In a Wednesday committee hearing, Democrat Rep. Hank Johnson smeared all parents who advocate for their children at school board meetings as “MAGA Republicans” who “descend[ed] on their school board meetings” in a “coordinated attack.”
“People on the local level at affected school board meetings, they won’t forget the MAGA Republicans descending on their school board meetings after January 6 — like January 6,” Johnson stated. “It was a coordinated attack happening across the country.”
The parents to whom Johnson is referring garnered national attention after they showed up peacefully to give public comment and protest at their children’s school board meetings in response to draconian Covid-19 mandates, critical race theory, and wildly inappropriate sexual content in public schools. Unlike a few rioters who were present on Jan. 6, parents at school board meetings almost universally followed rules for public comment and protested without bucking established rules and laws.
Asra Q. Nomani, a mom from Fairfax County, Virginia, and a senior contributor at The Federalist, is one of the parents who spoke up. Nomani stood in front of her school board in March to describe the “new racism” pushed by the school system directed toward Asian Americans like herself, “whose children’s success in K-12 schools belie the notion that systemic racism oppresses all minorities.” Like thousands of other parents, she exercised her freedoms of speech and assembly nonviolently.
Former Disney star Leigh-Allyn Baker is another parent who took to her children’s school board meeting, to voice her opinions against the school’s mask mandate. In addition to concerns about children not being able to properly “breathe oxygen” through masks, her main point was this: “The real part of the clown show is that you all think that you actually have the authority to mandate this.” Baker was not violent while addressing the school board, nor did she start a riot or “insurrection.”
But even after Democrats spent months describing fiery riots perpetrated by their own ideologues as “mostly peaceful protests,” they were more than willing — as Johnson did — to smear these parents for daring to speak out against local tyrants.
The National School Boards Association went so far as to equate these parents’ peaceful assembly and speech “to a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes” in a letter asking the Biden administration and federal law enforcement to go after parents using domestic terrorism laws. Attorney General Merrick Garland used the letter as an excuse to sic the FBI and state attorneys on parents, even though most of the examples in the NSBA letter never warranted arrests or charges even at the local level. It was soon revealed that Biden’s Education Secretary Miguel Cardona appeared to have commissioned the letter, and the NSBA issued an apology for sending it. Democrats like Johnson, however, are still spreading its lies.
Johnson’s statement also exposes Democrats’ continued distortion and obsession over the events at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. There were some people who did riot and forcibly enter the Capitol almost two years ago. But there were also thousands of Americans who peacefully protested in Washington D.C. that day, concerned about the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election results. Unfortunately, Democrats refuse to make this distinction, instead lumping all people there that day (and indeed, all of their political opponents) into the category of “insurrectionist.”
Johnson’s baseless accusations and comparison of concerned parents to rioters are false and damaging, and show just how exhaustively Democrats will use “Jan. 6” smears as a political cudgel. All that his comments achieve is misconstruing what is actually happening at school board meetings and furthering the divide in our nation.
Sophia is an intern at The Federalist and a student at Le Moyne College. She majors in English and intends to pursue a career in journalism.
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