Erasing History
You’ve got to hand it to the hard right branch of U.S. politics: They sure know how to capitalize on fear. And by “capitalize,” we mean “rake in the dough.”
The latest boogeyman to animate right-wing Americans is an academic discipline called “critical race theory,” a framework through which scholars view U.S. institutions through the prism of systemic racism. Of course, hard-right people want no such view offered to anyone — least of all, children — and, in its very name, CRT offers a perfect rhetorical hat rack on which to hang the terror of a less-white America that plagues this bunch. It’s critical. It’s about race. And it’s a theory, which sounds a bit too much like science (unless it’s got the word “conspiracy” in front of it). Taken together, it makes for a great way to scaremonger for donations among the Trumpian GOP base.
Once such blowhards as Fox News Channel’s Tucker Carlson picked up the mass-media propaganda duties against the teaching of actual U.S. history, it wasn’t long before hard-right organizations set about monetizing that fear. And more than that, these organizations are using white anxiety to convince right-wing citizens to run for seats on local school boards, where public school policies are ultimately decided.
One of the first organizations to see an opportunity in the fear-stoking was the Leadership Institute in Arlington, Virginia, a decades-old training ground for right-wing politicians, propagandists and activists. LI currently offers both an online course in running for school board in order to oppose curricula that include the more unsavory elements of our national history, especially on matters of race.
Also picking up the theme is the group FreedomWorks, which may have a familiar ring due to its instrumental role in creating the Tea Party movement. A text message sent to supporters earlier this month included polling content titled the “Stop Socialism Survey,” which asserts, “According to Critical Race Theory, shredding the Constitution, the rule of law, and teaching children to hate everything that’s made the United States the greatest and freest nation in human history is the only way to ‘fix’ America’s supposed ‘systemically racist’ institutions.”
FreedomWorks is also mobilizing opposition to federal voting rights legislation and raising money to help Republicans win a majority in the House of Representatives in 2022 by targeting 21 Democratic representatives in districts won by Donald Trump in 2016.
Dumb vs. Dumber
If you find beefs between pop culture stars entertaining, you just might get a kick out of this kerfuffle between two of the far right’s two more ridiculous figures, Mike Lindell and Rick Wiles.
Lindell, otherwise known as the “MyPillow guy,” is making a second career for himself as the biggest fan of a certain former occupant of the Oval Office, advancing the Big Lie of a stolen election with all manner of accusations for which he claims to have proof. (Spoiler alert: No such evidence has been produced.)
As Lindell advanced phantasmagorical tales of hacked voting machines for night after night in a three-day series of rallies billed as a “cyber symposium,” Wiles — a virulent antisemite who enjoyed the support of the Trump administration — had reporters from his TruNews network on the ground at the Wisconsin site, livestreaming Lindell’s event. But before the so-called cyber symposium came to a close, Wiles found himself derided by Lindell, who described TruNews as agents of the far left.
TruNews played Lindell’s comments on its program Monday night, and the hosts were understandably mystified by Lindell’s allegations, declaring that if he can be this wrong about them, then nobody should believe anything that he says about any subject.
“It really is sad,” said TruNews founder Rick Wiles. “Somebody is feeding Mr. Lindell a lot of bad information, and I think he should wise up and take a look at who he has surrounded himself with and whether somebody has gotten inside his group and they are now turning him into a clown. They’re destroying his credibility.”
Like he ever had any. But the anti-vaccine Wiles is hardly qualified to judge after his baseless declaration that Chinese agents gave him COVID-19, which sounds a lot like Lindell’s false claim that China flipped votes in Biden’s favor in the 2020 U.S. presidential election.
But wait; there’s more!
It looks as if Rick Wiles and Mike Lindell have now made up. Perhaps they need each other.

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