A beast prowls the land. Its purpose is to halt anything smacking of progress, education or enlightenment — to drag society backward to when men were men, women stayed in their places and people of color cowered behind closed doors. Its tools are fear-mongering and crushing of free-thinking. Their “platform” is one of negativity — don’t do that, no taxes, no thinking, no school support, deny institutions funding if they don’t believe “correctly.”

Trying to understand what the reactionary right believes is exhausting. I depend on facts, science, reasoning and trust to assemble a sane life. Those processes are absent from the right’s strange construct of fear, nativism, anger and control. Apparently, if I won’t think as they do, I am not a patriot, not Christian, not intelligent or perceptive.

Devaluing education, and deliberate misconstruing of the meaning of the word itself, are a case in point. Education does not mean protecting people from new ideas. It does not mean ignoring scientific facts. It does not mean protecting a child from everything you don’t believe in.

It does mean allowing a mishmash of ideas to muddy a person’s life so they learn to work their way through to something they really can live with. I’d be ashamed to have so little confidence in my child’s thinking abilities (or those of a friend or relative) that I would shield them from a world of thought and exploration. Taking a child’s mind hostage so as to create clones of oneself is sinful.

Louise Nelson

Idaho Falls