If you want to know what fascism in America looks like, visit a red state public university's purge of faculty over thought crimes.
Joy Alonzo, a respected opioid expert, was in a panic.
The Texas A&M University professor had just returned home from giving a routine lecture on the opioid crisis at the University of Texas Medical Branch when she learned a student had accused her of disparaging Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick during the talk.
In the few hours it took to drive from Galveston, the complaint had made its way to her supervisors, and Alonzo’s job was suddenly at risk.
“I am in a ton of trouble. Please call me!” she wrote to Chandler Self, the UTMB professor who invited her to speak.
Alonzo was right to be afraid. Not only were her supervisors involved, but so was Chancellor John Sharp, a former state comptroller who now holds the highest-ranking position in the Texas A&M University System, which includes 11 public universities and 153,000 students. And Sharp was communicating directly with the lieutenant governor’s office about the incident, promising swift action.
Less than two hours after the lecture ended, Patrick’s chief of staff had sent Sharp a link to Alonzo’s professional bio.
Shortly after, Sharp sent a text directly to the lieutenant governor: “Joy Alonzo has been placed on administrative leave pending investigation re firing her. shud [sic] be finished by end of week.”
The text message was signed “jsharp.”
Now, Joy Alonzo got to keep her job after the school's investigation found that she did nothing wrong, but the bigger issue is that what college students are being taught is that learning something that they don't agree with is wrong, being exposed to those ideas is actually making them victims, and that they have the power to remove that thought from the school so that they never have to deal with it.
They will expect to be able to do that going forward in life. The removal of people unlike them, not the thinking part, that is.
In the America that Republicans are setting up, where everything is a culture war battle and fighting that battle so that your side is the only one left standing in the battle of "ideas", that will be the new norm.
Welcome to the GOP "education initiative".