Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Eagle (Forum) has landed

Hi everyone,

I wrote a note back in September about the landing of the Eagle Forum in Wisconsin.

They now have a chapter in Washington County.

Saturday's column.

The Eagle has landed

I remember the thrill of watching Apollo 11 land on the moon and the calm confidence in Neil Armstrong’s voice when he radioed back “Houston, this is Tranquility Base. The Eagle has landed.” Watching human beings land on the moon was an amazing experience.

Not long afterward, a number of comedians joked that if the tables were turned, and Lunar inhabitants had landed on Earth, we might not be quite as thrilled – although it would still be an amazing experience. And that’s what it feels like to know the Eagle Forum has landed here in Wisconsin. It’s like having Moon people land on you.

But why are they here? Following recent failures to block civic progress (like failing to block an improved high school harassment policy that now includes hate speech based in gender preference, or failing to block successful passage of the last school referendum, or failing to prevent citizens from having free access to information in their library) one local group called for outside reinforcements in the form of the anti-equal-rights-for-women and anti-science storm troopers commanded by the redoubtable Phyllis Schlafly.

Phyllis Schlafly has been a hobby of mine since the 1970s. She’s a walking contradiction. While campaigning against the Equal Rights Amendment, editing a monthly newsletter, and earning a law degree from Washington University, Schlafly made a lot of noise criticizing women who, rather than remain bound by the stereotypical 1950s Jello-mold of womanhood, decided to live bigger, freer lives – women like my mom. For instance.

My mom sold real estate, was one of the first financial planners in the country, and now works in the tourism and convention planning industry – and, much to my horror, has become a Republican. My brothers and I are none the worse for wear as a result of her going off to work; in fact, she’s my role model for what a successful woman looks like. She baked great chocolate chip cookies, had a family who loved her deeply, and advised clients on mutual funds. Plus she plays the ukulele.

Schlafly has gone to some trouble over the years to characterize the choices my mom made as examples of a feminist conspiracy responsible for the downfall of American values. I am unable to think of my mom as being responsible for the downfall of American values.

That was then, but nothing has changed. The Eagle Forum’s anti-working woman bias is as silkily toxic and internally contradictory today as it was in Schlafly’s 1970s activism. Their mission statement contains the following plank, splintered through with class warfare.

“We oppose the feminist goal of federally financed and regulated day care.”

Um, wait … do they oppose daycare because they believe no working mom needs daycare for their kids or should expect help from her own government?

This is not the point of view of mothers from planet Earth. This is Moony talk. This is how America looks through the privileged lenses of a law degree and plenty of money. Recent studies from Brandeis University and from the Motherhood Project at the Institute for American Values have demonstrated that most women stay home only because they can’t get a job and that most women who do get a job, work – not because they want to, not out of choice, but out of necessity. They work to support their families.

If it’s a feminist goal to insist that the government help American women by providing day care – so that they can earn enough to keep their families off of welfare – then most of the women in America are already part of the “feminist” conspiracy to improve the lives of their families. You can’t claim to support the rights of women and families and then oppose the kind of social services that would actually improve their lives.

See? Lunar folks say the strangest things.

There’s also their opposition to science. Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum is the same street gang who helped push through a law that put labels inside biology textbooks in Alabama warning kids that evolution is “only” a theory. We’ve been here before. Maybe we should put warning labels on swine flu vaccine warning people that the scientific claim that germs cause disease is only a theory.

Are these the values we want our kids to assimilate? Should kids be taught that if mom doesn’t stay home, she’s a bad mom? Or that science doesn’t actually explain anything?

It’s true, I’m prejudiced. I am guilty of having an Earth-o-centric bias when it comes to evaluating politics that come from the Moon.



kevin scheunemann said...

OK, Mark,

And ACORN, the government child care fraud in Milwaukee, and "liberal" values are so much more superior?

