Discover more from Oklahoma Columnist, by Clay Horning
Ryan Walters, others like him, never tell us how, never offer details, never bring the facts
Oklahoma's superintendent of public instruction was at it again this week on yet another sojourn for no purpose other than to sew more seeds of cultural warfare
They never tell you how.
Have you noticed this phenomenon?
They never tell you how.
When Kevin Stitt, our governor, congratulated himself for saving girls and women’s sports from transgender athletes, not once did he explain how girls and women’s sports in Oklahoma were under siege by transgender athletes because they weren’t and aren’t still.
When House Republicans, in Washington, not here, scream the Justice Department has been weaponized against folks like them, or Donald Trump, or Jan. 6 perpetrators, never do they wade into the weeds to make their points on the merits, and they don’t because they can’t, because the moment they do it the falsity of their claims become more clear and because, oh yeah, there’s a mountain of evidence and it’s not on their side.
All of which, of course, because it always seems to, leads us to whatever it is Ryan Walters, our state superintendent of public instruction, was up to Tuesday and Wednesday in our nation’s capital and beyond, and to help get us there, here’s the headline atop the reporting of Oklahoma Voice’s Nuria Martinez-Keel, whose story beneath can be found here, at Oklahoma Voice’s website, and here, too, at The Oklahoman’s website:
“Walters alleges Chinese communist influence in schools during D.C. hearing.”
As reported by Martinez-Keel, Walters called Chinese influence both “pressing and deeply concerning.”
If any of this sounds familiar, it’s a leftover from Walters’ silly war with Tulsa Public Schools, a loose end he’s hoping he can swing around, throw at a wall and see what sticks, the whole idea to put him in greater favor with the cuckoo, culture war wing of the Republican Party.
“You have communist China that is giving money to Tulsa Public Schools in order to try to undermine our United States government, our country. It’s unbelievable,” he said at the time.
The truth, however, is thus, as Martinez-Keel wrote Tuesday:
The Tulsa district has denied receiving any funds from the Chinese government. The district paid for a Chinese language teacher at Booker T. Washington High School to take professional development sessions from a Confucius Classroom Coordination Office at the International Leadership of Texas Charter Schools.
Previously, it should probably be pointed out, the Tulsa World reported Confucius Classroom ultimately originates from a non-governmental organization in China with sponsorship from China’s education ministry and, three years prior, from an actual Chinese government office.
Still, as I pointed out when first addressing the issue, where would Walters prefer Chinese language programs come from, France?
Nevertheless, though it remains a mystery how any language program might politically influence American students, to say nothing of having any evidence it actually does, none of it could keep Walters from the dog and pony show a U.S. House education subcommittee, led by Republicans, conducted Tuesday.
“Through programs such as Confucius Classrooms, we are allowing a hostile foreign anti-democratic government foothold into our schools,” Walters said.
Perhaps he ought to know, and certainly the folks who invited him into Tuesday’s hearing ought to know, because if anybody knows anything about pushing an anti-democratic government foothold into not just our schools, but American life, it’s the cuckoo, culture war branch of the Republican Party, some members of which have been elected right here in Oklahoma.
But I digress.
Where was I?
Ah, yes, they never tell you how.
What is it about this language program that’s attempting to influence American students, indoctrinate American students, turn American students against their country?
Quote the material.
Make it clear.
Do that and you might get past the choir and score some real conversions.
But it never happens.
Walters and his ilk traffic in bones with no meat on them.
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Following his subcommittee appearance, Walters tweeted out a picture of himself in the hearing room. Above that picture were these words.
“Communism will not be forced on our kids.”
Do you think we should tell him, though the Chinese Communist Party sticks with the old brand, even it gave up real communism decades ago, deciding it needed to be an authoritarian economic power instead?
Really, the only thing positive you can say about Walters on this one is he knows how to make the most of his travel budget, because the next morning, he could be found on Fox News’ “American Newsroom.”
That appearance came with a tweet, too, from the apparent green room, before heading out on air, complete with a picture of him thumbing through the morning papers.
He’s actually holding a copy of the Washington Post, very off-brand of him, unless what he was really doing was removing it to grab The Wall Street Journal underneath, which is still kind of off brand for him, its continued adherence to facts and everything.
I’m afraid I can’t tell you what he said once getting on camera. I didn’t watch and I can’t find a story detailing the appearance.
I can only tell you what he failed to make clear, because it’s what he always fails to make clear.
Like the cuckoos he runs with, he did not get into the details, he did not explain how everything he claims to be happening is really actually happening, he did not offer anything new, or old, that would stand up to critical interrogation.
He did not explain how.
He never does.
They never do.