Archives for category: Extremism

As the culture wars heat up, the number of new “parent” groups has expanded. One is called Moms for Liberty. Peter Greene explains who they are and what they want? They say they believe in parents’ rights, but they only support certain parents.

Greene writes:

As folks in Florida–the steaming petri dish in which Moms for Liberty originally grew–it’s important to remember the third founding member of the group.

“Founded in January 2021 by Tiffany Justice and Tina Descovich, Moms for Liberty” is the pretty standard version of their one-line origin story. Descovitch and Justice make a fine pair of faces for the group–two moms who ran for their school boards, won once, and then once they had a track record, were rejected by voters a second time.

M4L took a few months to find their footing, aka the issues that they could use to fire folks up. They got into the game by flogging masks, but quickly circled around to “CRT” panic, ferreting out naughty books, and anti-union grievance, all under the umbrella of parental rights. They added a seasoned PR pro in Quisha King (former regional coordinator of Black Voices for Trump), and they also moved pretty quickly to mute the involvement of the third founding Mom.

That’s Bridget Ziegler. Ziegler squeaked out a victory for Sarasota School Board in 2018. Ron DeSantis thinks she’s swell. And she’s married to Christian Ziegler, who just decided not to run for re-election to a county commissioner seat because he’ll be busy helping his wife and DeSantis each run their own campaigns (that and new rules that would have made it harder for him to win). Ziegler has some other gigs as well– vice chairman of the Republican Party of Florida and head of his consulting firm Microtargeted Media LLC.

Christian Ziegler told the Washington Post that he has been “trying for 20- and 30-year old females involved with the Republican Party, and it was a heavy lift to get that demographic. But now Moms for Liberty has done it for me.” That was in October of 2021, when Ziegler’s involvement had gone quiet; Tim Craig at WaPo reported that Ziegler’s wife was “loosely” connected to M4L–not that she was a co-founder of this group that emerged to accomplish just what Ziegler had long searched for a tool to accomplish.

Christian Ziegler’s Microtargeted Media (“We do digital and go after people on their phones”) was a big player in the 2020 Florida race, on the ground for Trump and other GOP candidates. He pulled in $300K from a Trump-related PAC. He was once a Heritage Foundation Fellow. He’s buddies with Corey Lewandowski. He appears to be behind the Protect Wyoming Values PAC (a Trump anti-Liz Cheney proxy), Governor Kristi Noem’s election integrity website, and a bunch of other conservative Trump-backing websites. You may remember Andrew Pollack, the Parkland parent who came out against gun control and in favor of hardening the target, getting an invite to Trump’s White House among other places. How did he get such big exposure so quickly? Let Pollack explain himself:

Just days after the Parkland shooting, Christian with Microtargeted Media reached out and offered to help guide me with my communications, press relations and he launched my social media outreach channels, giving me a vital distribution channels to get my message out. Christian also helped connect me with his network of elected leaders, so that I could advocate for and eventually pass school safety legislation. This was all done pro-bono and simply because he had a passion to help.

In November of 2021 he was telling Breitbart about the shift in Florida’s GOP-Dem balance because pro-freedom conservatives were flocking to Florida out of love for the Trump-DeSantis wing of the party, damping down the Democratic majority (so, sometimes replacement is good, I guess). His critics have called him an “empty-suit candidate” backed by developers’ dark money.

All this for a guy who, in 2017 at the age of 29, was a “30 under 30 rising star of Florida politics.” In that interview he told an admittedly cool story about meeting GW Bush on a plane at age 9, and opined about the importance of integrity and honesty in politics. He particularly admired business owners turned elected officials, like Medicare fraudster Rick Scott (so, wiggle room on that integrity and honesty thing).

Point is, Bridget Ziegler is married to a well-connected guy who would like to bag some votes for GOP candidates.

Moms For Liberty is very much a GOP joint. There was a time when they tried to lay claim to bipartisnaship; not so much these days. And they’re backing is for partental rights, but Florida-style, as in all parents have rights to make choices about their children’s education as long as the choices are acceptable. Parents should not be free to choose drag queen shows or Certain Naughty Books or a school with anything carrying the faintest whiff of “CRT” Justice has said that they’re going to “take over” school boards and then fire everyone and get search firms to find new conservative leaders.

