San Francisco Schools Chief On Erasing Lincoln: He ‘Is Not Someone I See As A Hero’

San Francisco Schools Chief On Erasing Lincoln: He ‘Is Not Someone I See As A Hero’

The New Yorker interview with San Francisco's school board president reveals how political ideology has replaced knowledge among especially younger American leftists.
Joy Pullmann
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Last week, The New Yorker ran an interview with San Francisco school board President Gabriela López, a 30-year-old former teacher leading the district’s charge to bury American history. It’s eye-opening, to say the least.

López was elected on a campaign to cancel history. Under her leadership, the nation’s seventh-largest school district has spent its time not teaching its 57,000 students — who have been “learning” online for nearly a full year — but plotting to take the names of historic figures down from more than 40 district buildings. The names targeted for removal include Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Paul Revere, and Democrat U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

The effort is part of a wave of anti-American iconoclasm that has swept over the United States in the past year. It has included violent activists toppling and vandalizing statues illegally and city fathers taking down monuments and school names legally, sometimes in the dark of night. Christopher Columbus, Robert E. Lee, and Thomas Jefferson are among the most-targeted historical figures in these ideological sweeps, as are religious figures including saints and Jesus Christ.

The New Yorker interview with López reveals how political ideology has replaced knowledge among especially younger American leftists. They seek to validate and replicate their ignorance among the youngest Americans by blacklisting and smearing historical leaders and every ideal they stand for. It’s sometimes eerily reminiscent of the Chinese Cultural Revolution of the 1950s and ’60s, which also featured monument-defacement, historical revisionism, memory-holing, and never-ending character assassination.

Here are some parts of the interview I thought especially worth noting.

López Admits Ideology Is More Important than Truth

While López initially claims the renaming schools initiative aims to have students “talking about the brutality and the truth that is often not discussed in our classrooms,” it becomes clear later that when she says “truth” she doesn’t mean truth. She may mean a “poetic truth” that conflicts with the actual truth or may not understand or believe in the concept of truth at all. It’s unclear.

What is clear is that falsehood does not bother her one bit so long as lies appear to further her political goals. And she is pretty explicit about that.

Some of the claims San Francisco’s school board have made about historical figures such as Revere and Lincoln to justify removing their names are simply false. New Yorker interviewer Isaac Chotiner asks López about that.

She replies: “So then you go into discrediting the work that they’re [the school board is] doing, and the process that they put together in order to create this list. So when we begin to have these conversations, and we’re pointing to that, and we’re given the reasoning and they’re sharing why they made this choice and why they’re putting it out there, I don’t want to get into a process where we then discredit the work that this group has done.”

Translation: I don’t care if our decisions are based on falsehoods, what’s important is our narrative. She repeats these sorts of statements throughout the interview.

These People Are Complete Hacks

As Chotiner notes in the interview and the Washington Free Beacon’s Alex Griswold noted on Twitter, the school board’s Google document used to organize their attack on dead people is rife with historical inaccuracies. See a few below.

Chotiner asked López about problems like these. He gives another example of the board getting their history wrong: “There was a question about James Russell Lowell and whether he wanted Black people to vote, which he was actually in favor of. The name of this businessman, James Lick, was ordered removed because his foundation funded an installation that didn’t go up until almost two decades after he died… But that’s not something you’re concerned about?”

“No,” López replies. Then she reframes the issue, again essentially saying political narrative is more important than reality. She acknowledges maybe the board could be convinced to fix their inaccuracies but maintains the inaccuracies are less important than the board’s political goals.

“I know the committee is still meeting, and they’re still open to that [concerns about historical inaccuracy],” she expanded. “So it’s not that it’s not a concern. I think it’s something that’s missing without a dialogue…So here’s my piece. The real issue is how we are challenged when we talk about racism. And how then the masses come out in order to combat this, when it’s an idea that harms what we’re used to. My current situation is sharing with people very simply that I don’t think it’s appropriate to have symbols of racism and white-supremacy culture.”

In other words, it doesn’t matter that Abraham Lincoln was the pivotal figure in freeing African-American slaves and that he intervened to save Native Americans from death. It matters that to the left he is a symbol of “white supremacy,” likely because of his commitment to the U.S. Constitution and the natural rights philosophy it expresses. It doesn’t matter if you free literal slaves if you do so while disagreeing with leftist ideology. Ideology is more important than reality.

Leftists Don’t Care About Minorities, They’re Using Them for Power

While López and San Francisco’s school board oversee a Zoom-driven cultural revolution in the name of “dismantling” “white supremacy,” their year-long school shutdown has disproportionately harmed minority children, and the damage will affect the rest of their lives.

The city of San Francisco recently sued the San Francisco Unified School District to try to get the schools open. San Francisco Mayor London Breed says “data show that Black, Latino, and Asian students, especially those who are low-income, have fared worse than white and wealthier students during the distanced learning.” The same is true worldwide.

The San Francisco schools Google document entry on why they hate Lincoln starts out: “Abraham Lincoln is not seen as much of a hero at all among many American Indian Nations and Native peoples of the United States.”

When Chotiner asks how she views Lincoln “generally,” López uses similar language: “I think Lincoln gets more praise than the . . . how can I say this? Yeah. I don’t know. I don’t think that . . . Lincoln is not someone that I typically tend to admire or see as a hero, because of these specific instances where he has contributed to the pain of the decimation of people—that’s not something that I want to ignore. It’s something that I’m learning about and that I know it’s not often spoken about.”

Pardon my French, but López is a self-righteous hypocrite. She is attacking Lincoln for not agreeing with her while she is personally harming black kids. Let’s reframe the issue according to objective reality instead of ideological lies: Lincoln singlehandedly kept the greatest nation on earth together while pushing it to make good on its founding promise of securing for all our inalienable natural rights from our Creator. He is the single greatest thing to happen to black Americans in our nation’s entire history.

Lincoln freed 3 million slaves. What is Lopez’s greatest achievement — graduating a college that taught her fake history?

Like all of us, Lincoln was not a perfect man and criticism of his flaws is absolutely legitimate. His good and bad deeds have been subject to the judgment of the American people, history, and God Almighty. But his achievements are also singular in world and American history. He bought them at massive personal suffering unlike what any American leftist would ever endure for themselves, let alone anyone else, and he has earned every single bit of honor he receives.

And a two-bit 30-year-old who doesn’t know one true thing and whose political prejudices are setting back the lives of tens of thousands of poor black and Hispanic kids this very minute with unnecessary school closures has the gall to rip Lincoln’s name off buildings and say he’s not a “hero”? It’s a national disgrace that anybody voted for this destructive fraud.

This lady would be better serving the dispossessed in her community by cleaning their bathrooms than by pontificating about heroism and “justice” to The New Yorker. She doesn’t know the first thing about justice. All she knows is how to lie to get ahead by making others suffer. In the real world, we call that injustice, and it’s sickening.

Joy Pullmann is executive editor of The Federalist, a happy wife, and the mother of six children. Her newest ebook is a design-your-own summer camp kit, and her bestselling ebook is "Classic Books for Young Children." Sign up here to get early access to her next full-length book, "How To Control The Internet So It Doesn’t Control You." A Hillsdale College honors graduate, @JoyPullmann is also the author of "The Education Invasion: How Common Core Fights Parents for Control of American Kids," from Encounter Books.

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