For the last several years The Left has decided that conversation and debate are worthless. They are not going to debate policy anymore. They are not going to debate curriculums. They are not going to debate what the healthiest ethos for society or schools is. They are not interested in facts-based analysis or data driven conclusions. The Left is interested in power. They have learned that the easiest way to get power is to bully. They label entire swaths of the American populous as deficient human beings incapable of compassion, care and empathy or rational thought. In 2016 Hillary Clinton described many Americans as “Deplorables”. In 2008 Joe Biden said Mitt Romney wanted to “put y’all back in chains” to a group of black constituents. The obvious conclusion being that anyone who might endorse or vote for Romney was a, wait for it, racist. The left has been bullying for decades. So, it is not surprising that in little ole’ Oskaloosa, Iowa left-leaning School Board Vice President Charlie Comfort put on his bully pants when met with rational opposition from parents concerned about curriculum proposals.
In an email response to a concerned tax paying mother of four children enrolled in Oskaloosa Public School programs, Charlie Comfort said, “I don’t know if this is some attempt to ‘white wash’ history or what, but it is not appreciated by this school board member, nor does it earn my respect.” What were the concerns of the parents Mr. Comfort is attacking? Concerns over the timing of Civil Rights material. That is, should we introduce certain Civil Rights themes to second graders? Right away we notice that Mr. Comfort’s response makes no logical sense. White washing history is what people do when they remove statues from parks and censor historical reality. For example, claiming the BLM protest/riots were “mostly peaceful” while the trucker protests sans riots in Canada are “hateful” and “racist” and “destructive”. Parents being concerned over the timing of curriculum introduction is not white-washing history. Nevertheless, rather than dealing with the concrete concerns of a Mother Mr. Comfort moves straight to name calling. A tactic commonly employed by bullies. Mr. Comfort is not alone.
Oskaloosa parents who shared curriculum concerns were recently slandered as “racists” and “bigots” by anonymous Facebook commentators. As much as The Left want parents to be racists, Oskaloosa parents don’t object to the Civil Rights material being taught. They are not interested in “white-washing” history as Mr. Comfort accuses this mother of four. The question at issue, which is categorically similar to questions being raised all over our nation about school curriculums,regards the timing of material introduction not the content. To be fair, concerns over content were also raised. However, the issue of Civil Rights was, again, a matter of timing not content. Sadly, Mr. Comfort is clearly not interested in engaging in conversationwith the parents in his district who might disagree with him. He is rather interested in bludgeoning concerned parents into silence like a boringly predictable lunch-room bully. He calls names and imputes unrighteous character qualities in order to silence and gain compliance.
We can also feel Mr. Comfort’s acrimony toward the concerned mother. Mr. Comfort follows up his character assault with a rather pompous retort, “but it is not appreciated by this school board member, nor does it earn my respect.” Mr. Comfort seems to be under the illusion that, after running unopposed in the 2019 school board election, having zero credentials in education, having zero children enrolled in public school education, and having never formally taught, parents in the school district are now to work to earn his respect and admiration. Mr. Comfort is as confused about his relation to parents as he is about his use of the first- and third-person point of view.
This disturbing interaction from the OSB V.P. only compounds the problems the Oskaloosa district and school board have faced in the last several years. The district isbleeding funding and students. Parents are removing their children from Oskaloosa and moving them into North Mahaskaand Pella districts as well as parochial schools and various forms of homeschooling. Their concerns? Safety of children, lackluster educational standards and increasingly poor student performance. A primary and stated goal of the board and districthas been to try and stop the bleeding. Mr. Comfort has an interesting methodology for retention. Bully parents, disregard their concerns, and then assume a position of morally superiorand disapprovingly disappointed father-figure who is obligated to the respect and admiration of subordinates.