By Alexander Lomax
Throughout my lifetime I have seen more than a few instances of parents acting more immaturely than their own children. This phenomenon went on steroids in Scottsdale recently, however, as a group of about 100 adults decided to crash a Scottsdale Unified School Board meeting and refused to wear masks when they were asked to. Once it was clear to the board that the mob was going to remain unreasonable, the board called the meeting to an end.
The surprising part was that those adults were there not to make a statement about masks; they were there to protest “critical race theory”. For those of you who are uninitiated, critical race theory is the new cause du jour for the Sean Hannity/Tucker Carlson wing of Republicans. It is a theory that dictates that there is racism which is structural within many of the levers of power in our society, and that is something we should at least be aware of. This action was just one instance of a larger movement nationally, and while I have serious doubts that SUSD could ever turn into a haven of Wokeness, even the possibility of the depiction of a white majority being anything less than beloved spreaders of freedom and prosperity apparently demands a trigger warning these days.
It’s also worth mentioning that critical race theory is not taught in SUSD, nor was it on the docket or in consideration. Much like questions about the validity of the 2020 elections, a bunch of people allowed themselves to get whipped up in a ridiculous fervor of irrelevance and misplaced anger.
This event nearly perfectly encapsulates the sad decline of America’s self-professed conservatism: you can’t tell us to wear masks, but we’re going to tell you not to dare say anything negative about potential racism. And when challenged, we will dig our feet in, facts be damned. The fact that these adults are demonstrating such a poor example for their children (some of which are presumably students), to not listen to authority and follow rules, is such an ironic bow on top of all of this.
I expect this from other areas in Arizona and the country, not Scottsdale. Scottsdale is not a city of reactionary petulance. We voted out the extremism of Guy Phillips, we voted in a non-discrimination ordinance with a unanimous vote; we are demonstrating the friendly warmth and openness needed from a tourist destination. But some adults just had to act like children and put a dent in those efforts.
I can’t help but think of “the brand”, and wish that conservative organizers could find a cause to rally around that didn’t explicitly or implicitly involve race-baiting. A move back to principles that help ALL of us would be forward-thinking and very welcome, because defending racism and showing spite to science and attempts at risk mitigation is not a particularly good look.