RFK Loses Oregon—Again

Concerned about his chances of victory heading into the state’s 1968 Democratic presidential primary, Robert Kennedy described Oregon as a hard state for him to win, because “I appeal best to people who have problems.” A little more than half a century later, the comparatively moderate RFK would have found a far more troubled state, though Oregon Democrats’ reception of him would not have been any less frosty.

To wit: the racist, collectivist Left has come to indoctrinate Oregon’s children.

As reported by Fox News’ Jessica Chasmar:

The Oregon Department of Education (ODE) adopted . . . new standards to integrate ethnic studies in social studies curricula for kindergarten through 12th grade, adding new ‘perspectives and histories’ to allow students to ‘feel welcome and recognized in the classroom and a part of our collective narrative, our shared history,’ an ODE spokesman told Fox News Digital.

Delving into the ODE’s aim to radically indoctrinate Oregon’s children, one plainly sees the collectivist Left’s goal: to make America’s youth dumbed-down, docile, paranoid, and dependent upon a socialist government.

Thus, for kindergartners, the new standards require them to “engage in respectful dialogue with classmates to define diversity comparing and contrasting visible and invisible similarities and differences.” This indoctrinates the children into thinking of themselves as part of a collective rather than as individuals.

Further, the standards would also “develop an understanding of one’s own identity groups including, but not limited to, race, gender, family, ethnicity, culture, religion, and ability,” [and] “make connections identifying similarities and differences including race, ethnicity, culture, disability, and gender between self and others.”

Building upon the collective redefinition of self, these standards usher in either self-hatred for being born into an allegedly evil racial group or the hatred of others for being in said group. Such indoctrination is bound to make both the self-hating and the other-hating student paranoid regarding the intentions—indeed, the existence—of “the other.” 

Finally, just to ensure no time is wasted during these indoctrination sessions, students will also be compelled to “identify examples of unfairness or injustice towards individuals or groups and the ‘change-makers,’ who worked to make the world better” [and] “identify possible solutions to injustices that demonstrate fairness and empathy.” Despite the educational gobbledygook, on its face, this standard exists to begin the process of identifying and inculcating within kindergartners the leftist role models and the radical public policy they must strive to emulate and implement.

After kindergarten, first graders can look forward to “describ[ing] how individual and group characteristics are used to divide, unite, and categorize racial, ethnic, and social groups.” This standard will reinforce the collectivist sense of self among students, and set forth the “right” characteristics used to unite people and the “wrong” characteristics used to divide people. One doubts if the ODE’s new standards will be allowed to be used as an example of how to divide people on the basis of race. 

Second graders will be instructed to “use listening, consensus-building, and voting procedures to decide on and take informed action to interrupt injustice or promote justice in their community.” By now, the ODE isn’t even trying to hide its aims. This standard speaks for itself.

By the time kids reach the third grade, they should be well on their way to becoming members of the Oregonian Red Guard. These eight-year-olds will be compelled to “identify how systems of power, including white supremacy, institutional racism, racial hierarchy, and oppression affect the perspectives of different individuals and groups when examining an event, issue, or problem with an emphasis on multiple perspectives.” This standard is the abject disavowal of objective truth in a nation built upon the self-evident truths that undergird one’s God-given individual liberty that no collective can infringe.

In sum, the ODE’s new standards constitute a subversive attack on the familial, moral, and political foundations of our nation; and a betrayal of the next generation’s need for critical, independent thinking to reach their full potential and pursue their happiness in an environment of ordered liberty.

Of course, the mealy-mouthed ODE dissembled and hid behind a strawman: “An ODE spokesman specified in a statement to Fox News Digital that local school boards adopt curriculum to meet state standards set forth by the department, and that Critical Race Theory ‘is not mandated in any standards.’”

While the ODE prefers to call it “racial equity,” this red herring fools no one. These standards encapsulate precisely the racist, leftist indoctrination that parents across America are protesting. And this thorn by any other name is clearly in these new standards; and these new standards that will “affect every grade, are currently optional and will not be mandated in schools until the 2026-2027 school year.” (Emphasis added.)

But, per the ODE, what of the legions of 5-year-olds demanding change? “Students are ready for systems and institutions to change. Creating a just and equitable learning environment that embraces the history and experiences of its learners is not only good for students, but also for our communities and our shared future.” There is nothing just nor equitable nor educational about indoctrinating racial hatred, or cheating children of an education in the name of slaking a leftist’s self-anointed savior complex.

Still, what would one expect from an education bureaucracy whose director of assessment believes: “the history of standardized testing was framed and came from white supremacist or eugenicist sources;” that it “was both founded in and used as a weapon for purveyors of white supremacy”; and, further, that the state’s “standards, curriculum, instruction, and assessment have centered in whiteness contributing to the racist education outcomes that we are familiar with”?

His solution? “We’re working to identify racist policies and practices that we can influence so we can disrupt them. . . . We are going to do everything we can to disrupt them.”

“By indoctrinating kids with a different kind of racism,” should have been the next clause.

It is a shame logic isn’t part of the new standards. But then logic—and decency—would preclude the new standards’ adoption and implementation. Logic—or at least the “organic logic” of the director’s ideology—would have precluded him from taking a position in which he, by his own definition, couldn’t fully perform because . . . he’s a white male: “We need standardization in order for test results to be comparable, but I do think it’s a question that’s worthy of interrogation. It’s not a question that I, as a white male, should come out and answer, whether I have an opinion on it or not.”

Yes, Oregon taxpayers are sure getting their money’s worth out of their education bureaucracy.

Not that they are getting any better out of Oregon’s governor and legislature, where the dumbing down and indoctrination of children is compelled, if not celebrated. Recall how in 2021 Oregon’s Democrat Governor Kate Brown quiescently signed the patronizingly racist bill eliminating a requirement that high school students must prove their proficiency in reading, writing, or math prior to graduation. (Evidently, the law could remain in effect for five years, after which time new requirements may be implemented. Any bets on whether the state will reinstitute the old proficiency requirements?) 

Then the racist Left gives the game away: rather than raise the outcomes for all children, they lower outcomes for all children—all in the service of their false secular sacrament of “racial equity” within their collectivist civil religion.

On April 4, 1968, the night Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, a stunned Robert Kennedy offered impromptu remarks at an Indianapolis campaign rally to a crowd of anguished, angry African Americans. In a part pertinent to this discussion, he said:

What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence and lawlessness, but is love, and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or whether they be black . . .

But the vast majority of white people and the vast majority of black people in this country want to live together, want to improve the quality of our life, and want justice for all human beings that abide in our land.

And let’s dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world. Let us dedicate ourselves to that, and say a prayer for our country and for our people.

Thus, over 50 years later, history reveals RFK wholly missed the political mark regarding Oregon. For, while Oregon now has problems, it still rejects him. For it is precisely the compassionate vision articulated and lived both by MLK and RFK that Oregon’s state government and department of education, and the entire American Left have rejected and reviled as “color-blindness” in their weaponization of race and pursuit of socialist collectivism.

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About Thaddeus G. McCotter

An American Greatness contributor, the Hon. Thaddeus G. McCotter (M.C., Ret.) represented Michigan’s 11th Congressional district from 2003 to 2012 and served as Chair of the Republican House Policy Committee. Not a lobbyist, he is a frequent public speaker and moderator for public policy seminars, and a Monday co-host of the "John Batchelor Show" among sundry media appearances.

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