Perception always supersedes reality. In my practice of law, I always told clients that cases did not have facts. They had an “aura.” It is the narrative that a judge or jury perceives regardless of the facts.
For instance, a witness who tells one small lie will not be believed no matter how much he later testifies truthfully. On the stage of life, we are typecast by the perceptions of others. And if that typecast is negative, the worst thing we can do is to confirm that perception; or, as a casting director might say, “play to type.”
On May 1, 2019, the North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE) will play to type. Thousands of teachers are scheduled to ditch classes and march on the state legislature. The march is sponsored by this supposedly non-partisan, educational association.
It’s not. It’s a union.
That union will march right into the hands of those who question the need for greater investment in education. We need that investment. Yet the teachers’ upcoming protest will do their cause more harm than good.
In general, there’s nothing wrong with a union march. But, by its aura, the NCAE is a self-declared radical union. And for that reason, On May 1 when the NCAE “plays to type,” to the detriment of teachers and children alike, many North Carolinians will oppose its message.
The NCAE Teachers’ May Day march will form behind its logo. It is a red fist raised violently. It is a symbol of militancy. It actually mimics a violent gesture for which a student might be disciplined. The symbol pays homage to the radical violence of the 1960s.
Even the choice of the color red is significant. That is the color adopted by socialist and communist leaders to symbolize the militancy of the proletariat. It is the color of the Bolshevik banners displayed during the Russian Revolution. It is, in fact, the color of communist banners from Spain to China.
Now, that last deduction might be a stretch. Red often symbolizes benign sports teams. It is the shade we color Republican states. But when red is used in the context of worker rights and is coupled with a clenched fist, the innuendo is socialism.
Of course, if we ask a teacher, he will say he is not a socialist. He just wants more pay. But the symbolism is not lost on the well-educated NCAE leadership. They know the meaning of the symbols they adopted. The fact that teachers are just out to make a decent living is not as relevant as the aura the leadership creates. It makes teachers pawns in the cause of their leaders’ radicalism.
Even the May Day date plays to type. It is International Workers Day. The “holiday” was established by an international association of socialist and communist political organizations. In 1904, the Sixth Conference of the Second (Workers’) International meeting in Amsterdam called upon all labor to demonstrate on that day for “the class demands of the proletariat.” Today, May Day is still one of the most important holidays in the People’s Republic of China and North Korea.
During the Cold War, when May Day and socialism were favored less than the NCAE leadership favors it today, President Eisenhower counter-designated May 1 as Law Day USA. That designation was, in fact, an anti-communist political statement separating American free labor from communist slave labor.
When the NCAE marches down Jones Street in Raleigh with their red fist held high, there will be no room for Republicans. In 2018, the NCAE closely coordinated its march with the North Carolina Democratic Party. The two groups registered marchers through mutual links between the organizations’ websites. By aligning itself with Democrats and their socialist rock stars like Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the NCAE erodes bipartisan support for education.
Some might say that fists, colors and a May 1 alternative to a maypole dance do not amount to “creeping socialism.” But aura is reality. Public school teachers who march behind a closed fist on a communist holiday make a compelling case for charter schools and vouchers. Our educators need support from a consensus of voters. The conduct of the NCAE is antithetical to that goal. Both teachers and their union must “unclench their fist and extend their hand.”