Melissa Harris-Perry responded Tuesday to charges by right-wing commentators like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh who say that her recently released 30-second MSNBC promo is part of a United Nations plot to collectivise U.S. children and remove them from their parents’ custody.
In an essay published Tuesday called “Why caring for children is not just a parent’s job,” the Tulane professor and author said that the deluge of hate mail she has received from Beck and Limbaugh fans spurred her into action.
“My inbox began filling with hateful, personal attacks on Monday, apparently as a result of conservative reactions to a recent ‘Lean Forward’ advertisement now airing on MSNBC,” she wrote. “What I thought was an uncontroversial comment on my desire for Americans to see children as everyone’s responsibility has created a bit of a tempest in the right’s teapot. Allow me to double down.”
“I believe wholeheartedly, and without apology, that we have a collective responsibility to the children of our communities even if we did not conceive and bear them,” she wrote, saying that her belief in these shared responsibilities reaches across all lines of class, race and politics.
“Of course, parents can and should raise their children with their own values,” she continued. “But they should be able to do so in a community that provides safe places to play, quality food to eat, terrific schools to attend, and economic opportunities to support them. No individual household can do that alone. We have to build that world together.”
On Monday, Glenn Beck said that Harris-Perry’s promotional spot was a coded reference to “Agenda 21,” the debunked conspiracy theory that maintains that the United Nations is attempting to use mind control techniques to unite the planet under one world government and destroy the concept of private property.
Calling “Agenda 21” and President Barack Obama’s “Common Core” academic initiative “a loss of parental sovereignty” and “a loss of our children into a grotesque system,” Beck warned that the U.S. is rapidly approaching its doom.
“This is the announcement of where they’re headed,” he said. “This is exactly what we warned about, this is the fulfilment of so many things that we have said on this program.”
Not to be outdone, Rush Limbaugh called Harris-Perry a Marxist, who is peddling “foreign” ideology.
“This is Marx, Mengele, communist manifesto, the nuclear family has always been under attack by communists, leftists,” said Limbaugh. “The nuclear family, just like religion, must be destroyed, and in its place the community, the collective. So while this is outrageous in its self-contained form, it isn’t anything new.”
Harris-Perry’s essay concluded, “I venture to say that anyone and everyone should know full well that my message in that ad was a call to see ourselves as connected to a larger whole. I don’t want your kids, but I want them to live in safe neighborhoods. I want them to learn in enriching and dynamic classrooms. I want them to be healthy and well and free from fear. I want them to grow up to agree or disagree with me or with you and to have all the freedom and tools they need to express what they believe. And no hateful thing that you say to me or about me will ever change that I want those things for your children.”
Watch the video that began the controversy, embedded below via MSNBC: