Friday, Apr 12, 2024

Culture War Update: Democrats In Blind Pursuit Of Irresponsible Woke Policies

A committee appointed by the San Francisco human rights commission in 2020 has submitted a recommendation to the city’s Board of Supervisors to pay each of the city’s longtime black residents $5 million in reparations “to address the public policies explicitly created to subjugate Black people in San Francisco by upholding and expanding the intent and legacy of chattel slavery.”

The executive summary of the 60-page draft proposal by the San Francisco African American Reparations Advisory Committee notes that, “While neither San Francisco, nor California, formally adopted the institution of chattel slavery, the tenets of segregation, white supremacy and systematic repression and exclusion of Black people were codified through legal and extralegal actions, social codes, and judicial enforcement. . .

The lump sum payment “would compensate the affected population for the decades of harms that they have experienced, and will redress the economic and opportunity losses that black San Franciscans have endured, collectively, as the result of both intentional decisions and unintended harms perpetuated by city policy,” the report explains.

WOKE BLACK REPARATION FANTASIES

In addition to the one-time payment of $5 million, the plan calls for dozens of additional financial benefits for black San Francisco residents, including “a comprehensive debt forgiveness program” eliminating each eligible black person’s student and housing loans and credit card debts, subsidized housing and exemption from business taxes. It also calls for supplemental payments to black low-income households for at least 250 years in order to compensate for the historic black “wealth gap” and bring recipients up to the current San Francisco Area Median Income (AMI,) of about $97,000, annually so that they “can better afford housing and achieve a better quality of life.”

To be eligible to receive these reparations and other benefits, San Francisco residents must be 18 years or older, and been identifying themselves as black or African-American on public documents for at least 10 years. They must also meet at least 2 of 8 criteria, such as producing proof of residency in the city for at least 13 years, or that the recipient or one of their parents had been imprisoned on illegal drug charges.

The committee’s final report will be submitted in June, and will reflect the feedback from the Board of Supervisors. However, the Board’s president, Aaron Peskin, has told the San Francisco Chronicle that he hopes the reparation proposals in the draft plan are approved.

“There are so many efforts that result in incredible reports that just end up gathering dust on a shelf,” Peskin said. “We cannot let this be one of them.”

San Francisco currently has about 45,000 black residents. If they were all to qualify for the lump sum payment, that would cost the city $223 billion, which would require $263,000 from every non-black person in the city. But according to Huffington Post liberal commentator, Sage Howard, even “$5 million is not enough to ‘call it even’ for slavery, especially in a city that’s one of the most notorious in the country for its history of housing discrimination.”

The state of California has also set up a task force that has recommended a variety of remedial measures, including monetary reparations for its black residents. While its first report did not recommend a specific amount, during the committee’s public hearings black reparation advocates demanded payments ranging from $350,000 to $800,000 per person, which would cost the state between $784 billion to $1.8 trillion.

In response to these recommendations, conservative commentator and University of California Berkeley government policy scholar Steven F. Hayward, writing in the New York Post, notes that the “wholesale redistribution of wealth has always been the central goal of the egalitarian left,” but predicts that the prohibitive cost of racial reparations “is likely a wedge that will split apart the Democratic Party.

That conclusion is supported by a recent Pew Research poll, which found that only 30% of Americans accept the argument that reparations for the descendants of black slaves are justified by the suffering of their ancestors under slavery and the post-Civil War Jim Crow and segregation laws in the South, and widespread discrimination hiring, housing, and schooling in the North. Surveyed Democrats were also almost evenly split on the issue, with 49% opposed to reparations and only 48% supportive.

Hayward observes that if reparations payments of that scale  are extrapolated to the entire nation, the cost would be roughly the current size of the national debt, $31 trillion. Not only would such payments be totally unaffordable, but Hayward predicts that they would be widely seen as “unfair and inflame rather than calm race relations” by encouraging other disadvantaged minority groups, such as Hispanics, to demand similar payments.