We have not really removed "god" from public schools, we've only switched our kids from a Judeo-Christian God to hedonism as "god", with a slight and occassional chance of worship of Obama as "god".

This stripping of traditional values from the public school system has had disasterous consequences in public school systems like MPS, Chicago, and many other disaster urban school systems.

Self Esteem and "feel goodism" failing to teach a core set of behavior values with no standards for success is losing entire generations of kids to a teachers union that is more about teachers bottom line than educating kids.

Did I just stir the pot enough?

Did you know the Kewaskum School Distict consulted clegy in developing their core virtues program?

I failed to see the athiests protest holding kids to high standards, driven by basic core religious principles.

Anonymous said...

"traditional values"? Read The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap by Stephanie Coontz. Then smoke a joint and watch Leave it to Beaver while wrapped in a Ronnie Reagan throw: You'll forget all that real history stuff all over again, just like you did the first time.

The stripping of traditional values caused the downfall of school districts? Nice pitch. No proof.

What the heck is "feel goodism"?

No core set of behavior values in the schools? Hey, can you be our next guest speaker?

An athiest, by definition, does not use religious principles (You are an Idiot.). Also, it's illegal in a public school for a teacher to talk about the joys of connecting with his or her gods, god or personal witch doctor during regular school hours.

"...losing entire generations of kids to a teachers union": Yes, cannabilism is out of fashion, but it's more literal than eating a wafer or drinking wine - that's the bottom line.

Great article, Mark.

Anonymous said...

Posted by the I am not a fan of the kevin scheunemann fan club.

"government child care fraud" - Head out to Utah and check out some of the Mormon men with 20 wives: They are legally married to one and get child support from the guvment for all the babies from the others.
Mormons vote Republican.

"'liberal' values are so much more superior" - Oh, yea, it's a black and white thing with you.

hedonism? Yes, every student loves math, grammar, geography, and swimming lessons. Bring on that phy-ed, oh yea!

"traditional values"? Kevin, read The way we never were: American families and the nostalgia trap by Stephanie Coontz, FREAK OUT, then smoke a joint, wrap yourself in a Ronnie Reagan throw, turn on Leave it Beaver, and make all that nasty history go away, again, like you did the first time.

"feel goodism"? Your mole is an idiot or my district has another binder with a five year plan in the works.

"...has had [disastrous] consequences in public school systems like MPS, Chicago..." Despite lacking proof, if Kevin posted this proposition on a blog, it must be true.

"losing entire generations of kids to a teachers union" - Well, yea, cannibalism is outdated, but it's a lot more literal than unleavened bread and a sip of blood, I, er, wine.

"teacher[']s bottom line": Kevin, doesn't your religion rewards altruism, and your political beliefs connect altruism to socialism. Who's the convoluted hypocrite?

Atheists do not often protest people practicing their right to religion because atheists are actually secretly praying for Jesus to protect them from his followers.

"Did I just stir the pot enough?" See "traditional values" above.

"Kewaskum School Distict consulted cle[r]gy" - Did they pay them? Did they get a donation? What church? OMG! OMG! Church-n-state! Church-n-state!

And don't forget, Jesus said love thine enemies. Thank you, Jesus, for not compelling me to follow that advice.

mary poppis said...

as someone who has liven in utah and has family, close family, and many friends out there, the extreme Mormons have nothing to do with mainstream Mormons, who have gone after the extremist Mormons so hard, that these polygamists aren't favorable to either democrats or fact, they hate the entire government.
can you please provide proof that extremist,polygamist Mormons even vote in federal elections?'

'cause I have reason to believe the Warren Jessup's of the world would take a pass.

But you make a good point in general;just look at all the welfare queens, with their food stamps and welfare, and complete misunderstanding of the uses of birth-control. and they aren't even married!

