Magazine article The American Conservative

Come Home, America

Magazine article The American Conservative

Come Home, America

Article excerpt

So Mike Huckabee gets out of the presidential race, and the liberal establishment is once again emboldened to target homeschoolers. It never takes long for the empire to strike back.

OK, so it's not a precise cause-and-effect, but the plain facts are these. Huckabee is a leading champion of the home-schooling movement, estimated to number as many as 2.4 million students nationwide. Indeed, it was two home-schoolers, Alex and Brett Harris, 19-year-old twins from Gresham, Oregon, who spearheaded the creation of Hucks Army.com, the closest thing that the Right has to Moveon.org. But now, of course, the overall commander of Huck's army, defeated as he was in political battle, has left the field.

Then, on Feb. 28, a California appeals court ruled that parents "do not have a constitutional right to home-school their children." Answering the court, James Dobson, chairman of Focus on the Family, declared, "The court is guilty of an imperious assault on the rights of parents." And so once again the culture-battle is joined.

As for me, I know where I stand. One steady sight on the Huckabee campaign trail was the homeschoolers. And aside from typically carrying signs reading, "Home Schoolers 4 Huck," the kids were distinctive in other ways: they were well scrubbed, well behaved, and well dressed. And by well dressed, I mean long skirts and even long sleeves for the girls--the old-fashioned virtue of modesty.

One of the high points of riding on the Huckabus was the former governor's impromptu talk to a group of Christian homeschool basketball players in St. Johns, Michigan, north of Lansing. The kids, wearing jerseys bearing the words "Christian Warrior," had come to play, not to hear a politician talk. Mindful that he was interrupting a game, Huckabee said he would speak only briefly. And he did.

Looking out at a sea of young people--by my estimation, there were about five children for every pair of parents in the bleachers--the Arkansas governor declared, "You will face a lot of challenges in your life, but you will never be stronger or taller than when you are on your knees praying to God." He added a few words about working hard in school, recalling some of his own youthful role models, and then closed with a be-nice injunction: "So now go out and play hard, but remember, always show good sportsmanship." The place exploded in applause.

Huckabee lost the Michigan Republican primary, of course, but I have no doubt that he carried the homeschool parents in St. …

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