Purely Political, By James Buckley
It is almost always a conservative who seeks protection from public acrimony; the woke fear no retribution. Consequently, most often it’s the more liberal positions that end up in letters columns and opinion pieces.
Except, of course, in the Santa Barbara News-Press, whose co-publishers seem almost fearless in taking the kinds of stances newspapers once took regularly.
In that regard, what follows are answers to two questions people regularly ask me privately, followed by a detailed response to an email from someone who follows this column in spite of his liberal leanings.
Q. Why don’t you believe that the Florida legislation that prohibits certain types of subjects to be taught in grades pre-kindergarten to third grade is a good thing?
A. It’s OK as far as it goes, but because it specifically prohibits age-inappropriate subject matter being introduced from pre-K to third grade, such legislation virtually mandates fourth-graders be subject to the propaganda they’ve been shielded from up to that point. I question why administrators and teachers believe this kind of information (sexual orientation, transgenderism, etc.) must be imparted to elementary-school children at all. What’s the rush? Those are the questions parents should be asking.
Q. Tucker Carlson and other conservatives have compared Ukraine President Volodomyr Zelensky to Russian President Vladimir Putin in that both have squelched opposition media in their respective countries. How can you, or anyone, continue to support Zelensky?
A. Yes, President Zelensky has declared martial law and has censored opposition media outlets. But he is in a fight for his country’s survival. Many, though not all, of those outlets are actually supported by Russia. Mr. Zelensky sees no need to give the invading army a forum with which to reach the Ukrainian population.
There can be no denying that Ukraine is in the fight for its life, so a certain amount of censorship is required and should be expected. Even Abraham Lincoln suspended habeas corpus during the U.S. Civil War. With this in mind, one cannot equally compare Presdient Zelensky to President Putin.
Q. I have been a regular reader of your column and have enjoyed it even if I haven’t agreed with all your opinions. But I am with you all the way on the perils of critical race theory and other hysterical ideas of the Woke Left. And I am mostly with you all the way about President Joe Biden, who has been a grave disappointment.
Still, I find myself at odds with some of your objections to Mr. Biden’s executive orders. On these accounts, we may consider a few positive achievements.
A) President Biden reversed President Trump’s restrictions on U.S. entry for travelers from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, Venezuela and North Korea
At first blush, these look like scary countries, but in reality, the selection was totally arbitrary given where terrorists who attempt to attack America actually come from. North Korea has a scary regime, for instance, but the people who do manage to escape its clutches hardly pose a threat to the U.S.
B) President Biden required non-citizens to be included in the 2020 Census and therefore included in the apportionment of congressional representatives
To the untrained eye this may seem strange, even conspiratorial, if not for the fact that noncitizens have been included in the U.S. census for 200 years. The executive order is merely a reinstatement of a precedence that is protected by the 14th Amendment.
I realize it bothers conservatives because it would impact congressional redistricting to the detriment of Republicans, but non-citizens are prohibited from voting in federal elections (and for good reason). I admit there’s a disturbing movement on the far left to allow voting by non-citizens, but we’re not there yet. And apart from theories and the citation of obscure documents in Maricopa County, we’ve seen little evidence that it’s actually happening in elections,
(C). President Biden folded the 1776 Commission, which had been promoted by President Donald Trump to foster what Mr. Trump termed a “patriotic education”
(D). Do we really want the federal government involved in school curriculum? I’m all for venerating the Founding Fathers, and I’d certainly rather see that than teaching white kids that they are irredeemable. But as I see it, let’s get the federal government out of all school curriculum, and we can start by scrapping CRT and brainwashing.
E). The U.S. rejoined the Paris Climate Accord, committing hundreds of billions of dollars to the effort.
It’s an imperfect agreement, but it’s the only global pact that acknowledges the existential threat of climate change and commits world powers to doing something about it. I’m willing to accept arguments that countries like China benefit unfairly from it and that the objectives are improbable and likely impossible.
But the default conservative position is that climate change is a hoax, which is increasingly hard to fathom given that we are now really witnessing the impact. And so the result of the Republican position is doing nothing about it.
My answers follow:
A. There was nothing positive about removing restrictions on those seven countries, but in most cases, nothing came of the restrictions, so let’s just call it a draw. It was neither positive nor negative.
B. I could possibly agree with you but in light of the millions of undocumented and unvetted non-citizens being allowed to pour across our southern border and airlifted to likely districts where the population imbalance could give a seat to a Democrat would be rewarding President Biden’s illegal and unconscionable actions.
C. As far as there being “little evidence” of voter fraud in the 2020 election, let’s just wait a little longer for results of forensic audits taking place in Georgia and Colorado. My guess is there was, in fact, massive voter fraud.
D. No, we don’t want the federal government involved in creating school curriculums, but a national pushback against the “Inclusive Curriculum” already in place was required. The 1776 Commission was simply trying to create an alternative to CRT and other cockamamie subject matter.
E. The Paris Climate Accord is not only “an imperfect agreement,” it is also a giant pile of horse manure that would guarantee the impoverishment of the middle class in the U.S. by sending taxpayer money directly to foreign countries regardless of need.
F. I do agree that the Republican position on “Climate Change” needs to be more than “doing nothing about it.” My druthers would be to formulate a positive program of preparing the most vulnerable areas for possible negative impacts of climatic instability (floods, hurricanes, drought, rising sea levels, heat waves, etc.) that probably have little or nothing to do with the rise in CO2.
James Buckley is a longtime Montecito resident. He welcomes questions or comments and archives all his columns at jimb.substack.com.