Illinois Democrats Launch a Cultural Revolution
E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune via AP, Pool, File
Illinois Democrats Launch a Cultural Revolution
E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune via AP, Pool, File
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In these head-spinning times, first principles about government are all in play: what it’s for, and how it relates to the people.

Not long ago, Democrat and Republican politicians and activists differed over priorities: More guns or more butter?  Today, the parties differ more fundamentally over the purpose, role and function of government itself.

The foundational view that government should be of, by and for the people is rooted in the idea that each human being has equal standing, with the unalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. This view, largely held by Republicans today, holds that government exists to serve people, not rule over them. We put our faith in the common wisdom of voters and believe representatives should serve the people who elect them.

By contrast, progressives believe that elected representatives should “lead” people, not serve them. They scoff at equality and believe some people are morally better, more enlightened, and awake to social injustices — and that government and activists composed of these people should drive change. This is evident in the progressive attitude toward common people (viewed as “deplorables” who “cling to guns or religion”) and the casual casting of moral aspersions at traditionalists (labeling them “racists,” “Nazis,” “haters”).

Progressives view themselves as an enlightened “vanguard of a class ... [whose] duty is to lead the masses and not merely reflect the average political level of the masses.” (V.I. Lenin, November 1917). 

Is it unfair to compare today’s progressives to Lenin? Consider that among Lenin’s “April Theses” of 1917 was a call for the abolition of the police and the army and the confiscation of land and wealth. “Defunding police” and “abolishing ICE” are Democrat policies, not Republican caricatures. Earlier this year, Illinois Democrats decriminalized trespassing, prohibiting police and property owners from arresting or forcibly removing trespassers from private property.

None of these policies reflect the majority will of the people of Illinois.

The radical elitism of today’s Illinois Democrats is reflected in the legislature’s passage of the so-called “National Sex Education Standards” as the law of Illinois.

Despite the anodyne name, these “National Standards” reflect the viewpoint of a small minority of Illinoisans; these standards not only reject traditional sexual morality, but even reject the once-liberal perspective on universal reproductive health education as discriminatory.

Here’s the stated philosophy behind the sex education standards that Illinois Democrats enacted:  “Sex education should avoid cisnormative, heteronormative approaches, aim to strengthen young people’s capacity to challenge harmful stereotypes, and be inclusive of a wide range of viewpoints and populations without stigmatizing any group. It should acknowledge the role that structural and contextual factors — personal, interpersonal, social, economic, and cultural — play in shaping adolescents’ sexual motivations and behaviors, with the fundamental goal of removing economic-, racial-, ethnic-, gender-, sexual orientation-, and ability-related disparities in adolescent sexual health.”

Under this construct, focusing on reproductive health is illegal because it’s “heteronormative.”  Instead, Democrats have enacted an elementary school curriculum focused on instruction about the full range of sexuality, sex acts and gender perception that’s straight out of college gender studies programs.

For example, kindergartners will be taught about consent and distinctions between sex assigned at birth and perceived gender, third-graders will learn about the availability of hormone blockers to forestall puberty, and sixth-graders will learn about vaginal, anal and oral sex.

The firm of Ogden & Fry conducted polling earlier this month and found that 70%-80% of Illinoisans oppose each of these curriculum topics that will become Illinois law if Gov. J.B. Pritzker signs the bill.

Why would Democrats vote for a bill that 70%-80% of Illinoisans oppose? Is this government of, by and for the people? Democrats today are not our parents’ Democrats. They do not share with the Republican Party a common perspective on government as a tool to serve the people. Democrats are embracing and enacting legislation that reflects disdain for common people and a passion for smashing traditional ideas, culture, habits and customs.  (Note that “Smashing the Four Olds” -- ideas, culture, habits and customs -- was Mao’s slogan for the Cultural Revolution he launched 55 years ago and that tore apart China for 10 long years thereafter.)

The question for elections to come: Will a majority of Illinoisans vote for legislators who respect and wish to serve the people or will enough of the majority be shamed and bullied into voting for the progressive vanguard to keep Illinois Democrats in power?

Don Tracy is a lawyer in Springfield, Ill., and chairman of the Illinois Republican Party.



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