When Kevin meant by "feel-goodism"is that our kids are victims of kneejerk liberalism that equalizes and pacifies.

school is all about teaching our kids to be adults, not p.c. babies coddled by the system at the tax-payers expense.

as for hedonism, training our kids to become good little consumers and to work their asses of for the material rewards of capitalism...
that is what I think he meant.

school is also hedonistic because it is a big love fest for kids that do not even want to be there-
I say if they don't want to learn, then don't shove it down their throat with a teaspoon of sugar.

we can all save a lot of money if we stop looking for the diamonds in the rough, and polish the diamons we do have.

Pat said...


Would you please explain what "Traditional Values" exactly are.


the anti-Mary Poppins said...

what makes you think any of the female students who look up to you would care about a woman who worked,not to survive,but to pursue a hobby, and to make a political statement?

You truly are your mothers son!

SafeLibraries said...

Mark, I liked that writing and the entertaining title. No, I do not agree with everything, neither am I an expert in the area, but it was well written nevertheless.

Kevin Scheunemann said...

Due to popular demand:

"Traditional Values"

November 2008 newsletter "Self-discipline"

December 2008 "Caring"

January 2009 "Integrity"

Feel free to keep reading. This was derived from the Kewaskum School district's "core virtues" program which was derived and evolved and helped written by local clergy.

I did not see the liberal, godless, non-core values oriented, protests and denouncement when the Kewaskum School Board and Kewaskum Village Board met in joint seession to embrace this.

Local clergy was there to explain their role and the biblical basis for the the School district's program.

So is the Motely Cow denouncing "integrity", "caring", and "self discipline" and the other traditional values of the Kewaskum School district's core virtues program?

Some of the values the Eagle Forum embraces?

To bring kids up in a school environment lacking in these core virtues gets us MPS and the destruction of entire generations of kids.

If the school district will not embrace "traditional values" like vouchers is the only escape for the family and kids from public schools that are run by the lawless thugs such as we saw at Milwaukee's South Division this past week and the disgusting school kid Chicago beating 2 weeks ago.

I'm waiting for the Motely Cow to embrace "school choice".

Or is this another case where liberals say they want choice for all, as long as that choice is failing public schools, like MPS, with a less than 50% HS graduation rate, robbing kids of being thought basic life values?

Tell me again why school competition is bad?

I was thinking about encouraging and writing a hymn to Scott Walker by Kewaskum School Kids, since the liberal audience here appears "OK" with the NJ schoolkid hymn to Obama?

(I bet my "thought" on suggesting a hymn to Scott Walker will meet with more liberal denouncement than the actual NJ "action" hymn to Obama!)

Anonymous said...


Would you please explain what "the public school system has had disastrous consequences" exactly means?


PaulyW said...


Can somebody be against a school referenda that to them seems wasteful (in a general sense), and NOT be lumped in with The Eagle?

Pat said...

Still waiting to hear what "Traditional Values" are.

Merrily Poppin' said...

If you are not satisfied with Kevin's response to your question about "Traditional Values"("caring,integrity,and self-discipline"), you might want to ask Mark.

He is sure to give you a completely different answer. Of course, there is one little problem:

"Honesty" would have to be one of those values.

kevin scheunemann said...

"disasterous consequences"

When MPS, year in and year out, has a high school graduation rate of less than 50%, that is a "disaster" of epic proportions.

I call it institutional racism by MPS and the teachers union. When one is not using educational competition to its fullest extent to better the poor kids caught in the dysfunction of MPS, that is an institutional disaster.

I thought I was clear on this already.


"Traditional values".

I consider the "Core values" program in the Kewaskum School District to be "traditional values". Responsibility, Respect, Integrity, Self-Discipline, etc.

Go out to Kewaskum School District web site for a full treatment.

Yes, the school district had clergy VOLUNTARILY write the biblical basis for each one. Its available if you call the school district.

Some of these things are advocated by the Eagle Forum.

I was surprised not to see some of you come to the meeting and rail on the alleged controversy of teaching kids "self discipline".


