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Op-Ed

Republicans follow the party line

November 19, 2021

In their attacks on public schools, the Republican Party is hewing to the line promoted by their Great Leader: Xi Jinping.

Robert Kahn

By Robert Kahn

Deputy editor emeritus, Courthouse News

Imagine this: The Chinese Communist government prohibits public schools from teaching about — or even mentioning — the Cultural Revolution, of 1966 to 1976, which killed millions of people and did not end until the death of their Great Leader, Mao Zedong.

Oh, wait: The Chinese Communist Party already did this.

Then imagine this: The Chinese Communist Party and its Great Leader, Xi Jinping, prohibit public schools from teaching about, or even mentioning, the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989, in which state police and military forces killed more than 1,000 students and other citizens peacefully protesting for democracy.

Oh, wait: The Chinese Communist Party already did this.

Then imagine this: The Chinese Communist Party prohibits schools, newspapers, radio, TV and its censored internet from reporting about the internment of 1 million Uyghur citizens in concentration camps, where they are put to forced labor and “re-education” today.

Oh, wait: The Chinese Communist Party already is doing this.

Let’s call this Chinese Repression Times, or CRT.

Now tell me: What’s the difference between the Chinese Communist Party’s “education” policies and the U.S. Republican Party’s increasingly vicious attacks upon public schools that dare to teach students about Article 1, Section 2, of the U.S. Constitution, that required Black people to be counted as three-fifths of a human being?

What’s the difference between Chinese Communist education policy and the Republican Party’s attacks upon public schools that teach — or even mention — slavery, the causes of the Civil War, Jim Crow laws, lynching, Plessy v. Ferguson, Emmett Till, the genocide against Indians, the assassinations of civil rights leaders, and — while we’re at it — gerrymandering?

Ain’t no difference at all. 

The Republican Party’s dishonest, hysterical whining about public schools — the enemy, many Republicans have said — shows that the tenets of Critical Race Theory are true: Why else would the Party pretend to be so upset about it? 

That racism has been an essential fact of U.S. history — through state and federal laws, by edict, by public vote, by language and other cultural manifestations — is demonstrably true.

Aside from Article 1, Section 2, of the Constitution, count, if you can, the number of racist laws enacted by state legislatures for more than two centuries — and don’t forget to count the dozens of voter-suppression laws enacted this year in at least 18 states.

To prohibit U.S. public schools from teaching students the history of the United States is no different in spirit, or intent, from the Chinese Communist Party’s prohibition of teaching the history of Chinese Communism. 

Looked at from some angles, the Republican Party’s attacks are worse.

The enforcers of officially sanctioned ignorance and hatred in China are its Communist Party, and its top officials. They can, and have, arrested, jailed, tortured and killed people who stray from the Party line — and wrought havoc upon their innocent families — as if “innocence” means anything anymore — there or here.

But the Republican Party’s tactic is to deputize the entire country to enforce the Party’s blinkered, willfully ignorant perversion of history.

Texas has deputized citizens to harass, threaten and imprison women and doctors for exercising their constitutional rights — and in the case of doctors, their professional obligations.

So ignorant and vicious has the Party become that its officials, in local, state and federal offices, are encouraging and providing cover for citizens who threaten school board officials with death for straying from the goose-stepping Party line.

Let’s be clear about this Texas abortion law, and the U.S. Supreme Court’s supine reaction to it: Texas is creating a Republican Party citizen Stasi — a network of government informers — and rewarding them with up to $10,000 a pop for informing on their neighbors, and their neighbors’ doctors.

Big Government: Thy name is the Republican Party. And the Party, and many of its elected officials, are calling not just for banning books, but burning them.

Burning books: Sound familiar? Where else has that happened?

Should we teach kids what happened in Germany 90 years ago, but not what’s happening here, today?

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