I’ve seen choice fans argue “Hey, wait a minute, I thought the idea is parents could choose what they wanted,” and no, that’s not the idea at all, and I can almost feel bad for actual school choice advocates who have hitched their wagon to people like M4L who use the same language to mean something completely opposite. Choice MAGA style means choice only for the Right People– Those Other People over there should have their preferences outlawed.

There is more. Open the link and read on.

The massacre in Highland Park, Illinois, was sickening. And to think that only days ago, our reactionary Supreme Court ruled against gun control. The legislation recently passed by Congress would not have prevented this bloodbath. It will not stop until the ownership and possession of assault weapons are banned, and all are recalled and criminalized.

The Daily Mail in the UK has the best coverage.

On a personal note: as this awful event happened, I was driving my 2004 red convertible decked in American flags in the Southold Town July 4 parade. It was the first time that the VFW had allowed a contingent from North Fork Women for Women to participate. The large crowd lining Main Street was warm and welcoming.

After Highland Park, it seems that no crowd is safe unless they pass through metal detectors. Since the killer fired from a rooftop, there was no safety.

What is happening to the America that we swore allegiance to every day in public school? what happened to the America that was “indivisible, with liberty and justice for all”? How did we get a rogue Supreme Court that recklessly demolishes women’s rights, the separation of church and state, gun control, public safety, and efforts by government to prevent climate disasters? Who kidnapped the conservative Republican Party that believed in stability and tradition? From whence came the people who scorn the commonweal and ridicule Constitutional norms?

Former state legislator Jeanne Dietsch has an answer. Connect the dots by looking at what has happened to New Hampshire. The coup failed in Washington, D.C. on January 6, she writes. But it is moving forward in New Hampshire, with many of the same characters and all of the same goals.

If you read one post today, read this.

She writes:

During the last few weeks, US House leaders documented the nearly successful January 6 coup piece by piece, before our eyes. That personal power grab failed. Meanwhile, the steps clinching takeover of our government by radical reactionaries have nearly triumphed. A plan decades in the making. A plan nearly invisible to the ordinary public.


I can barely believe myself how this story weaves from Kansas to Concord to DC to the fields of southern Michigan over the course of six decades. It starts in Witchita. Koch Industries is the largest privately held company in the US, with over $115 billion in revenues, mostly fossil-fuel related. For many years, two of the founders’ sons, Charles and David Koch, each owned 42% of the company.


The younger, David, studied in the engineering department of MIT for 5 years, simultaneous with young John H. Sununu. Both finished their Master’s degrees in 1963.

1980: THE KOCHS SET THEIR GOALS


Seventeen years later, David Koch ran for Vice President of the US on the Libertarian ticket. The campaign was largely funded by Koch interests. The Libertarian platform of 1980, shown below, may look disturbingly familiar to those following news today.

Open her post to read the Koch Libertarian platform of 1980.

Libertarians demanded the abolition of Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, public schools, aid to children, the Post Office, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy, and more.

The infrastructure for achieving that platform was founded two years later. It was called the Federalist Society. It was a plan by a “small but influential group of law professors, lawyers, and judges.” Its goal?

To train members of their professions to believe in “originalism.” Originalists “strictly construe” the Constitution as they believed the Framers designed it way back in 1787. This matched David Koch’s 1980 platform. It would leave corporations free to do whatever profited them most without regard for social costs or regulations. Older Federalist Society members used their influence to advance their followers to higher judgeships.

SUNUNU FAMILY ROLES


Meanwhile, John Sununu became governor of New Hampshire, then Chief of Staff for President George W. Bush. In that role, John thwarted a plan for the US to join the international conference to address climate change in 1989. Actions like this, that benefitted Koch and the rest of the fossil-fuel industry, would become a hallmark of the Sununu family.


In 1993, an executive of Charles and David’s Koch Industries Michigan subsidiary, Guardian Industries, became a founding trustee of the Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy [JBC] in NH. Its mission was to advance many of the policies listed on David Koch’s platform of 1980. John Sununu, and later his son James, would chair the JBC board through today. Another of Sununu’s sons, Michael, would become a vocal climate denier and industry consultant. Still another, Senator John E. Sununu, would oppose the Climate Stewardship Act of 2003. But the Sununus were not coup leaders, just complicit.

BUILDING INFRASTRUCTURE FOR THE COUP


But let’s jump back to the Federalist Society. Its mission was succeeding. They were stacking the lower courts.?..Those justices hired young lawyers as clerks. From 1996-97, Thomas employed a Federalist Society clerk named John Eastman.