BLACK ACTIVISTS OBSESSED BY “LINGERING EFFECTS OF SLAVERY”

That has not discouraged liberal Democrats in Washington. Last week, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas and 52 other House Democrats reintroduced a proposal that the House Judiciary Committee considered last year that would set up a federal Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans, whose mission would be to examine how to eliminate the “lingering negative effects of the institution of slavery . . . on living African Americans.”

The creation of such a commission has also been endorsed by the new leader of House Democrats, Hakeem Jeffries, who said that he supports the idea because of the lingering effects of slavery and ongoing discrimination against black Americans.

Jackson Lee said that such a commission is necessary because, despite the progress that has been made in race relations, including the election of Barack Obama as the nation’s first black president, “the legacy of slavery lingers heavily in this nation.”

She added that monetary reparations need to be part of that discussion because slavery created an economic impact on black Americans that can still be felt today. “These economic issues are the root cause of many critical issues in the African American community today, such as education, healthcare and criminal justice policy, including policing practices.” Jackson Lee also said that, “the call for reparations represents a commitment to entering a constructive dialogue on the role of slavery and racism in shaping present-day conditions in our community and American society.

“The principal problem of slavery continues to weigh heavily on this country,” she added. “A federal commission can help us reach into this dark past and bring us into a brighter future.”

According to the proposal, the commission would also examine how to provide “full reparations” for slavery, who would be eligible for compensation, and how the federal government would offer a “formal apology” for slavery.

These unreasonable and unpopular demands by black activists for reparations stand in sharp contrast to the successful civil movement strategy of Martin Luther King, Jr., who won over public opinion during the 1960s by treating whites as equals and potential friends rather than as evil oppressors. That historic change in the attitudes of a majority of Americans towards race made possible the incremental gains that have significantly improved the lives and economic prospects for all black Americans over the past 60 years, without the payment of reparations.

BIDEN DEFENDS CRITICAL RACE THEORY IN SCHOOLS

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden speaking at a Martin Luther King Day breakfast in Washington, DC, sponsored by Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, condemned those who have criticized the liberal indoctrination of the country’s public school children by teaching them curriculums based upon “woke” critical race theory (CRT), which claims that the American heritage and every aspect of American society today has been poisoned by systemic racial discrimination.

Biden rejected, “the [Republican] idea that we’re supposed to remain silent on the abuses of the past, as if they didn’t occur. That’s not being woke, that’s being honest,” Biden said. “That’s talking about history.”

Critical race theory had been a relatively obscure academic concept, claiming that American history, laws, and political movements have all been shaped by racist biases against color, gender, and ethnicity. However, the death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, at the hands of a white Minneapolis policeman triggered a summer of violent Black Lives Matter protests and looting in dozens of cities across the country, and led to widespread adoption by liberal Democrats of the CRT narrative condemning all “non-woke” white people as racist bigots.

REPUBLICAN-LED STATES FIGHTING BACK

Because Democrats who support critical race theory now control the government in Washington, Republicans have been forced to fight it by passing bills in state legislatures across the country that forbid the teaching of critical race theory in their public schools.

On her first day in office, Arkansas Republican Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who served admirably as President Donald Trump’s White House press secretary, signed an executive order banning “indoctrination and critical race theory” in Arkansas public classrooms. It requires the Arkansas state education department to audit its policies and materials, removing or altering any that might “promote teaching that would indoctrinate students with ideologies, such as CRT, that conflict with the principle of equal protection under the law.”

The order also prohibits teachers and other public school employees from espousing the idea that people of one race or ethnicity are “inherently superior or inferior” to those of another.

Sanders defended her order in a Fox News interview by arguing our schools “shouldn’t teach our kids and our students ideas to hate this country.”

Republican governors Glenn Youngkin of Virginia and Kristi Noem of South Dakota have also ordered their state education departments to review their policies and approved teaching materials for “divisive concepts.”

