Who is the Fellow in the Field of Flowers? Hiding in Plain Sight

 

Teachers have been revealed more fully to many parents as radical leftist propagandists, party cadre members rather than the supposedly noble public servants politicians of all stripes venerate. The left is starting to notice and worry that their education allies are overplaying their hand here as the left’s black uniformed militia is on streets across the country. One story jumped out at me in Texas, not because of the teacher and selected student comments, but because of what was not said but shown. I invited others to look at the same picture. We were partially right, but the final answer was: Every Election Matters.

In mid August, the Rutherford County schools told parent not to monitor their children’s virtual classrooms. The administrators lied that this was about protecting privacy of other students, a clear fiction. Everyone knows this was about trying to intimidate parents into not collecting evidence of the ideological poison being poured into their children’s minds. We were treated a week before that to a teacher in another state musing on Twitter about losing the ability to conceal what he was doing in class from parents and saying that he had always had kids agree to keep it from parents. That is a giant red flag.

Meanwhile, parents have been rallying for in-person learning. This divides parents and teachers. True, this is not universal, but it is significant, even if minimized by the Democrats’ media wing. Politico voices the concern that teachers’ unions are burning good will by their refusal to go back to work in class and their attempt to leverage coronavirus for long-held agenda items.

It was not surprising to find a teacher with a radical leftist virtual classroom wall, even in a small Texas town. Nor was it surprising to find that she had the support of the student council who she advised trained. The Texas Tribune had the original story:

A Texas teacher who posted Black Lives Matter and LGBTQ posters in her virtual classroom was placed on leave after parents complained”

Taylor Lifka Maoist teacher

The story included a screenshot of her virtual classroom wall. In this, her avatar gestures to a particular picture. It was that picture that especially caught my eye. This is a high school English class. My question to Ricochet members: Who is the fellow in the field of flowers? I think I know. He looks familiar, but I cannot find this image independently. Is it the leader of another long march? Or am I wrong?

Update: My guess was the most prolific communist mass murderer in history, Mao. I was wrong on all but “communist.” It being nominally an English class, I should have considered a communist with more literary chops than the Little Red Book. Consistent with the rest of the images, the fellow in the field of flowers turned out to be a South American communist poet.

Communist Poet Pablo NerudaI captured a portion of the larger screen image with just the subject. I uploaded this image, isolating the pattern from the rest of the posters that would cause confusion to an online pattern recognition program, a reverse image search. Google images yielded a positive match to a post on a website called Middle East 4 Change. What is that website about? Naturally:

Provide a forum for interchange of news, research and analysis on issues faced by the working class, the dispossessed and marginalised, the disenfranchised sections of society (women, ethnic, religious, sexual and national minorities); those fighting to gain their democratic and human rights and for a more egalitarian society.

[. . .]
It will address these issues from a predominantly socialist viewpoint, and as a critique of reactionary-utopian solutions, including religious ones. It will therefore aim at real evidence-based news, research and analyses.

The post with the matching image is “Poems of resistance: Pablo Neruda.” I turned to the Encyclopedia Britannica for a serious left-of-center source on Pablo Neruda. It was as I expected, only more so. Mao is not in the frame, but Uncle Joe is. 

Neruda first published his poems in the local newspapers and later in magazines published in the Chilean capital, Santiago. In 1921 he moved to Santiago to continue his studies and become a French teacher. There he experienced loneliness and hunger and took up a bohemian lifestyle.

[. . .]

In 1934 Neruda took up an appointment as consul in Barcelona, Spain, and soon he was transferred to the consulate in Madrid. His success there was instantaneous after García Lorca introduced him. Neruda’s new friends, especially Rafael Alberti and Miguel Hernández, were involved in radical politics and the Communist Party. Neruda shared their political beliefs and moved ever closer to communism.

[. . .]

He had returned to Chile in 1943, was elected a senator in 1945, and also joined the Communist Party. He campaigned for the leftist candidate Gabriel González Videla in the elections of 1946, only to see President Videla turn to the right two years later. Feeling betrayed, Neruda published an open letter critical of Videla; as a consequence, he was expelled from the Senate and went into hiding to avoid arrest. In February 1948 he left Chile, crossing the Andes Mountains on horseback by night with the manuscript of Canto general in his saddlebag.