Twenty-three years later, Eastman would meet secretly with President Donald Trump. He would convince him that Vice President Pence could refuse to accept electoral college ballots on January 6. But back in 1999, Eastman became a senior fellow at the Claremont Institute. “The mission of the Claremont Institute is to restore the principles of the American Founding to their rightful, preeminent authority in our national life.”


Now we’re almost at the secret clubhouse of the coup. The Claremont Institute was run by a fellow regressive named Larry Arnn.(Photo below) In late 1999, Arnn was in the process of replacing the president of Hillsdale College because of a scandal that made national news. Hillsdale promotes conservative family values. Yet its leader was having an affair with his daughter-in-law. She committed suicide. Hillsdale was the central hub for Libertarian radicals so they needed a strong leader to pull them out of the mud.

Please read the rest of this fascinating post. There is one blatant error: she refers to “Clarence Thomas and Stephen Breyer” as Koch justices, but Breyer was a liberal justice appointed by Clinton. She must have meant the crackpot Alito.

Democracy cannot exist without free and fair elections.

Democracy depends on the general belief that elections are conducted honestly and that the results are reported honestly.

Since the 2020 Presidential election, Donald Trump has told his followers that the election he lost was fraudulent. Despite dozens of court cases that his team lost because they were unable to produce evidence of fraud, Trump insists that he won in a landslide.

Despite multiple recounts and hand recounts, Trump continues to lie.

Despite the testimony of Trump lawyers that Trump lost, Trump continues to claim he won.

Trump’s campaign of lies is a direct threat to our democracy.

NPR undertook an investigation to assess the influence of four election deniers who work at the local level, spreading propaganda and misinformation.

Every citizen concerned about the health of our democracy should read the NPR report. The election deniers can say whatever they want. It’s a free country.

But the public should know who they are and what they do.

If you want to protect our Constitution and our freedoms, be informed to combat lies with facts.

Dana Milbank wrote a wise analysis of the Trunp Supreme Court’s decisions on abortion and guns, which both threw away precedent and judicial restraint. The Supreme Court is supposed to be a guarantor of stability, law and order. Yet this Court removed restraints on guns even as the nation was reeling from gun violence. And in the Roe decision, it removed a constitutional right—granted 49 years ago— for the first time in history.

Milbank writes:

Nobody should be surprised that the Supreme Court’s conservative justices on Friday jettisoned nearly 50 years of precedent upon precedent in overturning Roe v. Wade. Heck, they didn’t even honor their own precedent articulated 24 hours earlier.


In their opinion Thursday morning forcing New York and other densely populated states to allow more handguns in public, the conservative majority, led by Justice Clarence Thomas, argued that medieval law imposing arms restrictions — specifically, the 1328 Statute of Northampton — “has little bearing on the Second Amendment” because it was “enacted … more than 450 years before the ratification of the Constitution.”


Yet in their ruling Friday morning in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, setting women’s rights back half a century (and cracking the door to banning same-sex marriage and contraception), the conservative justices, led by Samuel Alito (who was also in the guns majority) and joined by Thomas, argued precisely the opposite. They justified abortion bans by citing, among others, “Henry de Bracton’s 13th-century treatise.” That was written circa 1250 and referred to monsters, duels, burning at the stake — and to women as property, “inferior” to men.

The right-wing majority’s selective application of history reveals the larger fraud in this pair of landmark rulings: Their reasoning is not legal but political, not principled but partisan.


Still, there is a commonality to the rulings. Both decisions foment maximum chaos and were delivered with flagrant disregard for the instability and disorder they will cause.


The high court was meant to be the guarantor of law and order. But the conservative justices, intoxicated by their supermajority, have abandoned their solemn duty to promote stability in the law and are actively spreading real-world disruption.

Worse, this invitation to disorder comes as the nation is trying to restore the rule of law after a coup attempt led by a president who appointed three of the five justices in the abortion majority. The spouse of a fourth — Ginni Thomas, Clarence’s wife — aggressively pushed state legislators and the White House to overthrow the election. Yet Thomas, the senior associate justice, has refused to recuse himself from related cases.


After decades of crocodile tears over imagined “judicial activism,” the conservative supermajority has shed all judicial modesty and embraced radicalism. The liberal justices, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Stephen G. Breyer, wrote in their Dobbs dissent that the majority’s brazen rejection of stare decisis, respect for precedent, “breaches a core rule-of-law principle, designed to promote constancy in the law.”