In Oklahoma, the state education department has downgraded the accreditation of two school districts, including the state’s largest in Tulsa, due to violations of a state law passed in 2021 that regulates how teachers can discuss racism and gender in the classroom.

According to an Education Week report, since January 2021, Republicans in 42 states have either introduced bills or issued executive orders that ban the teaching of critical race theory, as well as other radical liberal ideas about race and gender to young children in public school classrooms.

DESANTIS BATTLING CRT ON THE HIGH SCHOOL AND COLLEGE LEVELS

Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis has also clashed repeatedly with liberal Democrat- controlled local school boards across his state over mask mandates for young children during the Covid pandemic.

Most recently, DeSantis has ordered Florida’s Education Department to reject the pilot curriculum for a new high school Advanced Placement (AP) class in African-American Studies because it is full of CRT concepts, because it appears to have been designed primarily as “a vehicle for a political agenda.”

It includes study units on the black reparations movement, Black Lives Matter, gender studies based upon black feminism, “postracial” racism and colorblindness, and intersectionality activism. The pilot curriculum is, in fact, a tool for indoctrinating high school students with an ultra-liberal woke worldview that is masquerading as black history.

In justifying his order, DeSantis said, “We believe in teaching kids facts and how to think, but we don’t believe they should have an agenda imposed on them… We want education, not indoctrination.”

He also ordered Florida’s Education Department to tell the College Board, which runs the AP program, that it would “reopen the discussion” if the curriculum on African-American Studies were to be appropriately revised.

FLORIDA SCHOOLS TEACHING BLACK HISTORY INSTEAD OF IDEOLOGY

At a press conference in Jacksonville last week, DeSantis argued that the new AP course was unnecessary because, “in the state of Florida, our education standards not only don’t prevent, but they require teaching black history, all the important things; that’s part of our core curriculum.” The standard history course in Florida high schools already includes units teaching students about “the enslavement experience,” “the civil rights movement,” the contributions of black Americans, and, because of a law DeSantis signed three years ago, the story of the 1920 Ocoee massacre, in which a white mob killed dozens of black Floridians.

DeSantis is also challenging progressive control of Florida’s state universities, beginning with the New College in Sarasota, where he recently appointed six conservative trustees to the board.

“We must ensure that our institutions of higher learning are focused on academic excellence and the pursuit of truth, not the imposition of trendy ideology,” DeSantis said during his January 3 inaugural speech, after being reelected by Florida voters to a second term by a 20-point margin in November.

Last April, DeSantis signed into law the Individual Freedom Act, which bans Florida’s state colleges from teaching their students that one race or gender is morally superior to another and prohibits teachers from making students feel guilty for past acts of discrimination by members of their own race. It also specifically bars portraying racial colorblindness as racist.

The law has been challenged in federal court as a violation of the freedom of speech by preventing liberal university professors from expressing their own viewpoints to their students. While the law’s enforcement on the college level is currently suspended under a temporary federal injunction, which the DeSantis administration intends to appeal to a higher court, it has already resulted in the cancellation of at least three CRT-based courses which had been offered by the University of Central Florida’s sociology department. The university’s administrators have urged their faculty members to obey the law for fear that if they don’t, Florida’s Republican-controlled legislature would cut their school’s $32 million in annual state funding. Professors at Florida state colleges whose positions are not protected by tenure also have reason to fear that their teaching contracts might not be renewed if they violate the law.

Because several tenured professors teaching in Florida universities have been able to challenge the law in federal court without putting their jobs in jeopardy, Governor DeSantis last April signed a bill authorizing reviews of professors with tenure every five years. For similar reasons, in 2021, Georgia’s public-university system made firing tenured faculty easier, and the Republican Lieutenant Governor of Texas, Dan Patrick, has called for abolishing tenure for any newly hired faculty members at state-funded universities.

