Mike Pompeo is right about America’s most dangerous enemy
Mike Pompeo, who has presidential aspirations, recently said that the most dangerous person in the world is Randi Weingarten, the head of the American Federation of Teachers (“AFT”), the most powerful teachers’ union in America. I’d go further: Weingarten’s a symptom, not a cause. If she were gone, the AFT would still be an existential problem that Americans must fix.
During an interview with Semafor, the former Secretary of State said that America as a country survives only if children are taught American values. However, thanks to the AFT, they’re being taught anti-American values.
Shelby Talcott, who was conducting the interview, asked Pompeo to articulate what he believes are central issues for a 2024 Republican candidate. Rather unusually for a Republican, Pompeo was able to articulate both core values and the enemy of those values:
The central ideas of America are timeless — limited government, expanded set of freedoms, protecting the capacity of people to practice their faith. The very things I spoke about tonight — making sure we don’t teach our kids crap in schools, which we are at the center of doing.
I tell the story often — I get asked “Who’s the most dangerous person in the world? Is it Chairman Kim, is it Xi Jinping?” The most dangerous person in the world is Randi Weingarten. It’s not a close call. If you ask, “Who’s the most likely to take this republic down?” It would be the teacher’s unions, and the filth that they’re teaching our kids, and the fact that they don’t know math and reading or writing. These are the things that candidates should speak to in a way that says, “Here’s the problem. Here’s a proposal for how to solve it. And if given the opportunity, these are the things I will go work on to try and deliver that outcome that fixes that problem.” Pretty straightforward stuff.
If our kids don’t grow up understanding America is an exceptional nation, we’re done. If they think it’s an oppressor class and an oppressed class, if they think the 1619 Project, and we were founded on a racist idea — if those are the things people entered the seventh grade deeply embedded in their understanding of America, it’s difficult to understand how Xi Jinping’s claim that America is in decline won’t prove true.
Pompeo is correct. You cannot have an American nation if you don’t have American children. Unless the up-and-coming generation is taught to revere American principles (faith in a higher power, individual liberty, the free market, and the Constitution), you have an aggregation of people, not a nation. Worse, if that same cohort of young people is taught to hate God, liberty, the free market, and the Constitution, you have a more powerful enemy than anything coming from abroad.
Image: Mike Pompeo. YouTube screen grab.
However, it’s a mistake to personalize Weingarten, who merely reflects the AFT’s core toxicity. Teachers’ unions have been trending harder and harder left for decades. I attended San Francisco public schools in the 1960s and 1970s, and my father was a public school teacher in a nearby town at the same time. I saw the leftist teachers’ unions from both a student’s and a teacher’s point of view.
The teachers’ unions were so vile that my father, a one-time communist growing up as a poor Jewish boy in Weimar Germany, despised them. A devoted educator, Dad understood that the unions were uninterested in educating. Even then, they were pushing an agenda we now call “social justice,” because they focused on elevating race and destroying knowledge.
Remember the idiocy of “whole language”? That system ignored our wonderful phonetic alphabet and insisted that students learn to read the Chinese way, by recognizing words, just as the Chinese recognized symbols. Chinese kids, though, did that for hours a day, six days a week. American kids did it for 40 minutes a day, four to five days a week. The teachers’ unions brought us mass illiteracy. “Ebonics” was another bit of madness that saw unions insisting that Black students should be taught in their native language: ghetto slang.
I passed through dozens of classrooms headed by incompetent teachers who held their positions because of tenure. The only teacher ever fired was one who got passes for incompetence and antisemitism but went too far when he destroyed school property. It took four years of paid leave before he was finally let go.
Our public schools are disasters, and the unions are largely to blame. However, parents don’t get a pass. They elected the school boards that have piggy-backed on and encouraged this madness.
It’s up to parents to ride the wave of election 2022 and kick all of those woke wackos off the school boards and have boards that ride herd on teachers who think that classrooms and students are “theirs.” No. The classrooms belong to the public, and the students belong to the parents. Get that message to the AFT, and a lot of things in America get better fast.
(Hat tip: Townhall.)