Live from Music Row Friday 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 the original all-star panelist Crom Carmichael to the studio to weigh in on the recent federal civil rights lawsuit charging governors who block mask mandates in their state.
Leahy: In-studio, the original all-star panelist, Crom Carmichael. Crom, the federal government is suffering from mask madness or perhaps mask hysteria.
Carmichael: It’s really more command and control. Masks are just the latest way of trying to force governors and individuals to bend a knee.
Leahy: Exactly. Now we have a story up at WKRN that just broke late last night. The Biden administration is taking aim at states that are blocking mask mandates for school districts.
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona wrote a letter to Governor Bill Lee and Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn regarding Tennessee’s decision or the executive order from Bill Lee to allow parents to opt-out of local mass mandates.
Of course, Williamson County Schools had a mask mandate. They appear to be complying with the governor’s executive order. But Metro Nashville Public Schools, as well as Shelby County schools, have a two-word message for Governor Lee, and we can’t say it on the air.
Carmichael: You can’t say up yours?
Leahy: (Laughs) Okay. I suppose you could say that. (Laughter)
Carmichael: There’s so much that’s interesting and sad in many ways about this, but none of it is surprising. But the effect is going to be interesting, because what is it that all of these people who are demanding masks mandates – what are they fundamentally basing that on?
They’re basing that on calling it an emergency? I don’t know if you saw that, you probably didn’t. But John Eason is a friend of mine, and he has been very, very involved in the charter school movement.
And he sent out an email talking about how terrible the government-run schools have done in the last year in terms of how terrible the students’ performance has been.
Leahy: It plummeted.
Carmichael: It is absolutely abysmal.
Leahy: We’re ruining a generation.
Carmichael: We are. The preponderance of the burden is falling on Black and Hispanic children.
Carmichael: So if there is an emergency, it’s the civil rights problems that are the totalitarian government. The reason that Biden thinks the Taliban isn’t so bad is he kind of likes the way they operate. He really does kind of like the way that they operate.
Leahy: The command and control.
Carmichael: The command and control. And so the question is whether or not the next president uses the same theory and could. And I think they absolutely could. This is where Republicans are going to have to figure out whether or not they stand for the individual or whether or not they stand with the government.
Because if you say, well, we’re going to leave it with the states and we’re going to leave it with the cities. And you have states and cities that do a deplorable job of educating individual children, especially Black and Hispanic, is there a role for the federal government to come in and claim civil rights violations and essentially say, as long as your results are so terrible, your teachers’ unions are hereby voided.
They’re gone. And I mean, you do it like, I mean, snap of the finger. Your teachers’ unions are gone. And then have a legal battle and find out what matters more.
And that is whether or not teachers’ unions and their command and control and disastrous results, whether or not they hold sway over the rights of individual Black and Hispanic families and children.
Leahy: That’s an interesting point. Now, I have this question for you in terms of this breaking news at the Secretary of Education is threatening ‘civil rights prosecution’ against Governor Lee and the state of Tennessee for ‘allowing’ parents to opt-out of mask mandates in Davidson and Shelby County.
Carmichael: Let me stop you just for a second to clarify this. You’re saying they sent a letter threatening lawsuits against the governor or against him personally?
Leahy: Against the governor, acting as a governor.
Carmichael: Okay. So I’m just trying to understand, though, are they threatening him as the governor?
Carmichael: Okay. But not as a person.
Leahy: That is true.
Carmichael: Okay. All right. Because if they threatened him as a person, that then becomes a very interesting theory.
Leahy: No. They’re threatening him as a governor. But here is what it seems like to me. And their logic is so convoluted, Crom. They’re basically saying, so we pass this American Rescue Plan law back in the spring, and that gave some COVID-19 relief money to school districts.
Then on August 4th without any scientific basis for it, the Centers for Disease Control came out with this guidance, not a law, guidance.
Bureaucrats saying, our guidance is even if you’re vaccinated, K-12 kids, parents, and staff have to wear masks in school. Now, here we are, two weeks later.
This letter from the secretary of education saying, well, because of that guidance, at a couple of pointy-headed bureaucrats came up with that from thin air, because you’re not following that guidance, we are going to start looking at civil rights violations on your part.
Carmichael: All right. Now, here’s my question. Are they suing the governor? Is it a civil matter? Is it a criminal matter? What is it that they are threatening to do to these eight governors? Are they threatening to arrest them?
Carmichael: Okay, so they’re threatening to do what?
Leahy: They’re threatening to withhold funds from local education agencies.
Carmichael: So they’re threatening.
Leahy: But also, they’re beginning at a civil rights investigation from the Department of Justice.
Carmichael: Could that then become criminal?
Leahy: I don’t think so. I don’t think it would be criminal. I don’t think that’s what their current plan is. But we’ll see. You don’t know.
My question for you, before we get to that, is the governor thought that signing this executive order would allow him not to have a special session.
We’ve got 30 seconds here, Crom. Do you think in light of this response that the governor will call a special session of the Tennessee General Assembly to address all of this masking stuff?
Carmichael: Well, let me say with great certainty that he might or he might not. (Laughter)
Leahy: Thank you so much, Crom. You are enlightening our listeners. (Laughter)
Carmichael: Just trying to be helpful.
Leahy: I think that prediction is 100 percent correct. We’ll come back with more enlightenment after the break with Crom Carmichael.
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