Live from Music Row, Monday 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 Robin Steenman of Moms for Liberty-Williamson County to the newsmaker line to comment upon the recent Washington Post article citing the group as ‘aggressive and well organized.’
Leahy: And it is a pleasure to welcome to our microphones our good friend Robin Steenman. Robin is the founder of Moms for Liberty in Williamson County. And Robin, that personal blog site owned by the authoritarian billionaire Jeff Bezos, doesn’t like you guys. Have you read the story in The Washington Post?
Steenman: I have read the story.
Leahy: It described you as well organized and aggressive. You have aggressive behavior at the school board meetings. Does that mean that you actually get up and articulate a view critical of Critical Race Theory?
Steenman: Yeah, I think that’s what aggressive means. I appreciate the well organized compliment, but as far as I know, the four or five times I’ve been before the school board, it’s just been very calm and respectful and a presentation of the facts and parental concerns. So if the Left calls that aggressive, that’s an interesting definition.
Leahy: Yes. You’re just exercising the First Amendment freedom of speech. I thought freedom of speech was allowed in America, and particularly at school board meetings. But you’ve been able to express your viewpoints in school board meetings usually, haven’t you, or not?
Steenman: Yes. One minute at a time.
Leahy: (Laughs) One minute at a time. So now there’s this group of Left-leaning mothers, apparently. Are they from Williamson County? Are they organized out of Washington? It’s called – and this is, I don’t know where they come up with this name – Red Wine and Blue. Is that really the name of this group? Red Wine and Blue?
Steenman: That is really the name. So I’m not sure how you go before the school board or even go to the state Capitol and have wine in your name and a wine glass in your logo and expect to be taken seriously.
Leahy: Yes. Is this just another kind of effort of political colonization? How legit is this group?
Steenman: I call it – imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. I think they’ve seen the success of parents coming forward, defending their children, using their First Amendment rights to speak out against indoctrination in the classroom, and how effective that has been.
And they want to imitate that and use it for the Left’s purposes. But the problem with that is they really have no message. This Red Wine and Blue and all the little groups that go with them are spinning up just to counter Moms for Liberty or counter the parents that are speaking out against harmful policies in the classroom.
So while Moms for Liberty originated to take up for the children to speak for the children and defend the safety of our children, Red Wine and Blue seeks only to counter Moms for Liberty. There’s no message there.
Leahy: Yes. Or to attack you. How many of these people are from Williamson County?
Steenman: I’m not aware of how many of them are in Williamson County. Per the Washington Post article, there’s at least one.
Leahy: (Laughs) Oh, my goodness. Tell us what the progress of Moms for Liberty dealing with the Williamson County School Board has been? And the other question is, why is the Williamson County School Board so unreceptive to the message of Moms for Liberty?
Why does the school board become so authoritarian towards moms just wanting to have their kids learning the truth about American history?
Steenman: I think it’s a nationwide phenomenon that we’ve found, that in the past 10 years as parents assume that the school board is taken care of, that the people running for those positions represent their values, then slowly, those positions have been overtaken by people in opposition to those values. And it flew under the radar for a long period of time, until along comes COVID and parents understand what’s being taught in the classrooms.
And then furthermore, the school board votes to mask their children. And when they bring those concerns before the school board and find out, oh, guess what? Your values are in direct opposition to mine. And we come up against a brick wall. And that’s why in 2022, we will replace those that do not listen and do not share our values for our children.
Leahy: There are what, 12 members of the school board? Six of them are up this year for re-election. The Moms for Liberty is one group. Williamson Families PAC is another group, but they’re kind of related. Tell us about the school board efforts going on in Williamson County.
Steenman: We will announce our candidates by the end of this month. Most likely we will have school board candidates and County Commission candidates.
Leahy: You’re also going for County Commission candidates as well.
Steenman: Correct. We have over 20 candidates.
Leahy: Wow. There are 24 members of the County Commission, and 12 of them are up this cycle. Is that right?
Steenman: They’re all up this cycle.
Leahy: Oh, okay. All 24. Okay, so I got that wrong. That’s very interesting. The County Commission matters because they review and approve the school budget, correct?
Leahy: What’s the atmosphere like and the conduct of the superintendent of schools? What’s the name? Jason Golden, the lawyer who inherited this from Mike Looney, who went on down to Fulton County.
What’s the staff’s attitude towards you, and the other school board members’ attitudes towards Moms for Liberty? I get the impression they’re kind of condescending. Is that the right way to describe it, or are they open to what you say?
Steenman: Jason Golden is in lockstep with most of the school board members. Not all of them, but yes, condescending. He behaves like a lawyer. I mean, not like a teacher or a parent. There’s the porn-in-the-library problem.
Leahy: Pornography books, that are pornographic, in the library. These are like middle school books or high school books?
Steenman: Even inappropriate books in elementary, and parents have a very real and valid concern here. But a true leader of the school board – Jason Golden, if he was one – he would say, okay, I’m going to make a decision. I’ll make a decision right now. I will pull these books from the library until they can be reviewed and then we’ll move and proceed.
Instead, he hides behind a process. A 4.403 process that took from June until January of last year for the Wit & Wisdom Curriculum.
So he’s proposing a seven-month process for every single library book that a parent finds a problem with, and then he wonders why nobody has filed a 4.403 with him yet. Because we all know it’s a waste of time.
Leahy: Yes. Because it’s sort of baked-in.
Leahy: Why is it that the current school board kind of leans authoritarian Left, and how did that happen?
Steenman: In the search for candidates, I think I have the answer, because candidates are hard to find. I think conservatives in general are the people that just work hard, and raise their kids and they focus on their families, and they don’t have a lot of extra bandwidth for, say, running for office, so they let somebody else handle it.
But the people that make the time in their lives running for office are perhaps the people that have a different agenda, that they want power or have an ideology, and they are the ones that run, and the conservatives assume that they’re good and they’ll vote for them or they just sit the whole thing out. Voter turnout is historically quite low for school board elections. So in encouraging candidates to run, the conversation is, how do I find time in my life? I work so hard, how do I take time away from my kids? I don’t want them to suffer.
That’s one way that Williamson Families tries to support them and say, hey, we’ve got your back, we can help with some of the workload, we can help support … (crosstalk)
Leahy: Last question: The state passed a law that said the school board elections could be partisan. You could pick to go Republican or Democrat. I think in Davidson County they’re going partisan. Is that the case in Williamson County or not?
Steenman: Yes. Williamson County school board will be partisan this year.
Leahy: Ah-ha! Well, that would be a clue. Generally the Republican candidate and the primary are going to be when?
Steenman: May 3rd, correct.
Leahy: For the partisan school board primary. The general election for the school board is in August, so it would be a clue. Generally speaking, Republican candidates are going to be against the CRT junk, and Democrat candidates are more likely to be for it. Do I have that right?
Leahy: All right, Robin Steenman. Come back and give us an update on all of the activities in Williamson County and Moms for Liberty and Williamson Families PAC. Thanks for joining us today.
Steenman: Thanks, Michael.
– – –
Photo “Robin Steenman” by Crossroads with JOSHUA PHILIPP.