Book banning, forcing people into the closet, even childbirth death: The GOP can’t wait to bring it all back.
1955, William F. Buckley of the National Review famously defined his magazine’s mission — and that of conservatism broadly: To stand “athwart history, yelling ‘Stop!'” The quote frequently gets romanticized, though it should not.
Buckley wrote his mission statement a mere month before the Montgomery bus boycott began and a year after Brown vs. the Board of Education was decided. He did not hide that the “radical social experimentation” he decried was desegregation. In the 21st century, however, conservatism — which has become indistinguishable from Republicanism — is no longer content with just trying to stop or slow down progress. Nowadays, Republicans are hellbent on re-litigating seemingly every battle they’ve lost over the decades. In some cases, over a century’s worth of progress is being targeted for elimination.
They don’t just want to “stop” history —they want to erase it.
Indeed, that is what this “critical race theory” hoax that has the right all riled up is all about. Under the guise of battling “critical race theory” — which is almost never taught in public schools — Republicans are trying to ban books that cover the civil rights movement and intimidating history teachers into pretending the 50s and 60s never happened. Buckley may not have been able to “stop” the civil rights activists he loathed so much, but his Republican descendants are intent on hiding the fact that the movement for civil rights ever happened.
The book banning frenzy is just the tip of the iceberg, however. It’s now clear that Republicans want to revive every political fight they’ve lost, going back at least to Buckley’s time and, in some cases, even before it.