Have you noticed that constant odor coming out of Jefferson City?
It is the rotting stench of the dead “red herrings” thrown down on the trail to keep voters distracted from the truth.
The only reality the governor, the attorney general and the right-wing legislators have to offer is chaos and misinformation. While we citizens try daily to avoid infection, chaos is what they offer.
We are surging through another round of COVID-related denials and obstructions, starting with the governor’s “timely” declaration that the “pandemic emergency is over” — on the very day that the record for new infections was surpassed in our state. It makes you wonder where he gets his information.
Then, as our children and grandchildren return to school after the holiday break, the attorney general threatens to sue any school district that enforces a mask mandate. They don’t even try to hide the right-wing Republican playbook anymore. They just try to distract you from what they’re doing.
At the same time, our hospitals are filling with those same children as patients to the point where — this week — regular doctor visits are being canceled in all parts of our state. Why? Because your primary care practitioner is now needed to fill in the staff shortages at hospitals due to COVID-infected medical personnel. Also, the numbers of medical professionals leaving their profession on a daily basis is rising. Chaos!
Likewise, it's a small wonder that teachers are quitting. They are either taking early retirement or they are resigning, fearful of being infected and taking it home to their families. It’s been proven that children infected in the community are bringing the disease into the schools, not the other way around. Can you blame teachers who have decided it is just not worth it to stay?
The governor’s statements, the attorney general’s filing of lawsuits against our school districts and many of our legislators' words and actions show our educators that they are no longer valued. More chaos — at the dirty hands of Republicans!
And while Boards of Education are struggling to keep schools safe and open, suddenly CRT and The 1619 Project become of supreme importance to our legislators. More “red herrings.”
“Wow,” you say, “that must be a real problem.” Here’s what you find when you research “How many schools in Missouri teach CRT and the 1619 project?”
From MissouriNet: The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has surveyed the state’s roughly 550 K-12 school districts and charter schools to see which ones incorporate the concepts of Critical Race Theory into their classrooms.
Of the 425 districts that responded, one said they work with CRT and three said they include the New York Times 1619 Project. Those districts are Kansas City Public Schools, Hazelwood and University City.
So, in communities where the mix of children from African American homes is higher than the state norm, less than 1 percent of the surveyed Boards of Education have chosen to use a portion of the information from these two programs to supplement their curriculum. Yet this is a major issue for some legislators.
One legislator from St. Charles County has even introduced H.B.1474, a bill that gives any disgruntled parent or group the right to petition to have a duly elected board member removed by petition while only requiring 10 percent of the votes it took to elect. Chaos!
In the near future, former elected officials and other leaders will be speaking out on these issues and about the current elected officials who are spreading the disinformation, the misinformation and the chaos throughout our state.
Barry Rowell is a former Springfield fire chief and grandfather of eight.
This article originally appeared on Springfield News-Leader: Red herrings and chaos: Missouri Republicans distract from COVID-19 issues