Earlier this year, Kentucky Republicans crafted a new law requiring all public schools to prominently display the text "In God We Trust," part of the ongoing effort by Republicans to require everyone believe what they believe or face legal retribution. Schools have been complying, of course.
But in Lexington, Fayette County Public Schools have engaged in a bit of malicious compliance. Rather than using ever-limited school funds to order custom In God We Trust signs or tasking students to come up with the legally required artwork, the district looked at the requirements and came up with the cheapest and most efficient solution: they printed out the enlarged reverse side of $1 dollar bills, which feature the motto prominently (along with the weird pyramid eye that makes us look like nutcases).
"Like every school district in the Commonwealth, Fayette County Public Schools has complied with the requirements of the new law to display the national motto in our schools. All schools in our district have been provided a framed version of an enlarged copy of a $1 dollar bill to display in a prominent location," Fayette County Superintendent Manny Caulk told WKYT.
Republican lawmakers are, of course, pissed. The intent was for the message to be displayed in a more propaganda-compliant fashion, big and religiously intimidating, only to have some school officials follow the law to the letter rather than jumping onto the theocratic bandwagon. There's no doubt those same lawmakers will be looking for retribution against the district, a new law refining the theocratic intent of the old law, or (most likely) both.
They shouldn't. The point of the legislation was to efficiently indoctrinate American children; you can't come up with a more efficient method of indoctrinating them than encouraging them to worship the dollar bill directly. It's a time-saver, if anything. If the dollar bill loves God and the children love the dollar, both bases are covered. The 20th century adoption of the phrase as a voodoo curse against global communism, during the peak of the Cold War, and the unending efforts of conservative rabble-rousers to return us to those jingoistic days will make for an excellent history lesson. The hollowness of the phrase, the ability to turn any seemingly profound statement of patriotism or faith or both into omnipresent but rote drivel, another bit of visual static to clutter our commercialized, emotionless landscape.
But the kids will love this. I promise you, they will love it. The halls will ring with daily cries of "me millionth dollar!" followed by uproarious laughter. You are immediately brightening otherwise-dreary days.
If Kentucky Republicans wanted to bring on a true and proper theocracy, one that dispensed with the do unto others nonsense in favor of empty sloganeering, virtue-signaling without the irritation of having to maintain a virtue, one that children can properly both learn and will immediately resent and pervert into their own inside jokes, lawmakers would mandate every school in the state follow the Fayette County lead.
Published with permission from Daily Kos.