Six other states have passed legislation like Florida’s Individual Freedom Act, restricting public colleges from teaching or training related to critical race theory. In Tennessee, Provost John Zomchick of the state university’s Knoxville campus has warned the school’s professors that the school would not necessarily defend them in court if they were sued for violating the law.

DESANTIS IS GOVERNING WITH A NEW SET OF RULES

While conservatives advocating for such laws claim that they are justified in banning the teaching of critical race theory because of its anti-American implications, they do have some difficulty answering the criticism of liberal professors who view those laws as a threat to their academic freedom and their Constitutional right to free speech under the First Amendment.

DeSantis has been especially effective in applying his Trump-like principles to government policy in Florida, in large part because he has abandoned the traditional reluctance of conservative officials to interfere with the private sector, as well as parts of the public sector, such as education, which should remain non-partisan. That attitude was only appropriate when those companies and public institutions were led by old-fashioned liberals who sincerely believed in the concepts of fairness, freedom of expression, and open dialogue.

But today, woke progressives of the institutional Left have abandoned those old-fashioned liberal principles. They believe they have the sovereign right to crush their conservative ideological opponents by pursuing a no-holds-barred cultural war against traditional American moral, religious, and free market values.

As political scientist Eric Kauffman warned last year, if conservatives aren’t willing to fight the culture war now, there won’t be any conservatives left to fight anything in the future. That is why DeSantis is fighting fire-with-fire by taking back control of Florida’s state educational institutions, and has struck when his conservative policies were ideologically attacked by a giant liberal-run corporate entity, the Walt Disney Corporation.

FLORIDA VS. CALIFORNIA

The bitterly partisan left vs. right cultural war dividing America today is perhaps best understood by studying the increasingly personal clash between DeSantis, and the liberal governor of California, Gavin Newsom, each of whom is believed to be harboring ambitions to run for president in 2024. Their conflict reflects the widening national divide over culture, lifestyle, moral and religious values, and the very definition of American freedom and democracy.

The sharp contrast between the political ideologies and goals of the two governors is all the more revealing because of the many surface similarities of the states they govern. Florida and California are both coastal states feature beautiful beaches and theme parks full of tourists, former orange groves which are now housing developments, and populations swelled by people from other states who came looking for the good life.

Newsom and California’s liberal Democrat-dominated state legislature have gone all-in supporting the woke progressive concepts of critical race theory and climate change. Under their leadership, California has adopted aggressive, socialist-inspired government policies whose goal is to guarantee equity of outcome for everyone, regardless of personal ability or effort.

DeSantis, on the other hand, and his fellow Republican conservatives who control the Florida legislature, are dedicated to traditional moral values and America’s democratic heritage. They seek to reduce government regulations and interference in people’s lives, while maximizing their opportunity to realize the American dream through their own hard work talent and accomplishments in a free market economy, by promoting equality of opportunity, rather than outcome, “in the pursuit of happiness.”

Newsom supported Covid vaccine and mask mandates, business lockdowns, and extended school closures, while DeSantis fought to keep Florida’s schools and businesses open through the pandemic. DeSantis, in his recent second term inaugural speech, pledged to keep Florida “a refuge of sanity” and “a citadel of freedom,” while Newsom sees his main mission as overcoming the “systemic racism” and discrimination that have kept people of color, women and other “marginalized groups” from full participation in American society.

Economically and demographically, the two states are also moving in opposite directions. Under Newsom, California has some of the highest tax rates in the country, an affordable housing crisis, and a burgeoning homeless population. As a result, after decades of population growth, California is seeing many of its residents flee to other states, including Florida, whose population and economy have been booming.

Taken together, DeSantis’ “red” Florida and Newsom’s “blue” California depict just how deeply Americans have already been divided, as well as the stark differences between the conservative and liberal understandings of America’s past and their visions for this country’s future.

