After the American Federation of Teachers—a union representing 1.7 million educators and other professionals—recently called on Wells Fargo to cut ties with the National Rifle Association, the NRA’s TV channel lashed out against the teachers.
“I’ll put this bluntly,” said NRA TV host Grant Stinchfield last week. “[AFT president] Randi Weingarten and the AFT are one of the greatest threats to our children.”
So the NRA, which is trying to put more guns in schools and block even modest reform efforts to prevent future shootings, thinks that the greatest threat facing children is… teachers. Seriously?
On its face, this NRA attack is the latest example of the gun lobby trying to put the blame for one tragedy after another on anyone but itself.
But it is also part of a larger right-wing effort to undermine and discredit our public education system. The Right has been working for decades to weaken public education, from pro-voucher advocates who want to divert tax dollars away from public schools to ideologues working to demonize public sector unions. It’s a movement that has reached new levels of power with Betsy DeVos serving as the head of the Department of Education.
Public schools are the heart of so many of our country’s communities. Slashing their funding, denigrating their teachers, filling them with weapons of war—all of these are part of the Right’s ongoing attack on education, and all are threats to the health and lives of children.
To be clear, the NRA’s AFT smear campaign has nothing to do with protecting our children and everything to do with a right-wing playbook of misinformation and instilling fear to push an extreme agenda.