Tom McLaughlin

A former history teacher, Tom is a columnist who lives in Lovell, Maine. His column is published in Maine and New Hampshire newspapers and on numerous web sites. Email: tomthemick@gmail.com

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Plying Their Propaganda Playbook

Boys will be boys, right? Not necessarily. Not anymore. In today’s public schools, boys might be girls. Not really of course, but people in the school have to act as if they were. Any who  might object will likely find themselves forced into “sensitivity training.”

Students are being taught to deny their instincts. They know intuitively that there are two complementary sexes. They know what boys are and what girls are, but they’re being brainwashed into believing that male/female is a false dichotomy. Homosexual activists have become fluid-gender activists and they’re plying their propaganda playbook. They’ve been working very hard for decades to transform public schools and they’re at a point now where they dictate policy. Our children are being indoctrinated into believing that human beings are not male and female - that we’re all on a “gender spectrum” and we can change at will.
It’s dangerous in many ways, but mostly it’s dangerous because we’re encouraging children to repudiate their very nature. That’s bound to interfere with the learning process at other levels as well. If a kindergarten boy wants to be seen as a girl, the whole school has to treat him as if he were a girl. If students, teachers, or anyone else think there’s something wrong with that, they better keep their thoughts to themselves. Give voice to your thoughts and you’ll be told there’s something wrong with you. Other kindergarteners who know intuitively and instinctively that their classmate is a boy are taught not only to deny their instincts, but also that their instincts and their intuition are bad - hurtful to the boy - and must be repressed. Adults around them insist the boy who thinks himself a girl isn’t confused. Instead, it’s they who are confused.

Our mainstream media is complicit in all this. When they report on such cases, they use personal pronouns “she” and “her” when referring to the boy as if there could no doubt he was in fact a girl because he said he was, and that’s all that’s required. They “self-identify” as the law in Maine states. Has it ever bothered you when the media does that? Have you repressed your instincts when reading or hearing those mis-assigned personal pronouns? Did you think there was something wrong with you for thinking that just because a man or boy says he’s really a woman or girl, that doesn’t make it so?
Would it surprise you to learn that if you didn’t believe the man was a woman because he said so, and instead you believed that he was a very confused man, you may be charged with a human rights violation? You must watch the emperor parade naked down the street and you must praise his new clothes just as everyone else does. If the emperor says he’s a woman, you must also call him “empress.” We all must celebrate “diversity,” like it or not - or else.

Last December, After years of intense, drawn-out lobbying by homosexual activists, the American Psychiatric Association dropped “Gender Identity Disorder” from its list of psychological disorders. Was the decision based on scientific research? No. It was political pressure, just like its decision in 1973 to drop homosexuality from the list when homosexuals shouted down speakers they didn’t like at the annual APA convention. Political pressure drives APA decisions way more than science does. The Catholic Church, the religion to which this writer belongs, still teaches that homosexuality is disordered. It refuses to budge in spite of the scorn heaped upon them continually by those same activists, and by mainstream media.

There’s plenty of dissent with the APA’s politically-motivated decisions. For one example, after closing the sex-change clinic at his facility, Dr. Paul McHugh, Chief of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital said of so-called “sex change” surgery that: “to provide a surgical alteration to the body of these unfortunate people was to collaborate with a mental disorder rather than to treat it.”
Nonetheless, schools across the country are being forced to allow boys who say they’re girls to use the girls’ bathrooms and locker rooms. In California, the Obama Justice Department helped homosexual activists force a school there to allow a girl who thinks she’s a boy to sleep in boys’ rooms unchaperoned on school trips. “Equality Maine” is sending paid homosexual activists out here to rural Maine for “re-education” on “transgender issues” this year. They’re determined to convince us hicks out here in the sticks that we have a problem if we don’t believe men are women or women are men just because they think they are.
For years I claimed that homosexual activists were using government and schools to brainwash Americans into furthering their agenda, but I don’t think that’s accurate anymore. They are the government now, and since our public schools are government schools, they are the schools too. They’re so thoroughly interwoven into staff, curricula and school board policy statements that there’s no more separating the two.

If any of this makes you uncomfortable, you better keep quiet unless you’re okay with being labeled a bigot by those activists who preach tolerance out of one side of their mouths and hurl epithets out of the other.

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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

New Normal? Hope Not.

It depresses me to drive down main street in my small town of Lovell, Maine and see vacant businesses. The hardware store has been closed up for more than a year and it’s a twenty-mile round trip now when people here need a nut or a bolt. There used to be three stores with lunch counters in town but only one is open year-round now. Another isn’t able to fill its shelves with merchandise and a third lies vacant. There just aren’t very many people around town anymore - not like there used to be, and it’s high summer.
Kezar Lake after ice-out

There’s not a lot of boat traffic on Kezar Lake either. It’s nice to have the beautiful lake to myself when I’m out there but it’s not good for my town. Boat traffic diminished considerably when Stephen King bought the Kezar Lake Camping Area and closed it down, but that was years ago and we absorbed it. Something else is happening now, and it isn’t good.

