Many years ago, my family was partway through dinner on a Monday night when there was a knock at the door. Answering it, my father found—to his great surprise—one of the gubernatorial candidates for our state.
This candidate was locked in a close primary battle, and, discovering he had some extra time between meetings, decided to stop at our house to drum up support, since every member of our household was a delegate or an alternate to the state convention.
“Oh, hi!” my father exclaimed, as he welcomed the candidate in the door. “We were just talking about you and wondering which candidate we should support at the convention!”
“You were?” came the candidate’s incredulous reply, amazed at the coincidental timing, but even more astounded that a family would sit down and discuss politics at the dinner table.
That candidate’s surprise over our dinnertime political discussions, I realized recently, signals one of America’s main problems. We got into our current mess—riots, contested elections, corrupt leadership and all—because political and cultural discussions aren’t happening at the most basic level of government: the nuclear family.
Today’s children are growing up besieged by innumerable political voices. Media, teachers, friends, and educational materials all cry out, encouraging them to be woke, to embrace multiculturalism, to shun religion and cancel those who swim against the trends of political correctness. Parents who don’t accept woke propaganda fight an uphill battle in ensuring their viewpoints are passed along to their own children. How can we teach children to think outside the box and embrace the values of faith, family, and freedom that all Americans once accepted as givens?
A similar question is raised by W. Cleon Skousen in his 1958 work The Naked Communist. Skousen declares that it is up to average individuals living and working in average places to fight these propaganda battles:
The war between freedom and slavery is not just a fight to be waged by Congressmen, the President, soldiers and diplomats. Fighting Communism, Socialism and the subversion of constitutional government is everybody’s job. And working for the expansion of freedom is everybody’s job. It is a basic American principle that each individual knows better than anyone else what he can do to help once he has become informed. No citizen will have to go far from his own home to find a faltering battle line which needs his aid. Communist influences are gnawing away everywhere and thousands of confused citizens often aid and abet them by operating in a vacuum of their own ignorance. The task is therefore to become informed and then move out for action! [Emphasis in bold added.]
Skousen urges parents to “make current events part of the dinner table talk,” explaining to children how the media can twist the truth in their headlines and content. He also suggests that parents themselves stay informed and get involved in civic events. Demonstrating “that you are concerned with what is going on” will encourage your children to follow your lead.
But such conversations should not only revolve around political affairs. “We are in an ideological war,” Skousen declares, a fact echoed by Maureen Mullarkey in the November edition of Chronicles Magazine. As such, parents should wage a spiritual battle, taking children to church and providing for their “spiritual needs.” “From a Marxist viewpoint,” writes Skousen, “an atheistic mind is already three-fourths conquered.”
Now is not the time to throw in the towel. Now is the time to fight for our country through winning the heart and soul of America one child at a time.
Annie Holmquist is the editor of Intellectual Takeout. When not writing or editing, she enjoys reading, gardening, and time with family and friends.