James "Smokey" Shott

Lately, we have seen two occasions where certain parties have exaggerated descriptions of some events to make them seem more serious than they actually were. Two immediately come to mind: The January 6th “insurrection” at the U.S. Capitol; and the “domestic terrorism” at some local school board meetings.

Let’s take a look at these terms and allegations.

Insurrection: What it is: a violent armed uprising by a group or movement acting for the specific purpose of overthrowing the constituted government and seizing its powers.

What it isn’t: Insurrection is not a lot of people, nearly all of whom were unarmed, who illegally entered a government building, even if they were intent upon interrupting the work of those who occupy that building. The January 6th event at the U.S. Capitol Building was illegal and wrong — perhaps even an actual riot — but it was not an insurrection.

This common-sense evaluation was confirmed by the FBI, which Reuters reported “has found scant evidence that the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol was the result of an organized plot to overturn the presidential election result, according to four current and former law enforcement officials.”

When parents attend their children’s school board meeting and issue complaints against activities, and criticism of the school or the school system, even if they are angry and accusatory, they are not “domestic terrorists.” and if there were threats made against those associated with the school system, they may be minor crimes, but not “domestic terrorism.” This allegation and misuse of the term is irrational and disgraceful.

As reported by The Daily Signal, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland ordered the FBI and federal prosecutors to meet with federal, state, and local leaders to look into a “disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence” allegedly being made against “school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff.”

Garland’s directive followed soon after the National School Boards Association (NSBA) requested President Joe Biden to assist in looking into behavior it absurdly classified as “domestic terrorism.”

However, the actions favored by the NSBA, if granted, are likely to inhibit the ability of voters and parents to make their opinions known to the board. Even the foolish mischaracterization of these events is enough to inhibit some from exercising their constitutional rights and responsibilities in speaking out against what their children’s schools are doing.

This is yet one more episode where the federal government is improperly imposing its will over the guaranteed freedoms of the people.

This increasing misapplication of terrifying terms to make things seem far worse than they are is not the proper way to do things in America. It is a cheap political ploy designed to arouse false negative feelings, and to stifle opposition to unpopular policies. This is especially true when these preposterous over-reaches are done by public servants and/or elected representatives.

Most local school boards are elected by voters, and are therefore accountable to those voters and the parents of school children. They do not have the luxury of ignoring complaints and appeals for change.

They also do not have the luxury of stifling the free speech of those voters and parents simply because they disagree with their complaints. They are elected servants of the people, not the rulers of the people.

This school board hoopla has spurred the idea of finding alternatives to government schools. This authoritarian behavior is the biggest boost to that idea that has come along lately.

An unresponsive school board runs the risk of parents saying they are finished with the arrogant attitude of the board, and will remove their child or children from the public school to one of the alternatives: charter schools, so long as they retain their independence; private or religious schools; or home schooling.

To what are these parents objecting? In what is likely the most reported of these conflicts, Loudoun County, Virginia, the Democrat-controlled board of supervisors and school board are trying to promote Critical Race Theory (CRT), and silence the opposition, as reported by Real Clear Politics (RCP).

Such a radical change in the history curriculum, without even notifying parents, let alone asking their opinion, does not sit well with true Americans, who expect — and deserve — transparency from their elected public servants.

We must not allow public education to become indoctrination.

James H. “Smokey” Shott, a resident of Bluefield, Va., is a Daily Telegraph columnist. Contact him at shottcommentary@gmail.com

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