Church and state separation in schools is a myth. Its a mere legal term created by the Supreme Court about 40 years ago. The church of liberalism is thriving in our public schools, when will the religion of liberalism be denounced?

The religion Global Warming is openly practiced in the public school hallway with impunity.

(Given the global cooling this year, global warming is turning out to prove itself a false god as well.)

Mpeterson said...

I actually agree with Kevin on what the traditional values are, and I'm probably even a stronger advocate of teaching the Virtues (even ala Bill Bennett, although let me take a personal and professional moment to point out that while he was rifling Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics for ideas, the dummy forgot to read book 6).

The problem Ms. Poppins is that we talk a good game about values, but nobody actually uses them. Family values conservatives turn out to be the worst hypocrites of all -- at least liberals don't pretend to be without sin.

-- well, okay: *I* don't pretend to be without sin. :)

But the real problem is that Kevin's starting assumption is wrong: traditional values haven't been stripped from the public school system. Wrong starting assumptions even with good logic equals wrong conclusions.

And the "feel goodism" is simply a strawman version of a more complicated, and efficacious, reality.

Still, for the record, I'm utterly opposed to social promotion.

And Merrily, if the school system is about teaching kids to be adults, why have we failed to give them proper education in the one, massive and inevitable component of growing up that moves kids into adulthood, and usually too fast -- sex ed? The lousy excuse for sex ed we have in America infantilizes young people worse than anything else you've described here... for proof, check out pregnancy rates of the US vs. everyone else in the world.

Pat said...

I hear the phrase, "Traditional Values" bantered around a lot but have a difficult time understanding what the person using the phrase actually means. It appears to mean different things to different people at different times, depending on the message the user is trying to get across.

So traditional values are core values???!

Sorry but it's clear as mud.

Anonymous said...

No global warming?

Let's burn tires and honor the creator! Then we can roll them into the Milwaukee river; thus, thumbing our nose at those damned liberal anti-industrialism pollution laws.

Wrapping up all of Milwaukee's schools into one generalization is ignorant. Some perform well. But then again, it's easy to criticize when one has not spent a day in one of those urban schools. Kevin, you could put your money where your mouth is and save a soul by opening your home to a poor child from the ghetto.

Milwaukee's issue is poverty. The school system is a band aid. The same thing that happened in LA occurred in Milwaukee: The WWII industrial war machine tempted thousand of blacks to move into the cities; then the 1950's auto industry kept their hopes up a little longer as they moved predominately into the lower middle class; then the auto industry and other industries moved out to Mexico/China/India/SE Asia; racists and the FBI took out their social leaders. Poverty, booze, drugs, gangs, and an insatiable "go to jail/prison" system furthered the disintegration of the family unit; thousands upon thousands of kids grew up without father figures.

Main point: Milwaukee needs industry with decent jobs. How does one get there? I don't know.

"Church and state separation in schools is a myth." Your government or lawyer source?

All hail the integrity of the Kewaskum city librarian. When the Dairy Queen libertarian came a knocking, he quietly tossed all those controversial books out the back door, bypassing his library's "Book challenge" policy. Let's hope that the owner of Dairy Queen does not turn g-a-y. If he does, he's safe 15-minutes south on 45.

May the Eagle Forum fully envelope Kewaskum in all its virtues and cast out all that that is not Eagle Forum-ish. Please take the leader with you. I will pay you in gold.

kevin scheunemann said...


You forgot to accuse me of "book burning"....

I'll compliment the Kewaskum librarian again.

He is doing a great job!

We have some of the "controversial" content that is in West Bend in the Kewaskum library, but its labeled and located away from kids.

Why is that so hard for West Bend to grasp?

Anyone can get all the materials from West Bend on interlibrary loan. I have no problem with that.

The library issue is all about ease of access to children.

The West Bend librarian is out of line.

How come not one person has complained in Kewaskum to shove these controversial materials in the faces of the children?