Walking down Main Street, couples, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, cannot be legally denied the right to hold hands, share a hug, or kiss–if Main Street is part of the public square, that is.
In his State of the Union Address, Trump took a swipe at what he called “failing government schools.”
Most of us use the term “public school” or talk about “public education,” as we refer to institutions set up by, for, and of the people.
Trump, of course, is talking about public schools, but his choice to re-name them “government schools” is consequential. This phrase is not aimed at making public schools appear as institutions central to supporting the public good, to undergirding any hope for equality and freedom in this country, and to enabling the vast majority of Americans to access education. Rather, he makes these schools sound repressive and imprisoning, not enabling and liberating. (And I’m not suggesting there aren’t issues of gross inequality in our public school system.)
Certainly, the phrase “government take-over” is never used positively, as when opponents of, say, universal healthcare decry a “government take-over” of the healthcare system.
In short, substituting the adjective “government” for “public” can make any institution sound like a top-down, inefficient messy operation. Sadly, these are just the connotations the word has become saddled with over time, deserved or not.
And in many cases, it is not deserved. Remember when Tea Party activists used to wave signs demanding “Keep your goddamn government hands off my medicare”? People loved their government-run healthcare; they just didn’t know it because the right wing has trained so many Americans reflexively to hate government (even when the right wing controls it!) and automatically see it as the enemy and as inefficient.
Indeed, the world had been turned upside down for these Americans, as they protested against their own interests, railing against a government that administered the very program they wanted.
The same is true in the case of Trump referring to “failing government schools.” The phrasing is designed to get folks on board with defunding the public schools on which most Americans depend, promising them more “choice” and better schools.
But what’s really behind Trump’s words?
Let’s listen and then unpack. Here’s what he said Tuesday night:
“The next step forward in building an inclusive society is making sure that every young American gets a great education and the opportunity to achieve the American Dream,” Trump said. “Yet, for too long, countless American children have been trapped in failing government schools.”
The solution is to pass the Education Freedom Scholarships and Opportunity Act, legislation proposed by Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz and endorsed by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. This act would provide $5 billion worth of annual tax credits to encourage individuals and businesses to donate to nonprofit scholarship funds. Families could apply for these funds to send their children to private and religious schools or potentially other kinds of vocational training or certification.
But what’s really behind this proposal? Why not actually have not just “government run” schools but schools that are actually sufficiently—and why not lavishly?—“government funded”?
We can’t separate Trump’s call for an “inclusive society” and attack on public education from his call for what he calls “religious liberty,” which is intimately linked to Attorney General William Barr’s and DeVos’s agenda of dismantling the division between church and state, imposing a right-wing Christian worldview on public institutions (or eliminating them), and de-funding the public sector.
Compare what Trump said in last Tuesday’s address to what Barr said in a speech last October at Notre Dame’s law school.
“My administration is also defending religious liberty, and that includes the constitutional right to pray in public schools,” he said. “In America, we don’t punish prayer. We don’t tear down crosses. We don’t ban symbols of faith. We don’t muzzle preachers and pastors. In America, we celebrate faith, we cherish religion, we lift our voices in prayer, and we raise our sights to the glory of God.”
Jindal insists he just wants the right to live his Christian faith, but what he really wants is to force US to live HIS Christian faith
In an ironic twist, as a result of Catholic Justices on the nation's highest court, for the second time in six months high-ranking Catholics are exercising religious supremacy over the nation's judicial system.
Two issues alone will have a devastating affect on any religious business or corporation's employees, but after doing a cursory reading of the Hobby Lobby et al complaint, the High Court decision will immediately affect more than just their employees.
All of the Republicans interfering with personal health decisions are in league with extremist Christian organizations and corporations (Hobby Lobby et al) that demand authority be given to them to have complete control over a doctor and woman's medical decisions; something that Tennessee voters, even Republican voters, overwhelmingly oppose
Americans who value their freedoms, religious or otherwise, would do well to avoid the pitfalls of staying silent for fear of offending extremists because that silence has produced precisely what is plaguing this nation.
Besides wasting taxpayer time, money, and violating the First Amendment's prohibition that Congress shall "make no law respecting the establishment of religion," Ted Cruz's bill is an extreme case of conservative hypocrisy.
The Kansas House of Representatives has overwhelmingly passed a piece of legislation crafted to legalize anti-gay segregation under the guise of "religious liberty"
While Mitt Romney criticizes Obama for a war on religion, he is hiding the fact that in 2005, as governor of Massachusetts, he required all hospitals to provide emergency contraception.