Some say it’s the new normal. Seven or eight percent unemployment. Fifteen percent if we count those only working part-time because they can’t find a full-time job, and that doesn’t count tradesmen who can’t find enough work in construction. They’re scrounging around under-bidding each other for small repair jobs. More and more work under the table for cash, making it still more difficult for small businessmen to keep their chins above water while paying for ever-increasing local, state, and federal regulations required to stay “on the books.” As big government grows ever larger, so do efforts to avoid it - and that grows the underground economy.

I don’t know how it is where you live, but that’s what I’m seeing out my window. When I go out of town and bump into former students in North Conway, NH or Portland, Maine, they’re working at whatever jobs they can find because they can’t get work in their chosen field. They have student loans to pay and they’re discouraged.

Driving other local roads I’ve traveled a thousand times in the past thirty-six years, I see homes going into disrepair, lawns overgrown, paint peeling, shingles missing, and “For Sale - Price Reduced” signs. I’ve never seen it so bad, and I wonder how many of their owners’ mortgages are underwater. I wonder how many have already been foreclosed on, but banks are reluctant to evict residents for fear the properties will deteriorate further. For the past year and a half I’ve been driving Route 302 twice a week. It’s the main east/west highway through southern Maine. As soon as I leave Portland and go into the rural hinterland I’m seeing the same thing - more “For Sale” signs and decaying properties, both residential and commercial.
Administration officials and their Mainstream Media lapdogs continue to proclaim that it would be worse if not for the trillions in stimulus that have put America into record debt. Three years ago, the president said, “What is a danger is that we stay stuck in a new normal where unemployment rates stay high.” Looks like we’re there however - in spite of his record deficit spending for "economic stimulus."

Yeah, I hear that housing prices have bottomed out and sales are increasing, but how long will that last? It’s happening only because the Federal Reserve is creating digital dollars out of thin air at the rate of $85 billion per month and using much of that to purchase mortgage-backed securities.
And yeah, I hear that the stock market is breaking records, but that’s all artificial too. When Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke hints that he may slow down his money-printing, the market drops. How long can this go on? Not long. Then what’ll happen? Collapse, that’s what.
You want to see our future? Look at Detroit - if you dare. It looks like Hiroshima after the bomb. It used to have the highest per capita income in the United States back in 1962. Then progressive Democrats and their union supporters took over total control - and they’ve held that control for fifty years. Detroit is the end result of their policies. All of America is on that road when they’re driving, and they’ve got the wheel in Washington.

Democrats started growing government beginning with FDR. Then it was Johnson, Then Carter. Then Clinton - then Republicans under George W. Bush. He grew it even faster than Clinton did. But Obama makes them all look like pikers and he still claims it’ll all get better if he just spends more.
At the end of his first year in office, Obama went to Allentown, PA and lamented the economic slowdown saying, “I promise you this: I won’t rest until things get better.” Well, he’s played 100 rounds of golf since that speech and 125 since being sworn in. He is the tenth president I remember in my lifetime and I don’t recall any of them taking as many vacations as he has. Last month it cost us all over $100 million to send him and his family to Africa - again - and it looks like they all had a great time.
People in Lovell, Maine aren’t doing so good. How is it where you live?

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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Pounding The Keys Again

Lila and Claire

My life is getting back to normal lately. Two weeks ago my daughter and her family moved in with the other grandparents, Roger and Chris Lowell in Bridgton, until the addition on their own house is done. My wife and I are each going over there one day a week to help out, just as Roger and Chris did for us. Twins Henry and Luke will be five months old the end of July and are growing like weeds. Their older sister Claire will be four in September and Lila is two-and-a-half and both are adjusting to their baby brothers. Part of me misses seeing them every day, but I’m glad to have my life back too.
Luke, Henry and Annie

So, after a hiatus of five months, I’ve resumed my work on a book. It’s about years of efforts by leftist individuals and lobbying groups to censor, discipline or dismiss me when I was a teacher. Some expressed outrage at my conservative views as a columnist and claimed they made me unsuitable for the classroom. Others disapproved of lessons I taught in class on US History or current events involving Islamist terrorism, abortion, homosexuality, or other controversial issues. Occasionally I was able to obtain copies of their complaints. Some were fellow staff members, some were parents, community members, or people in various interest groups on the left who lobbied principals, superintendents, school boards, and state licensing agencies against me, and I’ve accumulated a file full. There’s an even thicker file of letters to the editor in papers which have published my column over the years insisting that anyone with opinions like mine isn’t fit to teach. There’s also a file of letters from students, parents and community members in my support - some private, and others which were published.

Then there are my own accounts of meetings with principals and superintendents as well as emails and letters sent to me privately, many of which are nasty and unsigned, as well as others supporting, encouraging, or praising my teaching. There was one telephoned death threat on voice mail that has since been lost, and even though I’ve also lost more than a hundred emails when a hard drive crashed, I still have much more material than I can use.

