Of all the scariest new monsters the updated Doctor Who series introduced, the Weeping Angels are the worst. They are quantum creatures, who only freeze into position when they are being observed. They cover their faces because, if they ever observe one another, they will freeze into place permanently.
Our anthropomorphism sees their hands over their faces and interprets that as the human reaction of crying and not wanting others to see. Thus, the Weeping Angels.
What makes this monster particularly terrifying are two things: one, statues of weeping angels are common, especially at cemeteries; two, they kill by sending their victims back in time. The victims live out their years in the wrong time with the wrong people. Their current potential frozen forever in the past.
So it is today with Governor Ron DeSantis, one of many American governors striving to be the most repressive of democracy, the will of the people, and equality. It must be exhausting setting up hundreds of straw men and then taking down, one by one, but this ‘angel’ is doing his best. From ending unemployment benefits to privatizing schools, forbidding businesses from asking about vaccination (you know, given how cruise ship passengers were hammered with Covid because of the shipboard systems and environment, you might think the cruise lines would be justified because their liability is off the charts) to ridiculing public health measures, the governor has moved to a new target: Critical Race Theory (CRT).
Poor DeSantis. Life is so trying for a half-wit governor with presidential ambitions, whose godfather is such a tease and now living in the backyard, who tries so very, very hard to prove that he is the most loyal as we see in real life what only an author could previously imagine: the Death Eaters in the graveyard trying to prove to Lord Voldemort that they are loyal and would never question his sanity.
Thus, this Thursday, June 10, 2021, in Jacksonville, Florida, the state Board of Education will meet to rubberstamp the new rule proposed by the commissioner of education on behalf of the governor that forbids teachers defining American history as “something other than the creation of a new nation based largely on universal principles stated in the Declaration of Independence.” Teachers will be forbidden also to “share their personal views or attempt to indoctrinate or persuade students to a particular point of view.” (Source: Florida Politics.)
In other words, the governor demands that Florida’s public schools teach U.S. history as the successful establishment of a new nation based upon the principles enunciated in the 1776 Declaration of Independence.
He’s not alone. Many states are proceeding along the same lines. All teachers will be allowed to do is to teach that ALL men are created equal, that ALL are endowed with unalienable (cannot be severed) rights of LIFE, LIBERTY, and the pursuit of happiness.
Grumpy Old Teacher (GOT) can do that. His fellow teachers, social studies and non-social studies alike, can do that. We can uphold those stirring statements while allowing students to examine how well our nation has lived up to those words.
Uh-oh. Cue the Weeping Angels. Because that is not what they intend. They want to ban the very mention of racism in the manner of a baby playing peek-a-boo that believes if they don’t see something, it doesn’t exist. CRT looks at American history, not in a condemnatory or judging manner, but in an attempt to see the racism that runs through it.
DeSantis can play his ‘whack-a-mole’ (his words) to try to stop a discussion of racism, but he cannot make it go away. All he has to do is unscrew the machine to see that the moles are still there, hidden beneath the surface, until they pop back up in places like Minneapolis, Elizabeth City, Louisville, and even in GOT’s town, Jacksonville.
If you teach ‘all men are created equal’ and ‘life, liberty …’ to students of color, expect them to wonder about that word ALL.
We haven’t even begun discussing the property rights, the right to build, hold, and pass on wealth to heirs that is the real meaning of ‘pursuit of happiness.’ That brings up Wilmington, Ocoee, Rosewood, Chicago, the Red Summer of 1919, and Tulsa.
But the Weeping Angels have that covered. History can be taught, any history at all, as long as we pretend that race had nothing to do with it.
That’s how it was in the old days, the days of segregation, Jim Crow, and unchallenged White Supremacy. (Although, if we’re allowed to examine real history, we find out that never went unchallenged and challenges, real and imagined, were brutally punished.)
Those are the days DeSantis longs for. The days of the base that Donald Trump plays to. And the days that these Weeping Angels hope to send us back to–days to live out our lives in a past where the rights of non-white people were denied and the power of government, state and local, enforced that orthodoxy.
One tap on the shoulder should do it.