Van Fleet: No, President Biden, They’re Not Your Kids

The below op-ed first appeared in the Washington Times.

When President Biden said that “our nation’s children are all our children,” and his press secretary doubled down by saying your children “belong to all of us,” it sounded hauntingly familiar. I heard the same thing growing up in Mao’s China.

To American parents, it should sound as a warning siren. They are indeed after our children.

They truly believe that the government has the inherent right to co-parent our children. They will eventually try to totally replace parents and become the sole owners of our children, just as Mao and the Chinese Communist Party have done. They don’t even seem to bother to hide their intent anymore.

How did Mao and the CCP sever the ties between children and parents in China and turn children into state property? They started by taking control of the education system. In a remarkably short period of time after taking over China in 1949, the CCP transformed schools into indoctrination mills. They used schools to undermine Chinese culture and traditional values.

The millennial-old Confucius tradition of filial piety (children should respect and care for their parents) was discarded as out-of-date feudal garbage. Teachers were “reeducated” in the new Marxist ideology. Every teacher understood that their role was to be an indoctrinator for the party rather than an educator. The government brought in new textbooks: History was rewritten while Marxist ideology was injected into reading, math and science curricula. The government schools have been in operation ever since.

I and millions of other Chinese children were taught that we were not our parents’ children but the children of the party and Chairman Mao, and our loyalty should always be to them first. Meanwhile, the parents were told that their children belong to the state first and their job was to help the state prepare their children to be the successors of the Communist cause. One song that we sang as schoolchildren captured this: “Sky is vast. Earth is vast. Neither is as vast as the Party’s benevolence. Father is dear. Mother is dear. Neither is as dear as Chairman Mao.”

While this might sound silly to some Americans, the consequences of this brainwashing were deadly serious. Children and parents alike turned on one another for showing insufficient loyalty to the party. In one case, a 16-year-old boy reported his mother for “counterrevolutionary” remarks at home. She was shot two months later. This was by no means an isolated case during the Chinese Cultural Revolution.

The Chinese Cultural Revolution not only destroyed families but also destroyed an entire generation of youth who carried out the revolution for Mao as his Red Guards. After completing the mission to seize power for Mao from his political enemies, the Red Guards were promptly discarded by Mao and sent to the countryside to receive their reeducation from the peasants. They are called the lost generation.

It is becoming clear that this has also been one of the most sinister parts of the radical left’s cultural revolution agenda in America: To take control of the children by replacing the bond between parent and child with loyalty to “woke” orthodoxy. They hope to achieve this goal through control of the education system.

Their agenda has steadily trickled down to our schools. Teachers are openly saying that a parent’s right to know what their children are being taught in schools is “gone when your child is in the public school system.” Meanwhile, school administrators are “socially transitioning” children while hiding it from parents and even refusing to tell parents something as important as if their child is receiving counseling at school. That’s how they are replacing parents with the state and replacing loyalty to the family with loyalty to “woke” ideology and its progressive cause. Parents who speak up against their agenda are condemned as domestic terrorists, racists or extremists.

Compare this to the wave of young people in America today denouncing their parents for refusing to go along with the left’s denunciation of American history or embrace of radical gender theory. Just as teachers in CCP China taught children to turn against their parents for opposing party ideology, some teachers in America today are encouraging students to reject their parents if their parents refuse to embrace the radical left’s social politics.

Shockingly, what happened in China during the Cultural Revolution is happening here in America, as in the case of Jackson Reffitt. Mr. Reffitt, 19, disagreed with his father’s conservative politics. He reported his father to the authorities for holding “extreme right-wing” views and later for being on Capitol grounds on Jan. 6 while carrying a gun. His father was sentenced to seven years in prison.

Just like the CCP and Mao, leftist ideologues in America also brought into the school system Marxist ideology by permeating the curriculum with critical race theory, queer ideology, diversity, equity and inclusion policies, and social and emotional learning while neglecting basic academics. The reason is simple. They are not interested in producing successful adults and future responsible citizens. Their goal is to produce future activists and revolutionaries, or American Red Guards. The radical left seems confident that in the not-too-distant future, they can depend on Generation Z to vote them into permanent power.

To fight back and protect our children, we have to save our schools and defend parental rights.

We need to support political leaders who will put parents back in charge again and end the woke left’s takeover of our education system. We need to send Mr. Biden a strong message: Our children do not belong to you or the state.

That’s why I’m proud to work alongside PACs such as 1776 Action. Through its “Parent Power Pledge” and outreach efforts, voters can be more informed about which politicians are committed to fighting for change once they are elected.

By demanding accountability from our elected officials and rejecting the left’s toxic brand of identity politics, we can prevent America from continuing to go down the same dangerous path as Communist China.