Even Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., who joined the gun ruling, scolded fellow conservatives for blithely overturning the Roe v. Wade super-precedent. “Surely we should adhere closely to principles of judicial restraint here, where the broader path the court chooses entails repudiating a constitutional right we have not only previously recognized, but also expressly reaffirmed,” Roberts wrote. The majority’s “dramatic and consequential ruling is unnecessary,” he said, “a serious jolt to the legal system” that could have been avoided with a narrower decision that would have been “markedly less unsettling.”


Alito, in his (characteristically) sneering opinion in the abortion case, dismissed Roberts as unprincipled and public opinion as an “extraneous” concern. He likewise dismissed the pain the ruling would cause, writing that “this Court is ill-equipped to assess ‘generalized assertions about the national psyche.’ ” He washed his hands of answering the “empirical question” of “the effect of the abortion right … on the lives of women.”

The dissent said the majority’s refusal to address real-world consequences “reveals how little it knows or cares about women’s lives or about the suffering its decision will cause.” It is a “radical claim to power,” the dissent went on, to assert “the authority to overrule established legal principles without even acknowledging the costs of its decisions.”

The liberals described the bedlam to come, with suddenly unanswered legal questions about rape, incest, threats to a mother’s life, interstate travel for abortion, morning-after pills, IUDs, in vitro fertilization. “The majority’s refusal even to consider the life-altering consequences of reversing Roe and Casey is a stunning indictment,” they wrote.

Thomas’s gun ruling was much the same, 63 pages of a cherry-picked history of gun laws, with no concern for the real-life effect of allowing millions of people to carry handguns, with virtually no restriction, in the streets of New York or Los Angeles. Breyer, writing for the same liberal justices in dissent, upbraided the conservative majority for unleashing more guns “without considering the state’s compelling interest in preventing gun violence and protecting the safety of its citizens, and without considering the potentially deadly consequences of its decision.”
Alito added a concurring opinion to express contempt for Breyer’s points about gun violence, saying “it is hard to see what legitimate purpose can possibly be served” by his mentions of mass shootings and growing firearm mayhem.
The radicals have cast off any pretense of judicial restraint. Now the chaos begins.

South Carolina’s public schools, teachers, and students are in for some tough times. Republicans went to the polls and selected a rightwing ideologue as their candidate for state superintendent. Ellen Weaver does not have the master’s degree that state law requires the state chief to have. She has signed up to get a master’s in “Christian Leadership” at Bob Jones University and expects to get her degree in eight months.

Weaver has made her hostility to public schools and professional teachers clear. She (and the SC media) refer to education professionals as “the education establishment.”

Ellen Weaver, president and CEO of the Palmetto Promise Institute, handily defeated teachers advocate Kathy Maness in Tuesday’s GOP primary runoff, a development with potentially major implications for the state’s public schools…

Weaver, who does not currently meet the statutory requirements to hold officebecause she lacks an advanced degree, has cast herself as a bold reformer fighting to eradicate liberal ideologies like so-called critical race theory that she claims are seeping into public education.

“The fight to save our schools is a fight to save that American dream for the next generation,” she said at a debate last week. “If we don’t stand in the gap for our kids and against the wokeism and sexualization agendas that are coming out of Washington, we have lost our country.”

Weaver will face Democrat Lisa Ellis, a Richland 2 teacher and student activities director, in the general election. Ellis, who is best known for founding the grassroots teachers organization SC for Ed, won the Democratic primary outright earlier this month.

Weaver refers to a master’s degree as “letters behind your name.” Presumably, at a better time, when politicians weren’t putting a wrecking ball to public education, they set that qualification there to assure that the state superintendent was an experienced educator, not an ideologue who is contemptuous of the state’s most important public institution.

Sadly, South Carolina got the kind of leader that the law was supposed to bar. Teachers are upset about what happens next, as well they should be.

South Carolina needs a leader who will fight for more funding, especially for its most vulnerable children. If Weaver beats her Democratic opponent, the state will have a leader who dabbles in nonsense about race and gender instead of improving the schools.

If you are a parent, a teacher, or a concerned citizen, help elect Lisa Ellis. She’s a teacher, she has experience, she knows what students need and will fight for it.

