Teach the Truth!

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Every day brings something new to shake our heads about in disgust. It’s like we’re living in a mashup of the Handmaid’s Tale, the Dictator’s Playbook, the Hunger Games, V for Vendetta, and other stories about authoritarian governments. What do authoritarian, fascist, and dystopian mean anyway? All are heavy-duty words to describe societies where freedom and individuality are outlawed, and the government is usually controlled by one or a few people—essentially a dictatorship.

I don’t know if the U.S. is headed for a dictatorship, but I do know that the direction we’re headed in scares the heck out of me. It scares me that the Democracy Index describes the U.S. as a flawed democracy and ranks us 30th overall in the world. This is down four spots from 2022—definitely moving in the wrong direction! Being a flawed democracy means that we are basically still a democracy, but we have some issues, like our partisan in-fighting and challenges to civil liberties (e.g., voter suppression). If you look at the list of what makes a thriving democracy below, it is not hard to imagine why the U.S. is considered a flawed democracy.

Does the state of our democracy give you chills? Me too! I was curious how a society becomes a dictatorship (especially after thriving as a democracy). It turns out there is a ‘recipe’ for authoritarian governments, and some U.S. elected leaders seem to be following the playbook. Check out the image below, showing the steps to a dictatorship.

Source: https://thegroundtruthproject.org/

One of the strategies to becoming a nation ruled by a dictator or small group of folks is to starve the citizens of truth and knowledge. We see this happening daily in the U.S. with the flat-out lies being told on some news channels, taking over school boards and changing curricula, and the book bans taking place in some states. These are classic strategies used by white supremacists to attempt to rewrite history.

As a society, we must ensure everyone has equal access to knowledge – something that white supremacists seek to deny when they attempt to control which narratives should be told and heard, suppress the truth, and restrict marginalized voices from sharing their experiences and perspectives.

When our voices are suppressed, so are our communities and our histories. That is why suppressing history and not telling the truth should matter so much to us. By creating a future where diverse voices are celebrated and represented, we can ensure that our voices and experiences contribute to a more just and equitable society.

We must take a stand and voice our opinions about the importance of learning the truth, not just the parts that are easy to stomach. We can do this by voting for candidates who believe we should teach the truth about America’s past in our schools. We can do this by joining and leading Parent-Teacher Associations in our local schools, attending school board meetings, and running for the school board!

WE CAN is committed to speaking truth to power and invite you to join us on June 10th for the Teach Truth Days of Action! WE CAN is partnering with the Zinn Education Project and more than 50 prominent racial and social justice organizations to speak out against politicians and their far-right supporters’ attempts to attack students’ freedom to learn and educators’ freedom to teach.

Participate in a Teach Truth Day of Action!

Please check the map below or click here to see the Teach Truth Days of Action happening in your community. Show up! Take a stand! Raise your voice! Let those who would deny our history and hinder educators who want to teach the truth that we won’t sit idly by and allow them to suppress the truth!

The time is NOW for us to take a firm stand against those who seek to rewrite history and prevent future generations from learning about America’s past. It is up to us to tell the truth so we don’t remake the mistakes of the past. WE CAN win this fight!

In solidarity,

Stephanie McGencey, WE CAN Founder