I am what might be considered a double minority.
That probably sounds pretty funny coming from a white middle-aged male. Even a republican white male. But it's true nonetheless.
Among conservatives, I am considered "right wing" because of my religious beliefs and the fact that those beliefs drive my political thinking (and, by extension, my votes). I have no problem with the "right wing" moniker, and it is certainly less offensive than what many liberals tend to call us under certain uncontrolled circumstances.
Christians still claim to hold a majority in this country. Our detractors may be noisier, but we still seem to have the edge in numbers. Among Christians, however, Latter-day Saints are a definite minority. No problem. I've dealt with this perception all my life.
I also am a dedicated homeschooler. Minority number two.
Based on the mounds of scurilous reports from various sources over the past few years, one might get the idea that I am a persecuted minority. Probably true, but it hasn't affected me directly just yet.
In fact, being a homeschooler today just puts me on par with being an incumbent republican president up for re-election. Liberals and media will pull out all the stops to manufacture the idea that I am somehow untrustworthy and must be destroyed. In the face of an overwhelming lack of evidence, media has joined itself to one of the largest and most powerful unions in this country - the NEA - for the purpose of discrediting the homeschooling movement in the United States.
Now, I'll grant you, the idea that the NEA is behind all of the negative reports is terribly circumstantial. It's really just my mathematics: I've put two and two together and come up with a not unreasonable supposition. Having said that, let me explain a few things to those who read (and, worse, believe) reports like the one currently being fisked by JunkYardBlog:
1. Child abusers and killers use a variety of disguises including, but not limited to, homeschooler, banker, public school teacher, NASA engineer, actor/actress, United Nations delegate, elected public official, and (not to leave anyone out) minister. Pick your flavor.
2. Granted, an alarming number of children who have been abused or killed come from alleged homeschooling families. Please understand that I consider "one or more" to be an alarming number. Please also understand that whatever the real number may be, it still represents a very small percentage of homeschooling families.
3. Liberal (and some misguided moderate) politicians, public education officials, and any member of the unions supporting education in this country cannot abide homeschoolers. It's pathological. The idea that someone, somewhere, may be providing a child a substantial education without their express consent or control just galls them.
4. These same politicians and educators seem not to understand that I am just as interested as they are in preparing my child for success in their future world. In fact, I am fully prepared to do whatever it takes to prepare my children for success in college and beyond, and I will do so without the support of these people if need be.
5. I have also mentioned before that I not only believe that homeschooling is not for everyone, but I further do not support voucher initiatives, or any other initiative that would divert taxes that I pay toward public education for any other purpose. I firmly believe it is my civic duty to support a public education that is freely available to those who need it. I also believe that my children do not need it. If you can't figure out a better way to allocate my tax money to the children that are in school, that's not my problem. Hire better administrators and politicians. Be prepared to pay for them.
I think you get the idea. I do worry that politicians, driven by the unions and supported by the media, will begin another jihad against homeschoolers. But they will fail. We are better organized than we've been in years past, and our grassroots support is growing. Also, the best thing educators can do for the homeschool movement is to continue to fail to educate and protect our children.
That sounds cynical, but you should hear them talk about us.
UPDATE: Oh, yeah. I really want my kids exposed to this environment. (HT: Drudge)