This tweet from MSNBC talking head Chris Hayes yesterday really piqued my interest. As election night surprises rolled out, particularly in Virginia, I found myself thinking more and more about Hayes’ pronouncement.
It's been interesting how much "education" and schools as a focus of right-wing grievance has been consistent even as the particular grievance keeps shifting. A year ago it was going to be all about how schools were still closed! Then they opened and it was both masks and crt.
— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) November 2, 2021
He seems to be suggesting that the “right-wing grievances” about education (we really don’t need to be putting scare quotes around education, Hayes. It’s fine) are disingenuous because they keep “shifting.” And this is why they lost Virginia and a lot of local school boards across the nation last night.
My dear Mr. Hayes, In a vain attempt to encourage you to exhibit just a modicum of self-awareness on behalf of your party, please let me explain:
Yes, when schools closed it was very concerning for parents, particularly as COVID awareness expanded. When we realized that children were not really getting sick, weren’t super-spreaders, and had a statistically near-zero chance of dying from COVID, we didn’t understand what argument teachers unions were making when they kept trying to tell us that they only wanted to keep students safe. We really didn’t get it when the same politicians who were demanding we not be allowed to send our children to public schools were caught sending their own children to private schools that were allowed to stay open. Some of them hired private teachers. Wealthy Americans across the nation formed homeschool pods and hired teachers and tutors and their kids had access to as much normality as was possible. The rest of us were forced to watch our children languish in isolation and subpar tutelage.
We watched something else, too. We watched the education gap between the rich and everyone else widen. While we were watching that, we were also watching the Zoom lessons our children were doing. Suddenly, every classroom was in the home and we had the bird’s eye view of what was being taught…and what wasn’t being taught.
We didn’t like it. Not a bit.
When schools opened, that concern didn’t magically disappear, Mr. Hayes. We can only take one battle at a time, and that was a big one. Once we were able count on daily instruction and head back to work, we couldn’t forget what we’d seen. We couldn’t forget how our school board representatives and elected politicians insulted us as granny-killer and white supremacists because we wanted schools open and we had questions about the validity of the curriculum being taught. We couldn’t forget how we once took it for granted that our school boards are on our side, but came to discover that they look down on us the same way you do, Mr.Hayes.
So no, the battle didn’t suddenly “shift” from openings to CRT and mask mandates. The battle was ignited when we were finally forced to sit with our children as they learned from the public curriculum. Getting back to school was a starting point, not an ending point. You see, parents care about the full picture when it comes to their children, and boy, did we ever get the full picture this past 18 months. That’s your fault – the progressive left as led by teachers unions and talking heads like yourself who have never once had to wonder who will care for your 5-year-old child who is stuck at home while you go to work to feed them. You opened the doors…rather, the computer screens. You all bared the agenda and we did not like what we saw. The movement didn’t “shift,” it just matured.
The right thing to do would have been to cut with the punditry talk and really try to hear what parents were saying. Instead, people like you turned it into a flame war. You didn’t know that the most dangerous place to be is between a mama bear and her cubs. You can call loving parents “racists” all you want, they won’t care if you’re holding a gun in your hand aimed right at the heart of their children. Terry McAuliffe learned that the hard way last night. If you have any ability to self-reflect at all, you will too.
I don’t hold out hope, however. In the punditry game you don’t get rewarded for being reasonable, on either side of the fence. Not handsomely, anyway. You’re committed to the narrative that anyone who holds different opinions from your own is a white supremacist and not worth hearing. Your politics are your religion and your bubble is your sanctuary. I’m not naive enough to believe one election cycle will change that.
Using “right-wing grievances” to describe the legitimate concerns of parents across the nation is not a winning strategy. Look at Asra Nomani, a liberal, Democrat, Muslim activist who led the parent’s revolution in Virginia. She wants to be a Democrat. She wants to be a liberal. She does not want to be a Republican or conservative. She would have gladly voted Democrat if the Democrat’s had given her concerns as a parent a moment of thought. But you guys couldn’t even summon the will to be polite about it. You labeled the Indian-born Muslim woman a white supremacist.
I woke today to the news this mama bear — the 1st generation born after white British rule in India — am a white supremacist because I voted for Glenn Youngkin. Dear @orlipeter educated me on how a strong sense of self is so important. What do you think my next tee should say? pic.twitter.com/SGf16DO3oD
— Asra Q. Nomani 🐻Mama Bear “Domestic Terrorist” 🧸 (@AsraNomani) November 3, 2021
Well, how’s that workin’ for ya?
You drove that perfectly fine Democrat into the arms of a right-wing candidate. You could have just heard her out.
You got in the way of a mama bear and that’s a bad, bad place to be.
Mr. Hayes, you and your ilk are insulting average Americans all the way to an electoral upset in 2022.
You don’t have to be a Republican, but do you have to be such an asshole?