One of the best courses I took in high school was an elective entitled "Islam and the West." Examining the cultural, political and literary borderlands between the two spheres, the course provided some of the most educational and edifying lessons of anything I'd found at my school. Those lessons, now eight years on, have helped shape both international and spiritual thought, and have given me an excuse to lug Karen Armstrong's wonderful, and heavily recommended, biography of Muhammad to whichever town will host my secular proclivities.
So you can imagine my glee when, via a recent post from the Texas Freedom Network, I learned that Texas' K-12 students had been taught lessons that "Christianity is a Cult" and "Islam is Awesome."
You'll understand why, as a pink-blooded, libertine journalist -- one who's lived in both former communist and currently Islamic nations, no less -- I was thrilled to learn that the creators of the CSCOPE educational system, offered in more than 700 Texas school districts, were so willing to indoctrinate students with "COMMUNIST, MARXIST, PROGRESSIVE, LEFIST DOGMA, PROPAGANDA, AND INDOCTRINATION." Hearing that "Murder & Extortion" were just Black Panther "strategies"; learning that "The Boston Tea Party was a terrorist attack"; and finding out that the "UN wants zero population growth in the world by 2060" -- it all brought a certain socialist warmth to my America-bashin' heart.
Plus, all this is coming at the expense of the taxpayer? Well, bully for me!
As it is, I only learned of such fine -- and thoroughly real, I'm sure -- courses of study because those killjoys over at the Highland Lakes Tea Party had hosted a gathering in Marble Falls to hear about the schools "declar[ing] war on our children." The hearing, sponsored by the folks behind www.teaparty911.com, would feature Jeanine McGregor, more reverently known as Ms. Mac. (According to the advertisement, Ms. Mac is a "Certified teacher -- all levels." Didn't see her in any of my Rice courses, but I'm sure she'd fit in just fine.)
Alas, my unperturbed joy was short-lived. In a video of the presentation, Ms. Mac, holding forth in front of the required coiled-snake flag of this new Tea Party -- but wasn't the serpent an image of a cloaked Satan? -- spends the first 45 minutes running through rote classroom protocol. When she finally turns to the forthcoming generation of Allah-swaddled and Lenin-lovin' Texans, she ... doesn't have much to say:
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Support Our Journalism
Which is interesting, right? Because if the ad is to be believed -- and, surely, if the Highland Lakes Tea Party would go so far as to pay for advertising, of course they'd present their best face -- you'd think all the elderly white folks populating the audience would want to hear more about how "Christopher Columbus is an Eco-Warrior." But, nothing.
Sure, there were a few gasps when Ms. Mac -- who'd been tabbed by the State Board of Education to research CSCOPE -- noted that students had to memorize verses from the Quran. ("Disturbing," as Ms. Mac editorializes.) And, yeah, there's a bit of a rustle when she talks about how children are asked to design communist flags. (Dude, if this isn't the easiest assignment -- hammer and sickle and plenty of red ink -- I don't know what else is left.) But Ms. Mac, where's the indoctrination we were promised? Where's the murder, the extortion -- all that scarlet blood, the banner of Stalin's million minions -- that the Tea Party has told us exist?
Because, Ms. Mac, I'll be honest: These ads make the Highland Lakes Tea Party look just a bit crazy. They make them look screechy, and conspiratorial, and, well, insane.
And we know that they're anything but, right? I mean, I remember learning in my Islamo-Communist lessons -- all those taxpayer dollars, successfully spent turning me and my generation into followers of Abu Bakr and Lavrentiy Beria -- that the Highland Lakes Tea Party was going to be the most formidable opponent we'd ever know. That we'd need to sharpen our scimitars and gird our Marx for the looming confrontation. Because, as far as I can tell, this isn't high school anymore. This is real life. This is America. And we have to save it before the others get to it first.