CHAOS IN THE CLASSROOM

Meanwhile, an op-ed written Jason L. Riley, a black conservative member of the Wall Street Journal editorial board, commented on a new study released by the federal Department of Education. It indicates that a liberal-supported relaxation in student suspension policies may be contributing to the difficulty in bringing many minority students from low-income families, who fell behind due to remote schooling during the pandemic, back up to speed academically.

During the Obama administration, “the Education Department released a study showing that black students were being suspended from school at higher rates than white students and concluded that the only possible reason for the disparity was racism.” Because that conclusion fit the Obama administration’s preferred liberal racial narrative, it “subsequently issued letters of guidance to school districts that said federal officials would consider higher school-discipline rates among blacks to be evidence of racial discrimination.”

The school districts responded by reducing the number of suspensions, which quickly led to more disruption and bullying in the classroom. Ironically, according to a 2017 federal survey, the reported bullying incidents affected 37% of black students nationwide, more than any other racial or ethnic group.

The Trump administration revoked the Obama-era guidance, but in 2021, the Biden Education and Justice Department jointly announced that they would assess “the impact of exclusionary school discipline policies and practices, such as suspensions and school-based arrests, on our nation’s students, particularly students of color.” Then, in July, 2022, the Biden administration issued its own “guidance” urging schools to discipline students in a “nondiscriminatory manner,” by which it meant, according to Riley, “basing suspension decisions on racial balance instead of behavior and the welfare of students who are in school to learn.”

Riley also cites the fact that, “charter schools, which enroll a disproportionate number of low-income black and Hispanic children, have been criticized [by liberal] for employing stricter discipline policies for troublemakers. Yet academic studies have shown that charter students were less likely than their peers in traditional public schools to be incarcerated later in life.”

FOR LIBERALS, GOOD INTENTIONS MATTER MORE THAN RESULTS

According to Riley, this is another example of how, for the liberal progressives in the Biden administration, “good intentions matter more than results, even if those results leave the intended beneficiaries worse off. Overly lenient treatment for the small minority of misbehaving students can make school a nightmare and learning impossible for the overwhelming majority of disadvantaged kids who are counting on a decent education to make a better life for themselves.”

Nowhere in the country has the partisan fight over local school board policies been more intense than in Loudoun County, Virginia. Support for the right of parents to influence what is taught to their children in the public school classroom became the decisive issue in Virginia’s 2021 gubernatorial election enabling novice Republican candidate Glenn Younkin to score an upset victory over former Democrat governor Terry McAuliffe.

One of the turning points in that emotional battle was a a raucous Loudoun County school-board meeting in June 2021, when Scott Smith, was wrestled to the ground by police and arrested when he angrily accused school officials of remaining silent when his daughter was attacked in the girl’s bathroom due to the school’s ultra-liberal gender policies.

HOW LIBERALS DEMONIZED SCHOOL PARENTS

It was that incident the National School Boards Association cited in a letter it sent to President Biden in September 2021, which depicted protesting parents like Smith as extreme and violent, and urged the administration to treat them as domestic terrorists. The letter ultimately resulted in the notorious order issued by Biden’s attorney general, Merrick Garland, to the FBI to launch investigations against parents who criticize their local school officials and teachers.

School bureaucrats and the teachers’ unions in Loudoun County were quick to claim that they felt threatened by parents’ questions at open school board meetings. Virginia Democrats suggested that the protesting parents had been duped by Republicans into using their children to politicize public school education, and the liberal mainstream media portrayed the school officials in Loudoun Country were victims of a conservative ”big lie”, and a ”culture-war fantasy.”

But in fact, the protesting parents at that school board meeting were a mix of people with very different political views who were justifiably concerned about the safety and well-being of their children, and who had good reason to demand answers and accountability from their local school officials.

