Henderson and his Free Press colleagues, who love teachers’ unions, hate charter schools. Last year the Free Press published an entire series bashing charter schools and setting up a series of editorials denouncing the whole idea that they should exist at all. Charter schools, of course, are state-funded public schools that function independent of school districts and often are not unionized. They have to be chartered by a university, and their purpose is to provide an alternative for children who would otherwise be trapped in failing traditional schools.
(Two bits of disclosure before I continue: 1. I occasionally contribute columns to the rival Detroit News. 2. For two years I served on the board of a charter school, including the period when the Free Press was running its anti-charter school series.)
This is important as background because Michigan’s Republican-controlled Legislature is working through the difficult job of crafting a bailout for the horrendously managed Detroit Public Schools – a bill that will likely include governing reforms that Democrats hate, as do their allies at the Free Press editorial page. Henderson and company are upset that Republicans want the DPS to change its ways, but they’re not prepared to bring the hammer down on charters.
How upset is Henderson about this? Well . . . pretty upset:
We really ought to round up the lawmakers who took money to protect and perpetuate the failing charter-school experiment in Detroit, sew them into burlap sacks with rabid animals, and toss them into the Straits of Mackinac.
That’s harsh. Maybe.
But isn’t that what the Romans or Greeks or some other early practitioners of democracy used to do with solicitous and unprincipled public officials?
The Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto notes how rich this is coming from the media establishment that is horrified by the things Donald Trump says. Indeed it is, but even most of the liberal media establishment isn’t calling for Republicans to be killed just because they pass school reform bills the left doesn’t like. In that respect, Henderson is a trailblazer.
And maybe he is ahead of the curve. If you observe the political class (and that includes the establishment media), you’ll notice that they admit to believing things once they believe it’s publicly acceptable to do so. Ten years ago they would not have advocated gay marriage, even if they privately thought it was OK, because they didn’t think the public would accept their saying such a thing. Five years ago, it would have been unheard of to favor sending bakery owners to sensitivity training for declining to bake a cake – even though these committed newsroom liberals probably believed in the sanctity of their own domain that it was perfectly justified.
Today, they perceive that cultural attitudes are more willing to accept their fascist tendencies, so they express them a little more openly. In the liberal ivory towers of the Free Press, fantasies about Republicans being mauled by wild animals and thrown off bridges are probably commonly shared. But actually write it in the paper? Not unless you think the public is ready for that sort of thing.
I guess Stephen Henderson decided it was time to take the leap. And if someone like me calls him out for it, hey, I’m easy enough to dismiss as a white racist from the suburbs. I hope those burlap sacks are being stitched by union labor, and that they’re hauling the would-be murder victims up to Mackinac in UAW-made cars. Steve can only take so much of this garbage!