How to combat school board extremists
Hint: When they aim low, let them fall on their face and then step over them
Background - brief and recent history of how we got here
How do we combat anti-education propaganda?
Do these efforts actually work?
What should we do next?
There’s a noticeable uptick in extremist rage being aimed at public school systems across the nation. And Salem-Keizer School District is no exception.
The latest round of anti-education organizing can be traced back to the (I can’t believe I’m typing this)…Virginia Governor’s race in November 2021, when far-right millionaire Glenn Youngkin defeated an uninspiring corporate Democrat.
Youngkin’s “playbook” of elevating hysterical claims about public school indoctrination efforts and manipulative teacher’s unions culminated in a pledge to ban Critical Race Theory on his first day in office.
But it was his pivot into anti-science COVID messaging and tacit acceptance of Trumpian support that created a surge of support and, ultimately, a win.
And conservative activists across the country paid attention. You could almost kind of feel them gathered around the glow of their laptops across the country, relentlessly refreshing results and posting furiously to Facebook groups yowling with excitement.
Youngkin quickly became a star & his campaign a rallying cry. Under the banner of “parent’s rights,” religious and far-right political groups across the country are using that momentum to fight everything from diversity initiatives to sexual health education…all on the fumes of a billionaire executive buying himself the Governorship of Virginia.
Gov. Youngkin fanboy and swinging enthusiast Stan Pulliam even traveled to meet Youngkin in Washington DC as he campaigned for the Republican nomination for Oregon Governor (a race he is inexplicably still in).
Oregon-based political group “Parent’s Right In Education” (PRIE) positioned Youngkin’s win as the first step for parent’s across the country to take the power back. PRIE Chief Misinformation Officer and prolific YouTuber Suzanne Gallagher posted the following on Facebook in the days after Youngkin’s win.
K-12 public education is the new political battleground. Governor Glenn Youngkin’s Virginia race, in which the parents’ rights issue was a factor, is the first of many upsets….don’t under-estimate the passion of parents and families. They have had enough. Watch for the ground swell with school board races, and wins in 2022."
And other groups like Oregon Mom’s Union (created in the summer of 2021 by Pulliam’s wife, MacKensey…I’m not going to keep doing swinging jokes. I legit have no issue with it except that you have to admit that the people whose entire political reputation rested on being salt-of-the-Earth, pious, righteous rural country folk were actually leading a kind of a double life as swingers in the dreaded Marxist wasteland…Portland. Like, I don’t make the rules about humor. That shit is just plain funny…..)
Other groups like Oregon Mom’s Union have been following the strategies, tactics and propaganda of larger groups like PRIE - aiming a firehose of misinformation, panic and fear at their social media audiences. Oregon Mom’s Union alone serves an audience of 2,300+ and growing, on Facebook.
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