Smith and the other protesting parents have now been vindicated by the findings of a grand-jury investigation which found that Loudoun County school administrators had covered up for two criminal assaults and an abduction, by the same perpetrator, including the attack on Smith’s daughter, to protect their ultra-liberal gender policies. The grand-jury’s report has now resulted in the firing of Loudoun County’s school superintendent, who masterminded the cover-up, and lied when he was asked directly at the June school board meeting about the assaults. The report has also tarnished the reputation of the other members of the Loudoun school board, who knew that Ziegler was lying and kept silent.

The actions of these school officials reveal just how immoral woke liberals can be, concealing crimes against the children whose safety is their responsibility and lying to their parents, in order to conceal the consequences of their progressive cultural agenda.

TURNING CLASSROOMS INTO SOCIAL POLICY LABORATORIES

Unfortunately, the abuses by the Loudoun County school officials are not an isolated occurrence. Liberal school boards and administrators across the country have turned the public schools under their control into laboratories for social experimentation, and their students into lab rats, without their parents’ knowledge or permission.

The grand-jury findings are also a vindication for Virginia governor Glenn Youngkin, who may run for president in 2024, using Loudoun County as an example of the abuses to children that can result when parents allow ideologically-driven liberals to take control of their local public schools.

On the other hand, Governor Youngkin has suffered a setback at the hands of Democrats in the Virginia Senate’s Agriculture, Conservation, and Natural Resources Committee, who rejected by an 8-7 vote Republican attempts to repeal a law signed in 2021 by former Democrat Governor Ralph Northam which tethered Virginia’s regulations on auto tailpipe emissions to those in effect in California. The so-called Clean Cars bill requires Virginia to adopt the rule that was adopted this past August by a California environmental agency requiring all new vehicle sold in the state, beginning in 2035, to be electrically powered and banning the sales of new gasoline-powered vehicles.

THE LIBERAL QUEST TO ELIMINATE GAS-POWERED CARS

In his 2022 Energy Plan, released in October, Youngkin promised to “repeal the legislative mandate tying Virginia to California’s electric vehicle mandate to protect [Virginia’s electric] grid reliability,” and to “prevent this ridiculous edict from being forced on Virginians.”

While New York Governor Kathy Hochul has signed a similar law, it is not at all clear that the U.S. auto industry will be able scale up its electric vehicle production, which now accounts for only 4% of new car sales in this country, sufficiently to replace, at an affordable price, all new gasoline-powered vehicles just 13 years from now. Nor is it likely that the U.S. will be able to expand the generating capacity of its electrical grid and build enough battery recharging stations along the entire interstate highway system by 2035 to support so many electric vehicles.

But while a spokesman for Youngkin criticized Virginia Democrats for “outsourcing the decision-making on energy policy to unelected bureaucrats in California,” the governor will still need to elect more Republicans to the state Senate before being able to keep his promise to keep the sale of gas-powered cars in Virginia legal after 2034.

Meanwhile, Virginia’s liberal climate change advocates are claiming victory. Walton Shepherd, the Virginia policy director for the Natural Resources Defense Council, declared that the Virginia state Senate vote which keeps in place the 2034 deadline for the sale of gasoline-powered vehicles, “shows that Youngkin-led attacks on Virginia’s bedrock climate laws are a dead end and that he should get on the side of making pollution progress and not stand against it.”

ARE GAS STOVES REALLY A SAFETY THREAT?

The next battle in the climate change culture war over the elimination of the common gas stove which has long been a fixture in the kitchens of 40% of American households, has already begun. According to the Biden Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), gas stoves are unsafe because they emit such pollutants such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, methane, nitrogen dioxide, as well as fine particulate matter. According to a study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health in December, these pollutants are responsible for 12.7% percent of the 5 million childhood asthma cases nationwide.

In response, Karen Harbert, the president and chief executive of the American Gas Association noted that the two co-authors of the study are staffers for the environmental think tank Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), neither of whom holds a science degree, but who are nevertheless pretending to be health experts. Their study relied entirely on data collected from households with gas stoves in Australia in 2013, and “conducted no measurements or tests based on real-life appliance usage, emissions rates or exposures.” In addition, according to Harbert, the study’s conclusions are not scientifically sound because its authors “did not adequately consider other factors that are known to contribute to asthma and other respiratory health outcomes.”

