and culture. Florida has one of the largest Black populations in the country, but Blacks are still being treated as insignificant in education. This can only happen with the approval of other non-White groups.
I also don’t see how DeSantis has any expertise in how AP courses should be run and what has “educational value.” Should he also be telling physics instructors which formulas are relevant? DeSantis has made it clear that he’s embracing the old racist saying of the ‘60s: “If you’re White, you’re alright; if you’re Black, get back.”
FYI: Here are a few famous people with degrees in Black Studies:
Michelle Obama: the former first lady minored in African American Studies at Princeton University.
Mae Jemison: this NASA astronaut received a B.A. in Afro-American Studies from Stanford University.
Angela Bassett: the award-winning actress has a B.A. in African American Studies from Yale University.
Aaron McGruder: the creator of the popular comic strip The Boondocks earned a B.A. in African American Studies from the University of Maryland, College Park.
Gloria Naylor: National Book Award Winner for The Women of Brewster Place has an M.A. in Afro-American Studies from Yale University.
Further Reading: “Outcry Grows After DeSantis Rejects AP African-American Studies Course (Daily Beast),” “Florida Rejects A.P. African American Studies Class” (NYT)
“Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis seeks information on transgender university students” (New York Daily News)
“Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration is seeking information on university students who have sought gender-affirming treatment, according to a survey released Wednesday.
“In a request sent to 12 state universities, top officials with the Republican governor requested data on the number of students who have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria or who have received treatment in university clinics across the state.”
MY TAKE: Not to be upstaged by Texas attorney general Ken Paxton’s requesting information on transgender people from the Texas Department of Public Safety (which I wrote about a couple weeks ago here), DeSantis wants to make sure we all know he’s just as committed to violating the civil rights of transgender students as he is in shredding the education of all Floridian students.
If his goal is to make transgender students feel threatened, attacked, and not welcome in Florida, he’s succeeding. I wish Floridians would do the same for him.