On Tuesday, Democrats nominated Arizona State University professor David Garcia, an identity politics candidate who opposes school choice. Garcia has endorsed — and was endorsed by — the movement #RedforEd and the organization Arizona Educators United. Tucson band teacher Derek Harris, a leader with that movement, has slammed the late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), and openly declared, “I’m not sorry he’s gone.”
Earlier this month, PJ Media unearthed tweets in which Garcia’s digital director, Xenia Orona, called America a “sh*thole country,” suggested all law enforcement was racist, and sent an “open letter to Arizona: F*ck you!” Garcia demanded her resignation, but his campaign arguably reflects some of her statements. He adopted racial identity politics, going so far as to say that someone with his last name should win the election, and he calls for the abolition of ICE. Harris’s tweets also echoed that race-based, anti-American critique.
Derek Harris began attacking McCain on the day of the senator’s death. He retweeted activist Anthony Oliveira, who wrote, “hmmm a lot of these tweets eulogizing racist dirtbag John McCain don’t sound much like reality but DO sound like a lot of unprocessed baggage about your dads.”
hmm a lot of these tweets eulogizing racist dirtbag John McCain don't sound much like reality but DO sound like a lot of unprocessed baggage about your dads
— Anthony Oliveira (@meakoopa) August 26, 2018
The band teacher didn’t stop there. On the day after McCain’s death, Oliveira attacked the late senator again, calling him “an old bigot.” Harris responded, “He’s no jerry [sic] Falwell (founder of Liberty University and a leader of the Religious Right), but I’m not sorry he’s gone… more worried about who’ll get appointed in his place.”
As for a replacement, the band teacher put forth his own idea. “May I recommend a possible replacement for John McCain? This empty, rusted bucket,” he tweeted.
Novelist Stephen King shared a fond memory of John McCain — the senator corrected a woman who called Obama an “Arab,” as if “Arab” were a dirty word. McCain responded by calling Obama a fine family man, not suggesting that “Arabs” were somehow less, but defending Obama from the insinuation that he was a foreigner and not to be trusted.
Responding to this, Derek Harris effectively called McCain a racist. He tweeted, “It’s a racist notion that a man can’t be both Arab and a good person.” While this statement is technically true, McCain was not attacking Arabs as a class, but responding to the woman’s insinuation that Obama was racially inferior and a foreigner. McCain did the right thing, and Stephen King was inspired for a reason.
As for racism, Harris seems set on finding it everywhere. When the Arizona Education Association sent a tweet calling on educators to register to vote, Harris complained about the voting graphic. “Why that hand gotta be white and male?” the band teacher, himself a white male, replied. [Gee, it couldn’t possibly be the simplest graphic available… Also, is Harris really sure the hand isn’t Asian?]
It gets worse, however. When Diane Douglas, Arizona superintendent of public instruction, tweeted a video celebrating “new standards in History, Civics, Economics and Geography” that enable students to learn “the proud history of our great nation,” Harris was triggered. “Believe it or not, your [sic] making a [sic] argument for white supremacy,” he responded.
America’s history does include dark chapters involving slavery and white supremacy, but to suggest that defending any of the “proud history” of this “great nation” is an argument for “white supremacy” is absurd. Isn’t the civil rights movement part of America’s proud history? How about the abolition of slavery? Taking pride in American history need not be a racist action.
Derek Harris doesn’t just see racism behind voting graphics and pride in history, however. When a Republican strategist suggested that “a good 2020 Dem” should support charter schools, this fine public educator responded, “Get rid of that racist charter school sh*t.” WHAT?
Charter schools are part of the broader school choice movement, which enables parents to send their kids to a wide variety of schools while still receiving state funding to help meet expenses. School choice has expanded opportunities across the country, most notably in Washington, D.C., where charter schools outperform public schools, benefitting the African-American students in the nation’s capital.
This attack on charter schools seems oddly fitting for an ally of Garcia, however. Garcia firmly opposes school choice, and he has even hidden the fact that his daughter attends a charter school — in order to bolster his public school credentials.
Harris also attacked conservative filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza as “dumb Dinesh,” declaring that the filmmaker “doesn’t know sh*t.”
All these tweets may seem beside the point. Derek Harris isn’t exactly the digital director for Garcia — he doesn’t even work for the campaign! But Garcia is more than happy to associate with Arizona Educators United and the #RedforEd movement. The candidate also pushes race-based identity politics and the abolition of ICE — and he opposes school choice.
How much does he agree with the sentiments behind Harris’s tweets?
While #RedforEd claims to be a nonpartisan movement, the Washington Free Beacon’s Brent Scher reported Harris’s Facebook posts suggesting otherwise. When President Donald Trump praised former president Andrew Jackson, Derek Harris posted, “This racist mother*cker hopes to kill more native Americans.”
Is this the kind of ally David Garcia really wants to foster? Voters in Arizona need to know.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.