In exile Neruda visited the Soviet Union, Poland, Hungary, and Mexico. In Mexico he again met Matilde Urrutia, a Chilean woman whom he had first encountered in 1946. Their marriage would last until the end of his life, and she would inspire some of the most passionate Spanish love poems of the 20th century. The third volume of Neruda’s Residencia cycle, Tercera residencia, 1935–45 (1947; “Third Residence”), completed his rejection of egocentric angst and his open espousal of left-wing ideological concerns. His communist political beliefs receive their culminating expression in Canto general. This epic poem celebrates Latin America—its flora, its fauna, and its history, particularly the wars of liberation from Spanish rule and the continuing struggle of its peoples to obtain freedom and social justice. It also, however, celebrates Joseph Stalin, the bloody Soviet dictator in power at the time.

I am confident that the love poems are not what makes this Stalin acolyte attractive to Taylor Lifka and other leftists who have subverted our republic through control of K-12 schools. No, it is his communist political beliefs, deceptively dressed as “social justice,” that attracts the foot soldiers of the long march through the institutions. That may be inferred from the totality of the larger picture, the other posters in Lifka’s virtual classroom indoctrination room. None of this larger picture instructs or invites interest in advanced English literature or grammar. It is all about the intersectional brand of leftism, with the communist underpinnings hiding in plain sight.

Parents objected to Lifka’s abuse of her publicly paid office to propagandize, instead of teaching the subject for which she was putatively hired. Yet, the administrators showed no interest in firing her, indeed they almost immediately let her go back to interacting with students, and even surrendered on the propaganda posters. The rot starts at the top and the parents, the voters, must cut it out at the ballot box on the very next local election. It is further the fault of the Texas Republican Party, which has been in power state-wide ever since George W. Bush hoped onto the governor’s chair as a springboard to the Oval Office. Greg Abbott now owns this Roma Independent School District policy:

The Roma Independent School District said in a statement that Lifka had been reinstated on Wednesday and is allowed to keep the material seen in her virtual classroom.

[. . .]

Roma ISD Superintendent Carlos Guzman said in the statement that it’s the district’s responsibility to listen to the concerns of parents while also taking into consideration the rights of teachers and students.

“Roma ISD regrets that this matter has become a point of controversy. It was never the intention of the District to indicate anything less than full support for the concepts of equality and student safety,” said Guzman. “As educators and community members, Roma ISD has an obligation to carefully listen to parent concerns and respond to them, taking into consideration the rights of employees and students.

”As a school district, we must create a safe environment for our teachers and students that fosters and respects everyone’s beliefs in a manner that does not discriminate or disrupt the learning environment,” Guzman continued. “I want to affirm that our District is filled with caring and committed educators that give 100 percent of themselves every day to the education and development of our students.”

Prior to her reinstatement, Lifka said she told the administration this wasn’t the first time parents have been upset, according to NBC.

“I’ve already told the administration that I do not envy their position,” Lifka said, adding that she told them, “Your job sometimes might seem like a job where you need to please, and while this might be challenging, I think that sometimes we need to do the right thing even though it’s going to upset some people.”

Notice that this public official is only upset that he and his cadre were exposed, made “a point of controversy.” He falls all over himself to reaffirm his complete fealty to the intersectional left. He accepts that this is the right side of history and that those upset have no legitimate objection. This aggressive peddling of propaganda, having nothing to do with teaching advanced English, is deeded not “disrupt[tive to] the learning environment.”

That was not enough for our revolutionary change agent posing as an English teacher:

The English teacher said she won’t return until the district commits to tangible change and supporting “anti-racist policies and tolerance in our classrooms.” Lifka specifically asked the district to provide additional training and clarify guidance for staff regarding inclusion.

“If I just reenter the classroom without any further discussion or action of how is this going to change in our community, then what was all this for?” Lifka said.

The correct answer from the state and local level is to clean house, sweeping out the administration that has long been aware of this misuse of public schools and this particular political agent posing as an innocuous English teacher. The voters and officials now are without excuse. They have been forced to see what was long hiding in plain sight. We will affirm or reject the left by our actions from now through November 3, 2020. 

Every. Election. Matters.

Published in Education
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  1. Judge Mental Member
    Judge Mental
    @JudgeMental

    John Belushi?

    • #1
  2. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    John Belushi?

    On a mission from God.

    • #2
  3. Caryn Thatcher
    Caryn
    @Caryn

    Cesar Chavez?  Probably not.  It doesn’t really look like him and he was too straight for today’s “woke-istas.”

    • #3
  4. Caryn Thatcher
    Caryn
    @Caryn

    Did you note the small print: “Put your name and preferred pronouns in the chatbox and choose an emoticon…”  Good grief!

