We are not a nation of laws, and we never have been. We are a nation of political will, and we always will be.
You’ve heard me say that a lot on my show in recent years, and the recent focus on school choice in states across the nation — including my home state of Iowa, where it was approved just this week — is proof of it.
Because if we were truly a nation of laws in a country with the foundational underpinnings of the United States, the notion of funding following the student and not the system is so self-evidently good, right, and true from a moral and legal perspective that I would have been far from alone when I proposed it at the beginning of my radio career roughly 20 years ago. Either such a mode of doing things would already have been the norm, or at the very least an obvious course correction for public-sector good intentions run amok.
Yet at that time, Republicans and Democrats alike looked at me like I had two heads when I uttered such a thing. Why? Because laws are fundamentally about reason, while the attachment to public education has been anything but reasonable. Look no further than the teachers’ unions to understand that. The amount of political power they have wielded over the years is entirely out of proportion with the academic rigor and cultural well-being they have contributed to. However, their will to wield power against any perceived threat is simply unmatched, as they somehow convinced the masses that theirs was one of the few truly thankless jobs that they always did right.
It was an emotional and psychological coup of the first order. Countless people have thankless jobs that are at least as arduous as the teaching profession, but they don't get three months of paid summer vacation each year as well. Year after year we were made to feel ashamed if we dared demand accountability from the field of education, or we were all too ready and willing to let things slide as long as we didn’t have to deal with raising our own children for nine months out of the year. And so it was that “in loco parentis” eventually morphed into “give us never-ending funding increases and then leave it to the experts.”
To accept such a reality is to ultimately accept the most pathetic of tyrannies, and, well, here we are! It is roughly the equivalent of when Vice President Kamala Harris recently spoke of being endowed with rights that include liberty and the pursuit of happiness, while omitting that those rights come from God and that the first right outlined in the Declaration of Independence is life itself.
Her omission was so obvious that it had to be intentional. And the only reason you are that intentionally wrong about something that obvious is because your goal, as with far too many teachers, is to make the opposite of obvious the norm in any way you can.
Teachers were so convinced they were close to reaching their endgame on that front that they have been, ahem, “Nefariously”outing themselves on social media in recent years as the proud groomers of your children into heretofore undiscovered and unexplored gender identities. And to the degree you found a shred of dignity within yourself to begin asking some questions about the need for trans porn or drag queen story hours under the banner of education, you would get slapped with the domestic terrorist label faster than you can say “David French.”
It all happened to a people who figured such a thing could never occur in a nation of laws such as our own. But slavery did. Abortion did. Gay marriage did. All under the banner of “the law” in a land where the people forgot that an unjust law is, in fact, no law at all.
Thank God one of those people didn’t turn out to be Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds. By all accounts, no one would ever confuse her with me. She’s as nice as they come, and I’m me. But when it comes to political will, boy howdy. The woman speaks softly but carries a big damn stick and swings for the fences with it.
Bad Republicans who stood in her way were primaried and voted out after they betrayed her on school choice last year. Then she got an even more aggressive and comprehensive school choice bill passed this year. As for Democrats, they tried all the same old lies that worked time and time again over the years about separation of church and state and diversity and teachers with hearts of gold. None of which they mean or have ever meant. Finally, Reynolds got the GOP not to care.May more Republican Parties in more states must do the same and govern accordingly.