Rep. Lauren Boebert, a Trump Republican from Colorado, apparently never took a class in civics, government or history and is an embarrassment to the Congress in which she serves. She won her primary on Tuesday. Boebert is a high school dropout who earned her GED in 2020, according to Wikipedia. She is a born-again Christian and a strident advocate of guns; she and her husband own a restaurant—Shooters Grill in Rifle, Colorado,where staff are encouraged to carry guns. From the following report, which appeared in the Washington Post, it is certain that she is ignorant about the Constitution and the Founding Fathers.

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.)…says she is “tired” of the U.S. separation of church and state, a long-standing concept stemming from a “stinking letter” penned by one of the Founding Fathers.

Speaking at a religious service Sunday in Colorado, she told worshipers: “The church is supposed to direct the government. The government is not supposed to direct the church. That is not how our Founding Fathers intended it.”

She added: “I’m tired of this separation of church and state junk that’s not in the Constitution. It was in a stinking letter, and it means nothing like what they say it does.” Her comments were first reported by the Denver Post.

The Constitution’s First Amendment, which states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” has been widely interpreted to mean the separation of church and state — although the phrase is not explicitly used.


Gwen Calais-Haase, a political scientist at Harvard University, told The Washington Post that Boebert’s interpretation of the Constitution was “false, misleading and dangerous.” Calais-Haase said she was “extremely worried about the environment of misinformation that extremist politicians take advantage of for their own gains.”

Steven K. Green, a professor of law and affiliated professor of history and religious studies at Willamette University, agreed, saying, “Rep. Boebert is wrong on both matters.”


“While the phrase separation of church and state does not appear verbatim in the Constitution, neither do many accepted constitutional principles such as separation of powers, judicial review, executive privilege, or the right to marry and parental rights, no doubt rights that Rep. Boebert cherishes,” wrote Green, the author of “Separating Church and State: A History.”

Voters are not buying the phony claims of the candidates running on platforms against “critical race theory,” not even in conservative counties in Georgia. Thanks to Jennifer Berkshire for this story.

The Georgia Recorder reports on two elections:

Voters in Cherokee and Coweta counties rejected three school board candidates backed by a right-wing federal PAC Tuesday, following similar losses in last month’s primary.

It’s uncommon for political action committees to weigh in on local races, so voters were surprised to open up their mailboxes and find flyers from the 1776 Project PAC endorsing a slate of candidates ahead of the primary.

The PAC is a response to the 1619 Project, a New York Times initiative examining the lingering effects of slavery throughout U.S. history.

The 1619 Project; critical race theory; diversity, equity and inclusion and social and emotional learning have become rallying points for white, conservative parents who say their children are being made to feel guilty for racial injustice.

On its website, the committee describes itself as “dedicated to electing school board members nationwide who want to reform our public education system by promoting patriotism and pride in American history. We are committed to abolishing critical race theory and ‘The 1619 Project’ from the public school curriculum.”

Among the PAC’s endorsees were Cherokee County’s Sean Kaufman, a small business owner, and Ray Lynch, a physician.

Cherokee

The two previously teamed up with fellow 1776 Project endorsees Cam Waters, who works for the Georgia Association of Health Underwriters, and accountant Chris Gregory, styling themselves as 4CanDoMore, a slate for parents who “have been silenced, ignored and belittled.”

“With 4CanDoMore we can have a board majority that asks questions, a board that is transparent and unafraid, a board that reflects the family values of Cherokee County,” reads a statement on their website.

Their goal was to create a majority on the seven-member board to prevent policies they view as divisive, especially critical race theory and diversity, equity and inclusion programs.

The district had plans to hire Cecelia Lewis, a Black principal from Maryland to serve as its first diversity, equity and inclusion administrator, but she decided not to take the offer after watching a raucous meeting in which parents railed against her hiring.

The 4CanDoMore team offered Lewis’ planned hiring as evidence that the board did not consider the desires of parents.

Lewis has said she did not know what critical race theory was at the time and had no plans to incorporate it in her role. Cherokee County has never included the concept, which is typically reserved for higher-education graduate studies, in its curriculum, but the school board approved a resolution to ban it anyway. The state school board went on to impose its own ban on lessons teaching that the United States is racist, and Gov. Brian Kemp signed a bill into law further banning “divisive concepts” regarding racial history. Teachers and administrators have largely said such measures were unnecessary.

Cherokee is a conservative county — nearly 70% of voters there chose Donald Trump in 2020, but their rejection of the 4CanDoMore squad suggests local issues can still trump national culture war arguments, said Jamie Chambers, a writer and Cherokee County resident who opposed the four candidates.