    • #4
  5. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Clifford A. Brown: Who is the fellow in the field of flowers?

    No idea. Who are you thinking? I couldn’t find anyone who came close.

    • #5
  6. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Guess #1: Mao

    Guess #2: Hugo Chavez

    But, I wish it was John Belushi. 

    • #6
  7. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    Guess #1: Mao

    My guess too.  Would explain the flowers.

    • #7
  8. Muleskinner, Weasel Wrangler Member
    Muleskinner, Weasel Wrangler
    @Muleskinner

    Bukharin-Lenin-Mao? Sounds like an old ‘60s song.

    • #8
  9. Tex929rr Coolidge
    Tex929rr
    @Tex929rr

    Low quality Mao or Hugo Chavez.

    Roma is a Rio Grande School district.  If you look at voting records the valley is just like big cities in Texas – the blue stains on an otherwise red map.  

    • #9
  10. DrewInWisconsin, Man of Constant Sorrow Member
    DrewInWisconsin, Man of Constant Sorrow
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Joe Don Baker?

    • #10
  11. DrewInWisconsin, Man of Constant Sorrow Member
    DrewInWisconsin, Man of Constant Sorrow
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Clifford A. Brown: It was not surprising to find a teacher with a radical leftist virtual classroom wall, even in a small Texas town.

    Some of you would be shocked by how deeply radical leftism has infiltrated our school system — at all levels down to Kindergarten. But this isn’t new, it’s been building for years and years. You wonder why this summer’s riots and violence feature so many white suburban twenty-somethings and thirty-somethings? Wonder no more. They were trained in this from the moment they entered school.

    I’m glad that it’s finally right out in the open now.

    • #11
  12. Jon Gabriel, Ed. Admin
    Jon Gabriel, Ed.
    @jon

    Her virtual classroom set-up reminds me of Mr. Van Driessen from Beavis & Butthead.

    • #12
  13. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    I found the answer with a reverse image search. He was not who we thought, but nonetheless a communist. Naturally. The rest of the story now completes the post.

    • #13
  14. DrewInWisconsin, Man of Constant Sorrow Member
    DrewInWisconsin, Man of Constant Sorrow
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Aw, nuts. I was sure it was Joe Don Baker.

    • #14
  15. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    I found the answer with a reverse image search. He was not who we thought, but nonetheless a communist. Naturally. The rest of the story now completes the post.

    Oh, Basoalto!

    • #15
  16. Tex929rr Coolidge
    Tex929rr
    @Tex929rr

    School board elections are non partisan is Texas, but given the location likely all of them are Democrats.  Democratic machine politics are alive and well in the Rio Grande valley, and every couple of years a county judge or sheriff goes to prison.  I don’t see how this tarnishes anyone but the board members and ultimately the voters (and the Democratic Party).

    For contrast, at our last board meeting I brought a face mask for one of the other members (who staffs the local Republican campaign office) like the one below.  (I bought multiples for my friends).

    • #16
  17. Ontheleftcoast Member
    Ontheleftcoast
    @Ontheleftcoast

    Clifford A. Brown: We were treated a week before that to a teacher in another state musing on Twitter about losing the ability to conceal what he was doing in class from parents and saying that he had always had kids agree to keep it from parents.

    Classic grooming technique as used by pedophiles.

    • #17
  18. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    If every class in every public school had a camera accessible through a website so parents could watch their children being indoctrinated instead of educated, the general public would rise up against school boards across the country and demand real reform.  The best start would be to ban anything Howard Zinn wrote from the classroom.

    If there is a statue of Zinn anywhere, conservatives should topple it . . .

    • #18
  19. J. D. Fitzpatrick Inactive
    J. D. Fitzpatrick
    @JDFitzpatrick

    I have to say I’m less concerned about the image of Neruda than is the OP. A poet’s political views, insofar as he is writing poetry and not political screeds in poetic form, are rarely material to the work he produces. (I’ve never really been able to get through The Divine Comedy, probably because politics is so central to it.) 

    Ezra Pound openly supported fascism. But I would be happy to see a picture of Pound in a classroom. His work is solid and interesting, and his commitment to art was sincere. So I judge Neruda by his life’s work in poetry, not his political views. 

    Of course, there is plenty of other stuff in the classroom to object to. 

    • #19
  20. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Parents should refuse to let their children be taught by her. Just forbid them to enter her classroom or have anything to do with her; make her a pariah. 