My goal was to be finishing up the book about now and shopping it around to publishers, but the above-mentioned family responsibilities caused me to adjust my timetable. I don’t regret that, being the proud grandfather of healthy twin grandsons and two beautiful granddaughters with whom I was able to bond for five months. Summer is a busy season for my property-management business around Kezar Lake in Lovell too and that will limit my writing time until it all slows down late in the fall. If all goes right, I should be done with the first draft mid-winter sometime.
It’s been difficult cranking out a column every week while working on the book as well so I’ve begun merging the two here and there. Last week’s column, which I called “Thought Patterns,” was my first effort. It’s what I was working on I left off last January - laying out broad themes into which many lessons in my twentieth-century history curriculum fit. They could be termed “classically liberal” themes, rather than “liberal” in the sense of those whose adherents lately have been calling themselves “Progressives.” Columns like “Thought Patterns” won’t appear in the book verbatim, but some of its paragraphs will.

Had I been finished and shopping the book to publishers now, the timing would have been favorable given recent revelations about IRS harassment of conservatives. It seems that story has legs, however, and it’s likely that it will still be in the news next winter when I’m actually done. I can only hope.

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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Thought Patterns

Thoughts come first. If we entertain them, they turn into attitudes and actions. Thoughts are also contagious. When they spread, they permeate a people and transform them. The United States came to be after philosophers like John Locke catalyzed it. “All men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.” These thoughts were Locke’s and the country they produced a century hence prospered until conflicting thoughts from Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, Friedrich Nietzsche and others slowed it down. During the last few years of my teaching career I emphasized how thoughts shape America, for well or ill.
Study of such thoughts and actions has shaped me as well. I’ve come to favor some philosophies over others and that affected how I viewed history and, in turn, it affected how I taught it. I strove for objectivity but felt compelled to disclose my biases to students early in the school year. No thoughtful person is completely objective and students should be aware of their teachers' biases. Because I wrote a weekly column published in local newspapers, my biases were out there anyway. I told them I was a Catholic Christian, conservative in both my religious and my political views. Then I taught them what the political spectrum was, then reduced it to one page and gave it to them for reference.
It also became necessary to disclose that I believed in objective truth - that there was indeed an objective reality that we humans perceive imperfectly. When I paused to feel out how that concept was sinking in, I realized before very long that I was preaching to the choir. Students not only understood, but wondered why I would take time and trouble describing what they considered so obvious. Of course there was such a thing as objective truth. They knew it intuitively. They were eighth graders and hadn’t been to college. This concept hadn’t yet been purged from their minds by pseudo-intellectual, relativist professors. They were uncorrupted.
It soon became apparent that, rather than debate the question of whether objective reality existed, my job was to prepare them for encounters with instructors for whom the only truth was that there was no such thing. I started by writing the word “philosophy” on the board, then asked them what it meant. Students offered answers like “The study of thinking” and such. Then I’d tell them to look up a formal definition, whereupon they’d tell me the dictionary.com definition: “the rational investigation of the truths and principles of being, knowledge, or conduct.”
“Okay,” I said. “Whoever wrote that definition has the same perspective we have - he or she believes in objective truth, right?”

They got that.

“If we didn’t believe there was such a thing as objective truth, we wouldn’t bother to pursue it, would we?”

Some looked at me as if they were disappointed that I’d be wasting their time teaching something they already knew, and I should have realized they’d be bored. “Bear with me, please,” I’d say. “America’s founding fathers believed in a Creator who had a purpose, however mysterious that might be. Eighteenth and nineteenth-century Americans did too. They believed they had a God-given right to pursue happiness as individuals, and they could practice any religion they wished in that pursuit, unimpeded by government and America prospered. The 20th century can be viewed as one in which that gradually changed.
My curriculum was twentieth-century American History, civics, economics, and current events. It was my intention that one of the over-arching themes during the year would be how seeds of conflicting philosophies begun in the nineteenth century, like Darwinism, which postulates that everything just happened for no purpose; Marxism, which declares religion as an opiate of the people; but especially nihilism, which purports that nothing matters; and relativism, which denies objective truth. All these would become dominant in the late 1900s when my students were born. As such thought patterns prevailed, Americans changed, and so did their country.
I was unsure at first whether fourteen-year-olds would be able to comprehend such concepts, but I needn’t have worried. They ate it up. When I “came out” as a person who looked at our existence quite differently from the relativists whose thinking dominated our age, most understood. Showing them how I thought, and why, seemed the most honest way to approach my job.
My column was, and still is, controversial - being as I am a minority conservative in a very blue state. Every week or so there would be a letter to the editor in one of the local papers critical of my views, or of me personally. Every couple of months I’d read a particularly vitriolic letter to each of my classes and watch their eyes widen. “Doesn’t that bother you?” a student would ask.

“At first it did,” I’d explain, “but after a year or so I started looking forward to letters like this because when I’m getting flak, I know I’m over the target.” Then I’d tell them the superintendent directed me to tell my students “from time to time” that it was all right for them to disagree with my views or what they thought my views might be - just like the letter writer did.


Inevitably, a student would say: “We already know that, Mr. McLaughlin.”

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