“In my area, Ray Lynch was running against Susan Padget-Harrison, and unlike him, where he came from out of state and was just kind of attacking, she has experience. She has been a teacher. She’s been involved with our school system for decades and has ties to our community,” he said. “And I think, ultimately, that’s the thing that carried the day with voters, people who were connected, that were actually talking about real issues within our schools and not just repeating talking points that don’t apply to us. While we live in a very conservative area, I don’t think that the kind of people who were protesting the hiring of Lewis, who were banging on the windows and doors of the superintendent’s office, those aren’t representative of the voters around here.”

Kaufman lost to Erin Ragsdale, a businesswoman and educator, and Lynch was defeated by Padgett-Harrison, a professor of education at Piedmont College.

In last month’s primary, Waters and Gregory were both defeated by incumbent board members by significant margins.

Coweta

In Coweta, incumbent school board member Linda Menk was ousted by baseball coach Rob DuBose, who received nearly 80% of the vote in the runoff.

Menk received calls for her resignation after she attended the Jan. 6, 2021 rally in Washington that preceded the attack on the U.S. Capitol. Critics also offered a list of insensitive and conspiratorial social media posts as evidence of her unfitness.

She also raised hackles on the board in 2019 for contacting the FBI, allegedly in an attempt to set up colleagues in a non-existent bid-rigging scandal.

Menk said she did not breach the Capitol and was simply expressing her First Amendment right to protest.

She offered no apologies in a school board meeting days after the riot.

“It was not sedition, it was not insurrection,” she said. “I attended a very peaceful rally, one of the most meaningful things that I actually had the privilege of engaging in was a large percentage of the attendees were there who had escaped communist China and had emigrated to this country, and the stories that they told me, basically, the United States was the last hope, it was the last place that they had to go.”

At the same meeting, then-board chair Amy Dees castigated Menk for distracting from the job of supporting students.

“We do have First Amendment rights as board members, but as an elected official, there are consequences for what we post and say,” she said. “Tonight, three board members took an oath of office. That oath of office means something, it means something to me. I uphold that with the utmost of integrity. It saddens me that we are here again and again and again, and it seems to me, Miss Menk, that you’re in the center of that.”

Other Coweta candidates endorsed by the 1776 Project PAC, Maxwell Britton, Megan Smith and Cory Gambardella, fell to board incumbents in the May primary.

ProPublica wrote about a campaign to destroy the reputation of a black educator and their pursuit of her to another district. The white agitators accused her of being an advocate of “critical race theory,” but she didn’t know what it was. That didn’t deter the vigilantes.

In April of 2021, Cecelia Lewis had just returned to Maryland from a house-hunting trip in Georgia when she received the first red flag about her new job.

The trip itself had gone well. Lewis and her husband had settled on a rental home in Woodstock, a small city with a charming downtown and a regular presence on best places to live lists. It was a short drive to her soon-to-be office at the Cherokee County School District and less than a half hour to her husband’s new corporate assignment. While the north Georgia county was new to the couple, the Atlanta area was not. They’d visited several times in recent years to see their son, who attended Georgia Tech.

Lewis, a middle school principal, initially applied for a position that would bring her closer to the classroom as a coach for teachers. But district leaders were so impressed by her interview that they encouraged her to apply instead for a new opening they’d created: their first administrator focused on diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives…

At first, the scope of the role gave Lewis pause. In her current district, these responsibilities were split among several people, and she’d never held a position dedicated to anything as specific as that before. But she had served on the District Equity Leadership Team in her Maryland county and felt prepared for this new challenge. She believed the job would allow her, as she put it, to analyze the district’s “systemic and instructional practices” in order to better support “the whole child.”

“We’re so excited to add Cecelia to the CCSD family,” Superintendent Brian Hightower said in the district’s March 2021 announcement about all of its new hires. (The announcement noted that the creation of the DEI administrator role “stems from input from parents, employees and students of color who are serving on Dr. Hightower’s ad hoc committees formed this school year to focus on the topic.”) Hightower acknowledged “both her impressive credentials and enthusiasm for the role” and pointed out that, “In four days, she had a DEI action plan for us.”

But then a group of white parents decided that Lewis planned to bring “critical race theory” to their district. And they decided to hound her out of her job and out of Georgia.

Dana Milbank is my favorite columnist at the Washington Post. In this column, he responds to the Texas GOP platform, which proposes that the state secede from the US and become a sovereign nation. Milbank says. “Good riddance!” As a native Texan, I’m ashamed for my state, ashamed that it’s been taken over by theocrats and dumbbells.