    • #20
  21. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    J. D. Fitzpatrick (View Comment):

    I have to say I’m less concerned about the image of Neruda than is the OP. A poet’s political views, insofar as he is writing poetry and not political screeds in poetic form, are rarely material to the work he produces. (I’ve never really been able to get through The Divine Comedy, probably because politics is so central to it.)

    Ezra Pound openly supported fascism. But I would be happy to see a picture of Pound in a classroom. His work is solid and interesting, and his commitment to art was sincere. So I judge Neruda by his life’s work in poetry, not his political views.

    Of course, there is plenty of other stuff in the classroom to object to.

    I think context is rather the point. In its totality her virtual classroom tells us she’s disqualified from teaching English to normal American students. Now, if she was working in a socialist reeducation camp, she’d be teacher of the year!

    • #21
  22. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    And, btw, did Neruda write in English? I have my doubts.

    • #22
  23. Headedwest Coolidge
    Headedwest
    @Headedwest

    Tex929rr (View Comment):

    Low quality Mao or Hugo Chavez.

    Roma is a Rio Grande School district. If you look at voting records the valley is just like big cities in Texas – the blue stains on an otherwise red map.

    I am not familiar with Roma, but that part of Texas was La Raza country, when that was a thing.

    • #23
  24. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    And, btw, did Neruda write in English? I have my doubts.

    I do not think so.

    • #24
  25. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    And, btw, did Neruda write in English? I have my doubts.

    I do not think so.

    Right. Which means the only reason the “English” teacher has a poster of him up in her “English” classroom is because he was a commie. She’s teaching communism, not English.

    • #25
  26. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):
    Right. Which means the only reason the “English” teacher has a poster of him up in her “English” classroom is because he was a commie. She’s teaching communism, not English.

    Correct.

    • #26
  27. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    FWIW, one of Neruda’s most famous poems is a love poem.

    To Castro. 

    • #27
  28. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    Headedwest (View Comment):

    Tex929rr (View Comment):

    Low quality Mao or Hugo Chavez.

    Roma is a Rio Grande School district. If you look at voting records the valley is just like big cities in Texas – the blue stains on an otherwise red map.

    I am not familiar with Roma, but that part of Texas was La Raza country, when that was a thing.

    We only get glimpses of this Anglo teacher as identity politics instructor, not any praise from students on English instruction or opening new vistas through English literature. So, it is fair for parents and state authorities to inquire immediately into this teacher’s and this district’s effectiveness in producing literacy. Is an advanced English course producing students who read and write competently at grade level, which means they are equipped to engage written materials at most work and in civic life.

     

    • #28
  29. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Clifford A. Brown: Parents objected to Lifka’s abuse of her publicly paid office to propagandize, instead of teaching the subject for which she was putatively hired. Yet, the administrators showed no interest in firing her, indeed they almost immediately let her go back to interacting with students, and even surrendered on the propaganda posters. The rot starts at the top and the parents, the voters, must cut it out at the ballot box on the very next local election. It is further the fault of the Texas Republican Party, which has been in power state-wide ever since George W. Bush hoped onto the governor’s chair as a springboard to the Oval Office.

    Decades ago I was amazed that Texas allowed textbooks to be centrally mandated, at the state level, instead of at a much more local level.  Not a good environment for education.    Maybe I learned about this when I learned about a book depository in Dallas. Why would a state need such a thing?

    It’s also possible that I’m confused. 

    • #29
  30. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown: Parents objected to Lifka’s abuse of her publicly paid office to propagandize, instead of teaching the subject for which she was putatively hired. Yet, the administrators showed no interest in firing her, indeed they almost immediately let her go back to interacting with students, and even surrendered on the propaganda posters. The rot starts at the top and the parents, the voters, must cut it out at the ballot box on the very next local election. It is further the fault of the Texas Republican Party, which has been in power state-wide ever since George W. Bush hoped onto the governor’s chair as a springboard to the Oval Office.

    Decades ago I was amazed that Texas allowed textbooks to be centrally mandated, at the state level, instead of at a much more local level. Not a good environment for education. Maybe I learned about this when I learned about a book depository in Dallas. Why would a state need such a thing?

    It’s also possible that I’m confused.

    If this is so, and I do not doubt you, then how on earth does a local district have an advanced English teacher apparently so far off what we would assume are state-approved textbooks, unless the dodge is to accept the state textbook and then bury it under “supplemental” materials and lesson plans?  

    • #30