NEA President: Trump Pushing U.S. ‘Towards Authoritarianism and Despotism’

National Education Association President Lily Eskelsen Garcia speaks at a news conference on American labor on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2017. Trump said on Twitter that the driver in Tuesday's attack "came into our country through what is called the 'Diversity Visa Lottery Program,' a Chuck Schumer …
Andrew Harnik/AP Photo

The president of the National Education Association (NEA) said President Donald Trump is “pushing” the nation “towards authoritarianism and despotism.”

Lily Eskelsen Garcia kicked off the nation’s largest teachers’ union’s Representative Assembly in Houston on July 4 by instructing her union members, “The moral arc of the universe needs us now to put our backs into Education Justice.”

“Because there are folks out there determined to take us back to a time when people knew their places,” she said. “When women got the coffee, when people of color sat at the back of the bus, where LGBTQ people trembled in fear in those dark classes where they didn’t bother anybody.”

Garcia said the “Red for Ed” movement, based on socialist principles, has “changed the narrative” and “is getting results.”

She continued that the United States “must have a new president” and added:

We need a new president who will respect our democracy, who serves all the people, including the ones who don’t have a membership to Mar-a-Lago. We want one who will not corrupt our institutions by giving friends and family gifts of government positions where their decisions benefit their personal and corporate wealth.

“Donald Trump is pushing our beautiful, imperfect nation towards something that would break the hearts of our Founding Fathers and mothers, towards authoritarianism, towards despotism,” Garcia said. “In the history of history, wherever authoritarian, anti-democratic despots took over, they had a common strategy. It’s about who you oppress, who you scapegoat, and the institutions you corrupt.”

The union leader said the 2020 election is “very different from any election I’ve ever seen,” because “this one is to protect our democracy.”

The NEA meeting in Houston featured a 2020 forum for Democrat presidential candidates.

“We will need more information and more member engagement than ever before,” Garcia urged her union members. “We are only at the beginning of the process to select the candidate who will face Donald Trump.”

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