MAGA Republicans are infiltrating our schools and communities to inject extreme partisan politics into our kids’ education. The fight to defeat American fascism is largely an information war. The children of today are the future resisters to help strengthen democracy, civil rights and personal freedom, or to try to tear them away.
How can we ensure that schools teach children to value the common good instead of “Getting the Gimmies”, and to nurture each other instead of fearing the “Other”?
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Reminiscent of George Orwell’s anti-authoritarian book 1984, Republicans are trying to control the narrative, to create an environment that shapes how people are thinking about the world.
Banning books and censoring history is wrong, but it’s the Republican goal. Our kids should be able to get a complete education that includes the civil rights movement and sex education. MAGA Republicans’ goal is to take these things away from our kids and leave them with less education, not more.
MAGA extremist Republicans would rather censor parts of American history to push a political agenda than have students read about Rosa Parks, MLK, or Harvey Milk.
Student/family surveillance and censorship are just the beginning. Many Republicans want to defund public education altogether to create an opportunity for corporate profits or to push their Christian Nationalist agenda.
Republicans would rather protect guns and potential shooters than students. After every school shooting, MAGA Republicans rush to defend guns and the gun lobby, and to expand access to guns and expose schools even more to weapons of war.
MAGA extremists are attacking schools. They’re banning and even burning books. They’re falsely calling teachers pedophiles and groomers. They’re defunding schools. They’re trying to censor our history. They are trying to transform libraries into “disciplinary centers”. They try to block all attempts at even modest, popular reforms to address gun violence in schools.
Most people hate fascism
While we’ve sadly come to realize that there are a significant number of Americans who would now be rooting for the wrong side in Saving Private Ryan, most Americans still honor the memory of American soldiers who died in the war against fascism. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120815/ They don’t like book banning. They don’t like having the government track high school girls’ menstrual periods. They’ve grown up hearing about Nazis and they don’t like them. We must set the terms of debate, grab attention, and not let go. “Fascism is bad, that’s what the Republican extremists are about, and we have to defeat them” is not a hard message to deliver.
Make new friends!
There are local Indivisible groups in every congressional district across the country. Find a nearby group or a group that meets online: https://indivisible.org/groups. Build coalitions and partnerships with other organizations and impacted communities, to reduce redundancy, increase your impact, and build your power.
Determine who holds power to make the change you want to see. Who can be your allies — school boards, city councilmembers, state legislators, governors utilizing executive actions, community leaders, clergy? Support like-minded candidates and show up to school board, city council, and community meetings.
Ask local school board members and candidates these questions:
What books are you planning to ban?
Do you agree with book bans?
Why should our students not be allowed to learn about slavery or the civil rights movement?
Are you planning to outlaw content or teaching related to heterosexual lifestyles as well as LGBTQIA+ content?
Do you think investigating parents and families of trans students is an abuse of power? Do you think it makes the risk of student suicide higher or lower?
Do you think guns belong in schools?
Why did you accept money or other resources from private charter school organizations, the gun lobby, from for-profit companies, or “dark money” political nonprofits? How does that money impact your vote on gun safety, etc.?
Banned Book app
Share the Banned Book app from Digital Public Library of America for free nationwide access to books restricted in schools or libraries. Type in zip code for a complete list of titles prohibited in a particular area. Download the Palace Project e-reader app and download the e-books. https://thepalaceproject.org/app/
How to maximize your impact and reach your goals
Engage in group meetings, town halls, and lobby days with state legislators; Local events and coordinated calls; Get legislators on the record publicly.
State legislators care about re-election and passing bills so they can claim a win.
State legislators often are not used to hearing from constituents so a large impact can be achieved with coordinated activism.
State legislators are influenced by money and lobbying, so even a slight increase in grassroots fundraising could make a difference for them.
State legislators care about maintaining a good image in their hometown media.
Get media coverage
Grab attention and tell the stories you want people to understand with social media, op-eds, and interviews with journalists. Share people’s impactful personal stories.
Formally demand an apology on behalf of a group. Send a public letter on behalf of as many activist groups as will agree to sign on. Parents of students in local schools can demand an apology for a homophobic remark about a school curriculum, for example.
How we will win this fight
Groups like the so-called Moms for Liberty and Parents Defending Education have been pushing for book bans, “whitewashed” history lessons, and policies that make schools into hostile environments for LGBTQIA+ students and teachers. Thanks to millions of dollars in dark money funding, these groups have rapidly spread across the country — and in many places, their hateful agenda is already being enforced.
People want to feel confident that when they send their kids to school, they will learn the true, complete history of this country, they will have access to books that speak to them and their experiences, and most of all they will feel safe and accepted in the classroom. The MAGA agenda is unpopular and if we show up and defend our schools and libraries, we will win this fight.
Let’s pursue our activism as much as we can manage and not collapse into passivity in the face of Republican extremism. We’re going to make the MAGA brand toxic, exposing unpopular extremism and attacks on our civil liberties, while building our own coalition for electoral victories. Sharing the common good — “all boats rise”.
Resources for state and local actions: https://indivisible.org/resource/indivisible-states-introduction
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