Public Affairs Strategist Clint Brewer Talks 2021 and the Need for Kids to Get Back to School


Live from Music Row Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. –  host Leahy welcomed all-star panelist Clint Brewer to the studio.

During the third hour, Brewer weighed in on how he thought society might look going into 2021. He later discussed how imperative it was that schools reopen and noted the damage that has been done to kids in light of the COVID-19 shutdowns psychologically and how they will not be adequately quantified for at least a decade.

(Social Tap Eatery Co-Owner Brent Crenshaw clip plays)

It’s frustrating that the goalposts in California just keep getting moved. And you know, yeah, I mean it definitely seemed or feels a little political. But you know, I just wish there was the science there to back up the decisions going on in California. And the frustrations of you know owners is that it’s not.

Leahy: Well frustration is the word these days as a restaurant owner. and apparently California you can’t do anything. You can’t have a restaurant.  You can’t have a small business. But if you’re a friend of Gavin Newsom and he wants to come to your restaurant well, that’s okay. This is the frustration. There’s another thing I bring up and I want to come back to you here with a response to that.

We have a commentary up at the Tennessee Star on the web at by Robin Burke. It’s interesting. It’s called, We Must Renew Our Covenant With One Another Because Pretending Things Are Fine Won’t Cut It. Interesting kind of a lookout to what we ought to do in 2021 this way to segue into this. What are your hopes for 2021 because 2020 was really pretty awful?

Brewer: Yeah. I think we have to sort of tent pole, pillar institutions, and can we get them back up and running? I have children and the thing that the thing I think that’s been the hardest has been school closures.

Leahy: Yes.

Brewer: We’ve had a member of the Metro Nashville School Board in here talking about this. I mean, you know, when you close the schools down you don’t just take their kids out of their social setting, and you don’t just make it harder for them to learn. Those things are bad enough. But you know, you also vastly disrupt the lives of a family. I’ve heard just harsh stories of people whose kids who are otherwise really terrific students just simply cannot take to online learning.

Leahy: No, it’s awful. It’s just terrible.

Brewer: So I think my greatest hope is that we can get kids back in school and keep teachers healthy. And just have faculties that have the health status to teach kids. And that we can have kids in schools. Whether that’s in elementary school or university where they can can learn in person again. We don’t talk about this a whole lot. There’s some reportage on it here and there but, you know, we’re impacting an entire generation.

Leahy: Ruining them.

Brewer: I mean really you’re now looking at you know, two full years of people’s lives being vastly disrupted by this.

Leahy: Yes. The last academic year and this academic year.

Brewer: I’ve got a child who’s a varsity athlete at a local high school. And I mean he missed an entire sports season. I mean think about that just to listeners who look back on, you know, their amateur student-athletes’ sports careers fondly. Imagine missing the whole year. Not just you but your team.

Leahy: That would have been devastating. You know I grew up in a little small town in upstate New York. And everybody if you could walk and talk and chew gum you played all three sports. You played football in the fall basketball in the winter and baseball in the spring and summer. As a kid, as a guy, you know, you lived to be a to play sports. I mean if you mean you did your school, but it was a sports. It was freshman year. Sophomore year. Junior year.

Brewer: That’s what I’m saying.

Leahy: I mean I remember very specific games. I can remember the feeling of winning and the feeling of loss and the camaraderie with your teammates. It’s very important in character formation.

Brewer: It’s hugely important. And I think of all the things our children are missing. I you know, I think about how their test scores are being hurt. How their grade point average scores are being hurt.

Leahy: They are just plummeting.

Brewer: This thing has affected children in a way that I don’t think will be properly quantified for a decade.

Leahy: Let me tell you something interesting my friend Dr. Susan Berry. For those of you who read Breitbart now, she’s she writes a lot about education issues. She had a piece the other day at Breitbart. She said look. It turns out 90 percent of Christian schools have been conducting in-person school throughout this pandemic.

Brewer: Well, I think even secular private schools have been going on. And so you get a little more decision-making when you’re in private sector versus the public sector and on those things. But the majority of kids and America are educated by public schools and public universities. And you know, I think that yes my hope that’s my single greatest hope is that kids can get back to school. Because again I don’t think we are pondering how deeply that’s going to affect society for years to come.

Leahy: It will.

Brewer: This year or year and a half. Or whatever it ends up being.

Leahy: So I will give you a counter to that in the education field. I think it is very important for the kids to go back to school. I think our K-12 public schools are broken beyond repair. Totally broken beyond repair. And so what I’d like to see is I like to see is tremendous growth in homeschooling in these little small pod schools in the private sector. To figure out a way to get them out there and let the enormous infrastructure of the K-12 public school system either collapse on its own, which I think it will do in many areas. Or develop the community capability to change course. That’s what I’d like to see in 2021.

Brewer: Yeah. I mean I think kids learning in person is important regardless of the setting. I think probably next on my personal list would be you know, we’ve seen this incredible divide in the last 10-15 years. We always talk about the economy coming back. Well, there’s the market and then there’s everyone else.

Leahy: The financial markets.

Brewer: The financial markets. and then there’s you know, the people on the ground who go to work every day. I think you know us getting to a level of vaccination in this country where people can start go at doing simple things like going to the mall. And going back to restaurants to the point of the clip you played earlier. Doing normal things that support local businesses.

Leahy: Small businesses.

Brewer: Yes. Small businesses.

Leahy: One of the very bad consequences of all this COVID-19 is it has crushed small businesses and it hasn’t really heard many big businesses.

Brewer: No. It hasn’t. In fact, some of the larger businesses are doing better now.

Leahy: Amazon is doing better. Google and Facebook doing better, unfortunately. And the grocery store chains. And Target and Walmart. Because apparently you can’t get COVID-19 at Walmart or Target but you can get it at your local restaurant.

Brewer: Exactly. And I think that’s it’s crucial not just for people’s pocketbooks, but just for their mental well-being of being able to get out of the house and do things. On social media, I have so many friends who’ve discovered hiking or kayaking or being outside, which I think is great. But, you know being able to take your family simply to a restaurant and be able to get a break from cooking dinner sit down and have a meal out somewhere.

That’s important. Church. I mean goodness. we’ve got to reopen churches in a more holistic way. And I certainly understand the churches that are closed. It’s a difficult decision. But you know those kinds of sort of hometown re-openings of things I think are as important psychologically and economically to Americans as school.

Leahy: So I have a hope for 2021. I don’t know if this will be realized but is probably one of the most important hopes, wishes, and desires that that you could ever have for America. And that is it will find ways to keep Joe Biden from selling out America to China.

Brewer: (Laughs) Well, I wouldn’t hope that for any president.

Leahy: But I mean he’s so compromised on China. You talked about this separation between the financial markets and everybody else. The people that you know, the local economy. The financial markets largely want to do business with China.

Brewer: Yes, we’ve talked about that here in the hour before.

Leahy: They want to do business with China. They could care less about the huge human rights violations going on there. The authoritarian nature of the Chinese Communist Party. Their desire to crush any opposition and to basically, enrich their crony friends and hurt the average everyday folks. I hope we’ll be able to constrain Joe Biden’s desire to do business with the Chinese because obviously he’s compromised his son who was involved in a multi-million dollar deals with the Chinese. And he’s bringing in people who love China.

Brewer: Well, I think that as I’ve said quite a few times on this show our country’s foreign policy position towards China is going to be one of the single most important things and top three heading into the next 20 years.

Leahy: Absolutely. And I’m sorry to say it doesn’t look so good. He’s going to be if all turns as it looks like our new Commander in Chief, yikes! It doesn’t look good.

Listen to the full third hour here:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio









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