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Op-Ed

A country of snitches

February 11, 2022

The Republican Party wants to turn us into a country of snitches.

Robert Kahn

By Robert Kahn

Deputy editor emeritus, Courthouse News

Today’s Republican Party’s model of government is the East German Stasi.

What else can we think when Virginia Governor Glenn the Great Pumpkin Youngkin sets up a state-supported snitch line for parents, students — anyone, anywhere — to report public schoolteachers for teaching about “divisive” “concepts.”

For instance: Slavery existed in this land for more years than it did not (1619-1863 v. 1863-2022).

Q: “Class, which is greater, or rather, larger: 244 years or 159 years?

A: “No, I’m sorry, José, 159 is greater than 244. So sit down and shut up.”

But as Plato wrote, we must “give the palm” (cough up some money) to snitches in Texas who inform on their neighbors — and daughters, wives, sons and cab drivers — who assist, in any way, a woman who seeks an abortion, even if she would die without it.

And Texans’ tax money pays the snitches $10,000 a pop for it. Great deal, Gov. Abbott: Break up families by giving them financial incentives to inform on one another.

Imagine this, Gov. Greg Sturmfűhrer: An abusive, alcoholic husband with five kids beats them and his wife almost religiously; then the wife gets pregnant again and contracts endometriosis, suffers terrible pain, needs operations to save her life, and the husband beats all five of his kids into turning their mom in to Greg Abbott for seeking an abortion, which, with the husband’s testimony, will net that dysfunctional family $60,000, minimum, from the state — tax money. $10,000 apiece for turning in their mom, and another $10,000 for the husband: Money for snitches, while their mother dies at the hands of their father.

It could happen. And this fine Texas dad could be rewarded for it.

Meanwhile, one of Gov. SnitchMeister’s Gruppenfűhrers, state Rep. Matt Krause, has demanded that Texas public schools tell him whether they have any of 850 books on his list that he thinks have no business in school libraries. 

Would it surprise you to know that virtually all of these books are by or about Black folks and other people of color, and/or mention sex, in any way at all? According to the Dallas Morning News: “Krause is refusing to give details about how he generated the list and what could happen to districts that carry the titles.”

Five-term Republican Krause, chairman of the Texas state House General Investigating Committee — in common parlance, Gruppenfűhrer — told the Morning News he “doesn’t believe he’s read any of the books” on his burn list, which include William Styron’s Pulitzer Prize-winning “The Confessions of Nat Turner,” Joseph Conrad’s classic “Heart of Darkness,” Shirley Jackson’s short story “The Lottery,” Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” (available anywhere you’ve got a TV), and nonfiction titles such as “The Legal Atlas of the United States,” and “Teen Legal Rights.”

One book series that already has been burned is — get ready for this — Harry Potter.

What’s next, Gruppenfűhrer Krause? Should we prevent middle- and high-school teachers from whispering about Art. 1, Sec. 2, of the U.S. Constitution, which counts Black slaves as “three fifths” of a person?

Should we prohibit teaching Article 1, Section 2, in public schools, Herr Gruppenfűhrer? It might make three-fifths of a Black child uncomfortable.

Gruppenfűhrer Krause, by the way, is a paid speaker for WallBuilders, which is “educating the nation concerning the Godly foundation of our country’ and providing information to elected officials ‘as they develop public policies which reflect Biblical values.”

Good on ya, Gruppenfűhrer: Now, since you so godly and all, why’ntcha you g’wan out there and slay them damn Democrats with the jawbone of an ass. Or is you doing that already?

But snitching on neighbors and strangers is not the Republicans’ only plan for turning the United States into a godly police state. The Party also wants to learn us (as Mark Twain would say) about their perverted “understanding” of history.

Consider Oklahoma House Bill 1775, which prohibits public schools from teaching that “one race is the unique oppressor in the institution of slavery” or that “another race is the unique victim in the institution of slavery.” 

Damn. Now our kids will never learn about all those horrible Black plantation owners who whipped their White slaves and made them pick cotton. Such a shame our kids might never learn about this.

Now let us consider (sigh) Florida, where Gov. Mini-Him is exerting all of his tiny brain power to pass a bill that, the Associated Press reported, would “prohibit public schools and private businesses from making white people feel ‘discomfort’ when they teach students or train employees about discrimination in the nation’s past.”

Wow. Talk about some white snowflakes.

Here’s a short quiz: 

Q: When did President Harry Truman desegregate the U.S. Armed Forces by executive order?

A: 1948.

Q: When did interracial marriage become legal in California?

A: 1948.

Q: Who were Emmett Till, Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner and James Chaney?

A: Do tell.

Q: Where were the Nov. 2, 1920, Ocoee Election Day massacre, the 1923 Rosewood massacre, and Ax Handle Saturday of 1960; and, after Mississippi, which state had the most per capita lynchings of Black people from 1880 to 1940?

A: Florida, Florida, Florida, Florida.

Q: Feeling any “discomfort” yet, Gruppenfűhrer de Santiti(Little governor-Nazi saint).

A: O yeah? So what?

But let’s get back to East Germany and the Stasi (born Feb. 8, 1950 — died Jan. 13, 1990). At its dissolution after the fall of the Soviet Union, the Stasi had 91,015 “regular employees” and 174,000 “informal employees,” aka snitches: i.e., nearly twice as many patriotic snitches as paid government snitches. The actual number of “informal” snitches was almost certainly far greater.

This seems to be Republicans’ notion of an ideal state. More than 20 million people work for our federal, state and local governments today. If the Sturmfűhrers persuade enough of us to live down to the ideals of the Stasi, we could have more than 40 million snitches spying on us. In addition to Facebook.

Wouldn’t that be efficient? With all of us spying upon one another, lured by money and Patriotism merit badges, wouldn’t it help reduce the “government spending” the Republicans are always whining about? 

Did a seventh-grade social studies teacher say something “divisive”? Haul her in. Did she mention a dangerous “concept”? Fire her.

Did a cabbie or a Lyft driver drop a woman off at a Planned Parenthood office, and did her husband pick her up 90 minutes later and drive her home? Bust all of them, and cash in on it.

This is sick. This is perverted. “Family values” my ass.

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