This is a guest post by Dana R. Casey.
Across this country, conservatives are being silenced, especially in our schools and universities.
Condoleezza Rice recently had her invitation to speak at a Rutgers commencement ceremony challenged by over 100 faculty members who signed a petition stating their objections. On May 3rd, Ms. Rice withdrew from the ceremonies releasing a statement saying that “she did not want to detract from the day’s festivities.”
A student organization created for “the exposition and promotion of conservative principles and ideas” at the University of Miami was denied approval four times from the Committee on Student Organizations and ultimately had to enlist help from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) before they were officially recognized.
Veteran CBS investigative correspondent Sharyl Attkisson resigned after a two decades long relationship with the network for being repeatedly restricted from reporting negatively about the Obama administration.
Individuals are silenced too. Admitting to being a Republican or a conservative or even a Christian elicits responses of “bigot”, “racist”, “homophobe”, or “Islamaphobe”. Decades old friends think you’ve lost your mind and stop inviting you to gatherings.
Education is one frontline of the battle between liberal and conservative. Here, conservative ideas have as much power as prisoners of war. Conservative ideas have been locked out of the battle. I am personally fighting the battle from behind the front lines and in enemy territory against liberal indoctrination being forced into my classroom through revised curriculum and polices. I always try to present multiple perspectives in the classroom and I never tell students what to think. I challenge them HOW to think, to question, and to investigate, never WHAT to think.
I am also fighting the same battle with the education being provided to my teen daughters, both of whom go to public schools. My girls get a political education from me at home just from hearing my husband and I discuss the issues, so they often see through the liberal indoctrination presented by their teachers as “facts”. Unfortunately, their fellow students don’t realize that they are receiving biased information. There is no one to present other perspectives to them. My daughters do not feel comfortable bringing up alternative perspectives to the liberal ideology presented, because they fear being bullied by their fellow students or of having the teacher fail them because of their family’s political beliefs.
My daughters come home week after week with tales of liberal indoctrination, viewings of An Inconvenient Truth, or the lie that Republicans were really Democrats of the past (i.e. racist, KKK members, anti-civil rights) and the Democrats have become the Republicans of the past (abolitionists, civil rights supporters, Abe Lincoln, Frederick Douglas, and Martin Luther King’s party). According to my daughters’ teachers the two parties just magically switched names one mysterious undocumented night.
During the 2012 elections, I asked a few of my students this simple question, “What do Democrats stand for?” I received essentially this same answer from student after student, but here is one direct quote, “Democrats love blacks and poor people.” I then asked what Republicans stand for? The answer I got was, “Republicans are old white men who hate blacks and poor people.” My students then asked me for whom was I voting. I responded, “I do not discuss my personal political beliefs with students. It is not appropriate.” One student then responded (and I am not kidding), “You want to take my food stamps. My mama needs her food stamps!” Note that I never stated for whom I was voting, but her assumption was that if I did not immediately say “Obama of course!” that I must be one of those who hate blacks and poor people. These urban students are given exactly this narrative at home, at school, and through the media day after day. It is relentless.
Those on our college campuses are further indoctrinated. In February, Swarthmore University’s Institute for the Liberal Arts hosted Robert George and Cornel West in a campus-wide discussion on the meaning of discourse at Swarthmore. The Princeton professors, friends with strongly opposing viewpoints, discussed questions like “What does it mean to communicate across differences regarding what is ‘right’ or ‘wrong?’” Many students felt that conservative Robert George should not have been invited to the discussion at all.
One member of the class of 2016, Erin Ching, clearly demonstrated her lack of understanding of the word “diversity” when interviewed about the discussion. Instead, because she sees conservatism as naturally evil, it must be excluded not included in conversations about diverse ideas. This is what she had to say:
“What really bothered me is… the whole idea is that at a liberal arts college, we need to be hearing a diversity of opinion. I don’t think we should be tolerating conservative views because that dominant culture embeds these deep inequalities in our society. We should not be conceding to the dominant culture by saying that the so-called “progressive left” is marginalizing the conservative, (daily.swarthmore.edu)”
So for Erin, “diversity” means exclusion of conservative ideas in any discussion that is considered “diverse”; thereby, making all worthy diverse conversations limited to only those with whom they already agree. This is exactly the opposite of diversity. It is also the exact opposite meaning of the term liberal arts. A true liberal arts education is the process of truth seeking through examination of all opposing arguments.
The liberals have stolen control of the narrative, especially in education. It is time to take it back.
Dana R. Casey is a veteran high school English teacher of more than two decades in an East-coast urban system. She is a life-long student of theology, philosophy, and politics, dedicated to the true Liberalism of the Enlightenment, as defined by our Founders and enshrined in our Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights.