After Sioux Falls school board president Cynthia Mickelson criticized Governor Kristi Noem’s “inexcusable” attack on teachers in her State of the State Address Tuesday, Governor Noem goes full Trump by doubling down and blaming teachers for the January 6 Capitol insurrection:
Whether on the left or the right, political violence is not the answer. Our political process, though contentious at times, works because we resolve issues through discussion and rigorous debate. Sometimes, political debate will include peaceful protests. Assembly is a tool, enshrined in the Constitution, to help drive a point home. Every American has a right to protest peacefully. That right ends where violence begins.
We saw a similar situation play out on Capitol Hill a few days ago. We were all appalled by it. Frankly, it was horrible to watch. Today, we have an opportunity to address the root cause of this problem: we must reform young Americans’ civic education.
Students should be taught our nation’s history and all that makes America unique. They should see first-hand the importance of civic engagement. And they should have robust discussions in the classroom so they can develop critical thinking skills.
Our young people need more experience engaging with elected officials and practicing the art of debate. It is also our responsibility to show them how government works [Gov. Kristi Noem, weekly propaganda release, 2021.01.15].
Noem’s column does not mention Donald Trump as the instigator of the January 6 insurrection. It does not mention the choice made by people like her to elect and defend Donald Trump, to promulgate and imitate his lies, and to refuse to call out and punish his abuses of power. It does not mention that, no matter how little Kristi Noem listened to the good South Dakota teachers she had at Hamlin High School and South Dakota State University, she should know better than to run interference for a criminal like Donald Trump. It does not mention that, no matter how bad their teachers are, the insurrectionists should know better than to vandalize and loot the United States Capitol, beat and kill Capitol Police officers, and then whine about facing consequences for their violent, anti-American actions. And Noem’s column does not mention that someone who had the privilege of attending the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania should have known better than to stand at the White House and declare that he loves the very special terrorists whom he inspired to stage a coup on his behalf.
It’s pretty clear who caused and carried out the January 6 insurrection. Even Noem’s former colleague in the United States House, Congressman and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California, in his floor speech Wednesday during the impeachment debate, laid the blame on conservative rioters and Donald Trump:
Madam Speaker, let me be clear, last week’s violent attack on the Capitol was undemocratic, un-American and criminal. Violence is never a legitimate form of protest. Freedom of speech and assembly under the constitution is rooted in non-violence. Yet the violent mob that descended upon this body was neither peaceful nor democratic. It acted to disrupt Congress’s constitutional responsibility.
…Some say the riots were caused by Antifa. There was absolutely no evidence of that. And conservatives should be the first to say so.
…The President bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters. He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding. These facts require immediate action by President Trump, accept his share of responsibility, quell the brewing unrest and ensure President elect Biden is able to successfully begin his term [Rep. Kevin McCarthy, floor speech against impeachment, United States House of Representatives, 2021.01.13].
Representative McCarthy blames Trump for what Trump did. But Governor Kristi Noem blames John Collignon, Tom Osterberg, Kenneth Reitzel, Gordon Tolle, Kent Kedl, Rodney Bell, John Miller, David Nelson, Eleanor Schwab, April Brooks, and David Crain, the people who taught me history, government, and philosophy. Kristi Noem blames Gail Means, Doc Miller, Harold Widvey, Doug Tschetter, Donus and Lovila Roberts, Judy Kroll, Sally Pies, Mitch Gaffer, Leo Kallis, Paul Harens, Jennifer Bergan, and the many other teachers and coaches from whom I learned the art of public speaking and debate. Kristi Noem blames Kerry Konda, Travis Dahle, Bob Spiers, Mike Larson, Scott Walker, and the other committed educators who continue to teach the very vital debate skills to which the Governor gives nothing but lip service.
Through years of lies and bullying, Donald Trump encouraged thugs to betray their country and commit mayhem and murder. And Kristi Noem blames your high school history teacher, your government teacher, your debate coach.
Donald Trump is responsible for the January 6 insurrection. By deflecting blame from Trump to further denigrate our hard-working and underpaid teachers, Kristi Noem is claiming her share of blame for any continuation of that insurrection.