The Lone Star State does not have the best track record as a sovereign power. The Republic of Texas survived only 10 years from independence to annexation by the United States in 1845. Texas seceded during the Civil War — and, with the rest of the Confederacy, was crushed.


But, as the saying goes: If at first you don’t secede, try, try again. The Texas GOP now wants the state to vote on declaring independence.


And the United States should let Texas go! Better yet, let’s offer Texas a severance package that includes Oklahoma to sweeten secession — the Sooner the better.

Over the weekend, while many Americans were celebrating the 167th anniversary of Juneteenth (when Union Gen. Gordon Granger, in Galveston, Tex., delivered the order abolishing slavery) the Texas Republican Party voted on a platform declaring that federal laws it dislikes “should be ignored, opposed, refused, and nullified.”


The proposed platform (it’s expected to be approved when votes are tallied) adds: “Texas retains the right to secede from the United States, and the Texas Legislature should be called upon to pass a referendum consistent thereto.” It wants the secession referendum “in the 2023 general election for the people of Texas to determine whether or not the State of Texas should reassert its status as an independent nation.”


Yee-haw!


Of course, protections would have to be negotiated for parts of Texas that wish to remain on Team Normal. Dallas, Houston, Austin, San Antonio and parts of South Texas would remain in the United States, and they will need guaranteed safe passage to New Orleans or Santa Fe, along with regular airlifts of sustainable produce, accurate textbooks and contraceptives.

But consider the benefits to the rest of the country: Two fewer Republican senators, two dozen fewer Republican members of the House, annual savings of $83 billion in defense funds that Texas gets. And the best reason? The Texas GOP has so little regard for the Constitution that it is calling for a “Convention of the States” to effectively rewrite it — and so little regard for the United States that it wishes to leave.


In democracy’s place, the Republican Party, which enjoys one-party rule in Texas, is effectively proposing a church state. If you liked Crusader states and Muslim caliphates, you’ll love the Confederate Theocracy of Texas.


The Texas GOP platform gives us a good idea what such a paradise for Christian nationalists would look like. Texas would officially declare that “homosexuality is an abnormal lifestyle choice.” It would redefine marriage as a “covenant only between one biological man and one biological woman,” and it would “nullify” any court rulings to the contrary. (The gay Log Cabin Republicans were banned from setting up a booth at the convention.) It would fill schools with “prayer, the Bible, and the Ten Commandments” but ban “the teaching of sex education.” It would abolish all abortions and require students to “learn about the Humanity of the Preborn Child.”


The Texas Theocracy, which maintains that President Biden “was not legitimately elected,” would keep only traces of democracy. It wants the Voting Rights Act of 1965 “repealed,” and it would rewrite the state constitution to empower minority rule by small, rural (and White) counties. It would rescind voters’ right to elect senators and the Constitution’s guarantee of birthright citizenship.

The Texas Theocracy would probably be broke; it wants to abolish the federal income tax, “Axe the Property Tax” and do away with the estate tax and various business taxes. Yet it is planning a hawkish foreign policy! The platform argues that Texas is currently “under an active invasion” and should take “any and all appropriate measures the sovereign state defines as necessary to defend” itself. It imagines attacks by a “One World Government, or The Great Reset” — an internet-born conspiracy belief — and proposes “withdrawal from the current United Nations.” The Theocracy would put the “wild” back in the West, abolishing the minimum wage, environmental and banking regulations, and “red-flag” laws or waiting periods to prevent dangerous people from buying guns.

Above all, the Confederate Theocracy of Texas would be defined by thought police. It would penalize “woke corporations” and businesses that disagree with the theocracy over abortion, race, trans rights and the “inalienable right to refuse vaccination.”

Government programs would be stripped of “education involving race.” Evolution and climate change “shall be taught as challengeable scientific theories subject to change.” There would be a “complete repeal of the hate crime laws.” The Texas Revolution “shall not be ‘reimagined’” in a way the theocracy finds “disrespectful.” Confederate monuments “shall be protected,” “plaques honoring the Confederate widows” restored, and lessons on “the tyrannical history of socialism” required.

In their platform, the Texas Republicans invoked “God” or the “Creator” 18 times and “sovereignty” or sovereign power 24 times. And the word “democracy”? Only once — in reference to China.

I hope you can read the comments. Readers suggest other states that should secede with Texas.