Will Trump finally put a stop to the America-hating 1619 project?
On Friday, the Trump administration stopped federal agencies from using taxpayer dollars to force employees to attend anti-white critical race theory seminars. He's now eying even bigger fish: Trump has promised that the Department of Education is looking into schools that have integrated the 1619 Project into their curricula so he can withhold federal funds from those schools. "Looking into" is not the same as doing something, but it's a good start.
The New York Times' Nikole Hannah-Jones came up with the idea of the 1619 Project, which seeks to "reframe" American history to mark the year 1619 as the "true founding" rather than 1776 (the Declaration of Independence) or 1783 (when Britain surrendered to the Americans). Her choice of year is based upon the fact that the first Africans were brought to America as slaves in the year 1619. Thus, the 1619 Project has as its purpose cementing slavery as America's original sin.
Hannah-Jones has admitted that the project has nothing to do with actual history but is, instead, a form of "journalism" to change "the national narrative:
I’ve always said that the 1619 Project is not a history. It is a work of journalism that explicitly seeks to challenge the national narrative and, therefore, the national memory. The project has always been as much about the present as it is the past.— Ida Bae Wells (@nhannahjones) July 27, 2020
Even the meanest intellect can understand the message that the Times and its fellow travelers are pushing: Americans cannot hide behind the Constitution to claim that they are a society founded on a great and colorblind idea (albeit one that was imperfectly implemented for a long time). Instead, from the moment Europeans set foot on America's shores, they brought with them an evil so great that America is irredeemably corrupt. And of course, the Democrats know the only way to purge that corruption: America must be destroyed and rebuilt in a socialist mold.
That's not even an exaggeration. Hannah-Jones explicitly has as a goal destroying the idea of American exceptionalism. She wants that goal to be realized by incorporating her factually erroneous project into multiple school curricula (English, history, social studies) throughout America:
The fight here is about who gets to control the national narrative, and therefore, the nation’s shared memory of itself. One group has monopolized this for too long in order to create this myth of exceptionalism. If their version is true, what do they have to fear of 1619?— Ida Bae Wells (@nhannahjones) July 27, 2020
The project was specifically set up to fit into schools, and schools have embraced it:
The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that is unaffiliated with the Pulitzer Prizes, released lesson plans and reading guides aimed at bringing The 1619 Project into classrooms. One of the two lesson plans the Pulitzer Center issued during the six months after the project was published focused on the magazine essay by Hannah-Jones. Schools or school districts in Chicago; Newark, N.J.; Buffalo, N.Y., and Washington, D.C. all announced 1619 Project-related events. The Pulitzer Center's annual report says more than 3,500 classrooms used the materials. Nikole Hannah-Jones spoke at the Whitney Young Magnet High School in Chicago, at Weequahic High School in Newark, at R.J. Reynolds High School in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and at Washington D.C.'s Dunbar High School. She's a regular presence on college campuses, with appearances in 2020 at Williams College, Morehouse College, Harvard Business School, Stanford, the University of Virginia, and the University of Michigan.
Again: Schools across America, from elementary to college, almost all of which rely on federal funds, have incorporated into their programs a "narrative" intended to destroy students' belief that their country is exceptional.
On Sunday, President Trump put out a tweet that may promise the end of making taxpayers pay for education programs that indoctrinate children to hate their country:
Department of Education is looking at this. If so, they will not be funded! https://t.co/dHsw6Y6Y3M— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 6, 2020
The Department of Education hasn't yet responded to Trump's tweet. It's also not clear whether Trump promises the same outcome as Arkansas senator Tom Cotton's proposed legislation, which would ban funding for any program that teaches the 1619 Project. That's not as helpful as it sounds. Money is fungible, and withholding a little bit here or there from schools won't deter them from sneaking the 1619 Project into their lessons.
The only way to address this is punitively: if you, the school, are going to teach an anti-American curriculum, you will forfeit all monies from American taxpayers. Anything else is just window dressing.
Image: The Spirit of 1776 by A.M. Willard, from a lithograph at the Library of Congress. No known restrictions on publication.