As the Ashburn Supervisor on the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors (BOS), I represent the interests of every person in my district without exception. I take my oath of office very seriously, and I fight hard every day for my constituents’ interests no matter what their political views. This is part of the job, and I know every one of my colleagues on the BOS, Democrats like myself as well as my Republican colleagues, adhere to that same impartial standard.
Loudoun County has received some pretty nasty press over the past few weeks, and not surprisingly, the Supervisors have received quite a few emails from concerned citizens. Many of them have been from outside of Loudoun County. Yet we have stayed largely silent during this controversy because it concerns issues within the Loudoun County Public School system (LCPS). The School Board is independently elected and, other than approving the LCPS budget at the beginning of each budget cycle, the BOS must constitutionally refrain from any involvement in School Board and LCPS activities.
Unfortunately, for weeks my constituents have been willfully misled and misinformed by politically motivated media and social media about what is and is not going on in Loudoun County Public Schools. Then, while at lunch the other day, a constituent walked up to me and asked me why we were teaching Critical race theory in our schools. In that moment, I realized my silence is only enabling the false narrative. I therefore feel compelled, in the interests of keeping my constituents fully informed, to offer some additional perspective about what’s really going on.
Here are the facts: Critical race theory has not been and is not being taught in our schools, Dr. Seuss was never banned from our libraries, and the issue of preferred pronouns and our students was mandated by a new Virginia law, not by LCPS.
What many of our citizens may not realize, however, is the political calculus that is very likely driving this negative, national press. This coming November, there are only two states in the nation with regular, statewide elections: New Jersey, which is overwhelmingly Democratic and therefore not a swing state, and Virginia, a critical swing state in every sense of the word.
Right now, there are two factions fighting for the heart and soul of the Republican Party: one faction supports former President Donald Trump and his false claim of a fraudulent presidential election, and the other faction representing the traditionally conservative core of the party accepts the results of the 2020 election and understands the importance of protecting our democratic processes.
Fox News, all Republican candidates for Virginia statewide offices and the Loudoun County Republican Party have demonstrated continuously through their public statements they belong to the former President’s faction of the party. Politically, this means the Virginia election in November is the “canary in the mine.” This will be the first electoral test after the 2020 election to see which faction of the party will prevail going into the 2022 midterm elections. Victory in Virginia in November is critical, and to win in Virginia, this faction and these candidates absolutely must win Loudoun County.
That’s why Fox News, similarly leaning media and social media, and those emailing us from outside of Virginia have seized upon Critical race theory, Dr. Seuss and transgender pronouns to promulgate patently false narratives about these topics. They have weaponized and grossly over-simplified important, complex issues not out of concern for our students and their parents but because Loudoun County is the first battle in a newly raging culture war.
Supervisor Mike Turner (D-Ashburn)