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Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) on Thursday introduced legislation that would keep critical race theory and broad “anti-American” ideas such as the claim that American “is a fundamentally racist country” out of the military.
Christopher Rufo reported at City Journal that Cotton’s bill is based on the premise that the military should encourage members to “love the United States,” defend the “founding principles of the United States,” and treat everyone as “human beings with equal dignity and protection under the law.” Critical race theory, Cotton’s bill insists, rejects these premises with its notions that America is irredeemably racist and stoking racial division.
“Our military’s strength depends on the unity of our troops and the knowledge that America is a noble nation worth fighting for,” Cotton said of the bill, according to Fox News. “Critical race theory teaches that race is a person’s most important characteristic, and that America is an evil, oppresive place. That idea may be fashionable in left-wing circles and college classrooms, but it has no place in our military. Not only will such racist ideas undermine our troops’ faith in each other, they’ll also erode their trust in our country’s guiding principles. The United States military shouldn’t be promoting such divisive, un-American ideas.”
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The legislation would specifically ban ideas like the U.S. “is a fundamentally racist country” or that “[a]n individual, by virtue of his or her race, is inherently racist or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously.” The text also provided that the bill shouldn’t be construed to restrict free speech or prevent service members from accessing materials that advocate those types of theories.
Cotton’s bill faces an uphill road in the Senate, which has a 50-50 split of Republicans versus Democrats and their independent allies. In the event of a tie, the deciding vote would be cast by Vice President Kamala Harris. Even if it did reach President Biden’s desk, it would likely be rejected as he has already moved to undo former President Donald Trump’s ban on CRT trainings.
Supporters of CRT say it works to combat systemic racism, which they say is prevalent in all of America’s institutions.
Rufo wrote that Cotton’s bill “should be uncontroversial.”
“America’s public institutions, especially the military, should not promote the principles of race essentialism, collective guilt, and racial segregation, which are anathema to American ideals. That this legislation is even necessary is a sign of how pervasive these ideas have become, even in ostensibly apolitical environments like the military,” he added.
Further, Rufo offered questions that should be asked of “intellectual and political leaders on the Left.”
“[Do they] believe that the United States is a fundamentally racist country? Do they believe that individuals should be judged according to their race, rather than their individual actions? Do they believe that soldiers should be segregated by race?” Rufo asked.