The November edition of Consumer Reports was devoted to the “Hidden Health Hazards in Your Home.” It expressed “alarming concern” with the levels of nitrogen dioxide generated by gas stoves. But while Consumer Reports claims to be totally independent, an editor’s note at the end of this article admitted: “This project was funded in part with a [$375,000] grant from the Climate Imperative Foundation (CIF).” CIF’s executive director, Bruce Nilles, has also made the end of gas stoves an imperative, writing in 2019: “Your gas stove has to go.”

BATTLE OVER CLIMATE CHANGE COMING TO YOUR KITCHEN

Ironically, the deep-blue Democrat-dominated states of New York and California are also the ones with the greatest percentage of households using gas stoves. Nevertheless, in her State of the State address on January 10, New York Governor Hochul called for “all new construction [in the state] to be zero-emission, starting in 2025 for small buildings and 2028 for large buildings.” She also plans to institute a ban by 2030 forbidding New York state residents to replace their kitchen gas stoves if they break down with new ones, that would eventually force everyone to switch out their gas appliances.

A ban on the installation of gas-powered appliances, including stoves, laundry dryers and air conditioning units in new buildings is already in place or has been ordered in progressive-governed cities such as Berkeley, San Francisco and New York City. Last year, when the gas ban in Berkeley was challenged in federal court, the Justice and Energy departments of the Biden administration filed an amicus brief supporting the ban with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. It argued that cities and states should be able to prohibit the use of “dangerous or unsafe items.”

Under the federal Clean Air Act, the EPA has the authority to regulate outdoor air pollution from cars and electrical power plants but not indoor air pollution from gas stoves and other appliances. But in December, Biden’s CPSC commissioner Richard Trunka Jr. signaled the start of the next battle over liberal climate change initiatives by announcing that his agency would issue a request for public comments by March on imposing new regulations on gas stoves, which, he said, “could be on the books” by the end of this year, and then added that an outright federal ban on new gas stoves is “a real possibility.”

The statement triggered a national firestorm of public criticism, led by Democrat Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, which forced Trunka and the Biden White House to issue a pro forma denial that they were planning to impose a nationwide ban on household gas stoves. Nevertheless, such a ban is still high on the agenda of the liberal climate change activists who have been dictating the anti-fossil fuel policies of the Biden administration.

SAFETY IS NOT THE ISSUE

The anti-fossil fuel activists who have been warning about the health threat from gas stoves have been forced to admit that there is a simple and relatively inexpensive remedy, the installation of ventilation fans and range hoods to expel the harmful emissions. But the real goal of the Biden administration is to force the elimination of gas stoves entirely rather than making them safer. That is why the Inflation Reduction Act that Biden and the Democrats were able to pass last summer, with Senator Manchin’s support, included $840 rebates for consumer purchases of replacement electric stoves, but not one red cent for the installation of kitchen ventilation units.

The “Electrification Summit” sponsored by the White House last month featured a panel on getting gas out of homes, at which most of the speakers warned of the “health” harms of gas stoves. Trisha Miller of the White House’s Climate Policy Office described the need to “eliminate emissions” by getting rid of all “combustion appliances” in houses including fossil fuel-powered washers, dryers, and furnaces. Arati Prabhakar, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, also said during the summit that, “if we are going to get to net zero emissions by 2050,” we’ll need electric “cars and buses and home heating and cooking.”

According to a Wall Street Journal editorial, “there really is a culture war coming over gas stoves, and everything else involving fossil fuels, because climate has become for the left a matter of core cultural identity. Progressives want to impose their values on the lifestyle of everyone else, including in the kitchen. If subsidies don’t work, coercion follows. When they can’t win the political debate, they resort to brute government force. They really are coming for your stove.”

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