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Dang it! Your GetReligionistas pounced a bit too early on the ‘parental rights’ wars — GetReligion

What’s the key materials on this newest Instances political-desk information story (versus an evaluation piece)? Right here is the thesis assertion, proper up prime:

Seizing on training as a newly potent wedge difficulty, Republicans have moved to provoke essential teams of voters round what the social gathering calls “parental rights” points in public faculties, a hodgepodge of conservative causes starting from eradicating masks mandates to demanding modifications to the best way kids are taught about racism.

But it’s the free-floating sense of rage from mother and father, a lot of whom felt deserted by the federal government in the course of the worst months of the pandemic, that arose from the off-year elections as probably the most highly effective drivers for Republican candidates.

All of this exercise, from the viewpoint seen within the Instances, boils all the way down to arguments about race:

The message labored on two frequencies. Pushing a mantra of better parental management, Glenn Youngkin, the Republican candidate for governor in Virginia, stoked the resentment and worry of some white voters, who have been alarmed by efforts to show a extra important historical past of racism in America. He attacked critical race theory, a graduate faculty framework that has change into a free shorthand for a contentious debate on the right way to tackle race.

There have been, after all, different points lurking within the background — a few of which might be linked to spiritual, ethical and cultural variations amongst voters. That is all of the Instances needed to say about that:

Whereas the conservative information media and Republican candidates stirred the stew of anxieties and racial resentments that animate the social gathering’s base — thundering about fairness initiatives, books with sexual content material and transgender college students on sports activities groups — they largely prevented providing particular plans to sort out thornier points like price range cuts and deepening academic inequalities.

Method down on this lengthy characteristic, there was a quote that struck me as each scary, prophetic and a bit tone deaf. Sure, I additionally sensed “religion ghosts” hovering within the background.

Thus, we’ll finish with this:

Geoff Garin, a prime Democratic pollster, mentioned the social gathering’s candidates wanted to broaden their message past their long-running coverage objectives like lowering class sizes and increasing pre-Ok training.

“It’s going to be incumbent on Democrats to have a compelling response,” mentioned Mr. Garin, who labored as a pollster for Mr. McAuliffe throughout his 2013 marketing campaign for governor. “Additionally they have to be ready to claim the worth of public training when it comes to a spot the place there’s a standard curriculum and customary set of values that almost all voters agree are the precise ones for public faculties.”

Ah, there’s the problem that would drive future protection. What, exactly, is the “widespread set of values” that unites Individuals at this second in time on spiritual, ethical and cultural points?

Way back, once I was doing a Baylor University graduate degree in Church-State Studies, it was secure to say that almost all voters — particularly in flyover country and the Bible Belt — would accept a type of quiet, milquetoast Protestantism in public-school school rooms. That wasn’t truthful to atheists, Catholics and many different folks and this strategy led to punishments for younger folks (like me) who refused to supply lowest-common-denominator prayers over faculty public tackle techniques at first of every day.

However Christmas was nonetheless the shopping-mall model of Christmas. The sex-education lessons prevented hot-button subjects and didn’t ship college students dwelling asking questions that freaked out a lot of mother and father. When it comes to race, we talked so much about racial equality and the phrases of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., who was shot down once I was in Center College. We didn’t discuss — in school rooms — that a lot in regards to the apparent racial divides in our metropolis.

I’ll ask, as soon as once more: Is there a “widespread set of values” that unites Individuals at this level? What unites individuals who watch the Fox Information speaking heads at night time and people who want the speaking heads on CNN, MSNBC, PBS or NPR? What unites old-school First Modification liberals and the brand new illiberals who’re way more involved about hate speech, pronouns and violent trigger words?

That’s a query that factors to a giant information story that isn’t going away. It’s going to assist if journalists present some respect for folks on either side of those debates. In different phrases, skip the “scare quotes.”

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