New Florida law establishes 'Victims of Communism Day'
While many blue states are celebrating communism and socialism in their public-school classrooms, Florida, as usual, is bucking this disturbing trend by ensuring that Sunshine State students learn about the unvarnished horrors these evil ideologies have wrought upon humanity over the past century.
On May 9, Florida governor Ron DeSantis signed House Bill 395 into law, which establishes November 7 as "Victims of Communism Day."
According to a press release from the Florida governor's office, the new law "calls for public schools to observe the day. High school students will be required to receive at least 45 minutes of instruction in their required United States Government class on topics related to communist regimes and how victims suffered at the hands of these regimes. Instruction on these topics will be required starting in the 2023–2024 school year."
Although one 45-minute lesson on the sinister history of communism is surely not enough time to spend on the abject misery and mass murder that communism is responsible for, it is certainly a step in the right direction.
DeSantis explained that he signed the bill because "[h]onoring the people that have fallen victim to communist regimes and teaching our students about those atrocities is the best way to ensure that history does not repeat itself."
He added, "Through H.B. 395 and the funding announced today, we are guaranteeing that the history of those who fled communist regimes and their experiences are preserved and not forgotten by our students. While it's fashionable in some circles to whitewash the history of communism, Florida will stand for truth and remain as a beachhead for freedom."
As a former high school history teacher, I have witnessed this "whitewashing" of history when it comes to communism and socialism in far too many classrooms. Specifically, I have seen several of my former colleagues simply overlook the famines, death camps, lack of individual rights, and all the other typical horrors associated with communist regimes while espousing the "fairness" of communism.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of students took these teachers at their word, buying into this revisionist history. Some students even told me they were reluctant to question this narrative because they were afraid their grades would suffer if they grilled or critiqued communism.
Even more mind-boggling, as these teachers were defending communism, most of them went out of their way to discredit capitalism and freedom, typically by way of denigrating the United States and Western philosophy.
Because this revisionist history (wherein communism is inherently "good" and free-market capitalism is inexorably "bad") has been perpetuated for decades across the American education landscape, it should come as no great surprise that young Americans are inclined to have a favorable view of communism.
As many polls show, communism is becoming more and more popular with young Americans, which is particularly baffling, considering that the historical record is unequivocally clear that communism has been an utter disaster every time and place it has been instituted.
Fortunately, the brave lawmakers in Florida and their courageous governor are fighting back against the revisionist history regarding communism that has crept into so many classrooms.
By simply highlighting the fact that communism is responsible for the deaths of 100 million people worldwide since its inception, they absolutely have a strong case to make.
In 1982, President Ronald Reagan predicted that "the march of freedom and democracy" would "leave Marxism-Leninism on the ash heap of history."
Reagan was right. However, because American academics have reached into the ash heap and recast communism as a morally righteous system (while ignoring the mass death and destruction it has caused), it is incumbent upon all of us to ensure that America's youths understand the sordid history of communism.
For this to take place, we need more states to follow in Florida's footsteps when it comes to teaching the truth about communism.
Chris Talgo (email@example.com) is senior editor at The Heartland Institute.