I woke up the other morning and wondered whether I was woke. I knew I was awake but didn’t know if I was woke.
The question had entered my mind after I read conflicting letters to the editor regarding an issue raised by Chardon Board of Education member Todd Albright and his subsequent censure by fellow board members.
Public schools and educators across the country have come under assault by assailants making false claims about everything from critical race theory to the provision of litter boxes for “furries,” AKA students who identify as cats.
CRT, a cross-disciplinary study of how laws, politics and social implications impact racial and ethnic matters, generally is a college option. It is not being shoved down the throats of schoolchildren in Chardon or elsewhere. Those who peddle the litterbox crud are full of you-know-what.
In referring to an accusation that an unnamed Chardon educator was recommending a certain book on diversity to students, Mr. Albright appears to be part of the growing anti-public-education contingent. Increasingly, educators are being accused of “grooming” children through lessons and policies on gender and sexuality.
In the letter exchange over this brouhaha, it was former Geauga County commissioner and Geauga County Tea Party standout Walter “Skip” Claypool who made me think. In particular, it was his reference to the “woke cancel culture,” which seems to counter his way of thinking.
So, I had to check it out. According to Merriam-Webster, “woke” refers to being “aware of and actively attentive to important societal facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice).” I think I fit that bill. On the other hand, “woke” can apply to being “politically liberal, especially in a way that is considered unreasonable or extreme.”
Well, if being a strong supporter of public education is being woke, maybe I am woke.
My wife retired from public teaching in a racially diverse inner-ring Cleveland suburb. My late mother was a teacher at an evangelical Christian high school. Growing up, my wife and I both experienced parochial and public education. So did our sons. None of us expected the taxpayers to fund our private schooling. I still firmly believe that the government has no business in extracting public funds for private education.
More to the point, though, I believe in facts. I believe in democracy. I know for a fact that former President Donald Trump was defeated fairly by current President Joe Biden. Mr. Trump is a liar. That’s an unmitigated fact.
Those who believe his lies are wokeless. Those who believe that CRT is being shoved down the throats of schoolchildren are wokeless. Those who believe litter boxes are being provided in public schools for children who think they’re cats are wokeless.
This past September, Brendon Shea, a Republican member of the Ohio State Board of Education from Southern Ohio, introduced a resolution to oppose civil-rights protections for LGBTQ students. In doing so, he falsely claimed, “We’ve literally got kids who think they’re cats and dogs using litter boxes in classrooms.” He’s wokeless.
At least 20 leading Republican politicians have expressed similar absurdities. Among them, U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert, Republican of Colorado, said that educators “are putting litter boxes in schools for people who identify as cats.”
Some of those wokeless politicians have gone so far as to claim that public schools permit cat costumes in their dress codes.
Not that catlike apparitions have been roaming the halls of Chardon schools, but Mr. Albright did express some concern about the district’s dress code.
I can’t say that he’s wokeless. But I do believe the tea party would take that as a compliment.
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