Republicans have placed the critical and factual teaching of history on the ballot of the Virginia gubernatorial race between Republican Glenn Youngkin, a Trump-supporter and former CEO of the sinister Carlyle Group, and Democratic former Governor Terry McAuliffe. Youngkin has vowed to eliminate the teaching of “critical race theory” (CRT) in Virginia schools. However, Virginia does not and never has taught the theory, which is found only in the graduate curriculum of select universities and colleges around the country. Emulating Senator Joe McCarthy, Youngkin has transformed the non-issue of CRT in Virginia schools into a rallying cry for Donald Trump’s base of ranting and raving whites across the commonwealth.
A Youngkin’s win over McAuliffe will provide a political impetus for Republicans around the country to demand that everything from creationism to the economic benefits of feudalism, slavery, and capitalism be mandatory in the approved curricula of public school systems. It is not hard to see Qanon buffoonery on history, science, medicine and public health, and social studies creeping into lesson plans and text books written by lunatics.
The Trump base of neo-Nazis, white nationalists, and other political loons and dullards has already co-opted the “yellow star,” mandated by the Nazis for Jews in Germany and occupied Europe to wear on their outer clothing, as an anti-Covid vaccination symbol of resistance. Equally as shameful, these polluters of the historical record have also adopted the white rose symbol, used by the anti-Nazi German resistance movement — the White Rose — against Adolf Hitler’s government from June 1942 to February 1943. The University of Munich-based leafleteers and leaders of the White Rose — Hans Scholl and his sister Sophie Scholl, Christoph Probst [pictured left], Alexander Schmorell, Willi Graf, and Professor Kurt Huber — were guillotined by the Nazis after their arrest and torture by the Gestapo. For the White Rose to be adopted by a gaggle of anti-public health halfwits is an indecent affront to the memory of the German resistance to the Nazis.
If Youngkin has his way, the non-issue of CRT will morph into a re-adoption of the “Lost Cause narrative” by Virginia schools. This advances the view that the Confederate cause was a noble one and that the South maintained a unique culture highlighted by idyllic plantations, ballroom dances, and mint juleps. School rooms in Virginia will restore the prominence of Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and Jefferson Davis. Many Virginia communities may have removed statues of the Confederate leaders, but Youngkin and his supporters will ensure they are restored to places of honor in textbooks and lesson plans.
After the restoral of the “Lost Cause” to Virginia classroom curricula, there will be other re-writes of history. Native Americans will again become uncivilized “savages.” Trump’s base was encouraged by Trump’s joining in the racially-insensitive “tomahawk chop” at the recent World Series game in Atlanta.
Virginia has seen the far-right move their fascist ideology off the streets of Charlottesville and into the commonwealth’s school boards, public libraries, and classrooms. This battle must be joined by progressive anti-fascist people everywhere. Southern slaves were not indentured immigrants, Native Americans were not savages, slaves did not fight for the Confederacy, Cecil Rhodes was not a rugged individualist but a racist colonialist, Adolf Hitler was not a savior of Germany but a brutal mass murderer intent on world conquest, John F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., were not laissez-faire capitalists, and the United States was never a “land of opportunity” that only wished to export democracy abroad. The far-right cannot be permitted to have our streets or our history.
Previously published in the Wayne Madsen Report.
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Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist, author and nationally-distributed columnist. A member of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) and the National Press Club. He is the editor and publisher of the Wayne Madsen Report (subscription required).