What is the ability of a people to recognize the times in which they live?
During the fall of Rome the masses were satiated and sedated with bread and circuses as the empire crumbled around them. Post modern, post Christian, and post truth America carries many resemblances to the failed societies of the past; the cultural rot of debauchery and the inversion of long held norms at dizzying speed, the deep and wide political corruption, the censorship of dissent against orthodoxy and soft totalitarian means deployed against citizenry unwilling to comply.
A mid-sized town in northwest Connecticut is a microcosm of our tumultuous societal descent and the courageous fight against it. Enfield, a town with a rich history that originally seceded from the Massachusetts colony to join Connecticut, is a bit of a rebellious outcast in the deep blue counties of the Constitution State and has become ground zero of the divisive battle which tears at our cultural fabric nationwide.
From it’s military heritage represented by Thomas Abbey and Nathaniel Terry during the Revolutionary War, to Enfield’s industrial heritage as a driver in the nation’s gunpowder industry during the gold rush and Civil War (40% of all the gunpowder used by the union was produced by Enfield’s Hazard Powder Company), to its religious heritage as one of the contributors to the First Great Awakening, Enfield has a history somewhat unique to many towns of the Nutmeg state. Its relatively conservative/moderate makeup in relation to the rest of the state may likely be a not-so-accidental reason it has a pension for turning up as a flashpoint.
During the mass psychosis of COVID and the years of draconian mandates and lockdowns, Enfield was a focal point of the state Democrat party. As parents and non parents alike who were publicly rallying to restore parental rights and freedoms, we saw firsthand the tactics employed by those wielding the power of political apparatus in order to quash dissent, and the extent to which they fear those over which they govern. I was one of those parents, able to see for myself how those in power were able to impart trepidation in fellow citizens who wished to speak out, but would not for fear of retaliation or retribution on themselves and their children by not just those in power, but by the community around them. The best prisons are the ones where the inmates are the guards, the gates watched over by those who love their servitude.
Amidst all that turmoil, Enfield experienced the same alarming revelation parents around the nation experienced- the education system was not just rotten around the periphery, but all the way down to the core. In the place of academic success, students at the elementary and even pre school level were being bombarded with social conditioning on political and cultural leanings. Pre schools held “Dive Into Diversity” days in Enfield where gay parents bragged about reading LGBDTQIAP books to preschoolers. While some enraged parents spoke out at BOE meetings against state mandated medical devices for children, there was a simultaneous wave of rebuke by parents in town who came forward with inappropriate assignments, sexual and racial in nature. Parents asked who was approving the assignments and why; they pointed to falling test scores and a school system failing students for years, even before the pandemic.
In light of the scurrilous schoolwork, a mother named Evie asked for a review of curricula, especially in the upcoming middle school sex ed unit, to see what other assignments may slip through the cracks. The school board and superintendent fastidiously and relentlessly ignored the parents with a derision reserved by the inner party for the proles over which they rule, wherein accountability and transparency are the dirtiest of words.
Fast forward a few months and Enfield made international news for all the wrong reasons. As it turned out, Evie was prescient in a way that everyone- everyone but the board and superintendent- could see: a sex ed assignment had been used in class to solicit the sexual proclivities of minors. A piece in the Daily Mail “‘My son didn't even know what oral was!' Parents slam Connecticut school” was one of many that shared the news with the world (news the local media declined to report on until independent national conservative outlets exposed the gaping sore). Undeterred by their naked exposure, the newly elected democrat led board continued its march towards ‘progress’, the law of salutary contradiction in full effect. That thing you said is happening, is not happening and you are a conspiracy theorist; but if it is happening, it is good and moral and you are a bigot for noticing that it happened.
More recently, Enfield became the victim of the local drive by media. The latest election saw residents flip the council and board to Republican in a repudiation of the many transgressions of the previous council and board. Unable to cope with this rejection, the town democrats developed a strategy: double down on their playbook of divide and conquer. A run of the mill reversal of the previous council's unconstitutional policy of flying pride flags while denying other flags, was used to astroturf a protest against the current council. State politicians, residents from other towns, and local media were brought in an attempt to manufacture consent against a policy which justly sought to adhere to the constitution.
Residents in Enfield have started to waken from their slumber though, the game is no longer effective even with all its machinations.
Following flaggate, the most recent attempted subversion emanated from quite an odd place: the main street United Congregational Church. Making its headquarters here lies a particularly odious and cunning, “Pastor” Greg Gray. Mr. Gray found his way to the church several years ago, and in it he has found the perfect front in which to launder his radical activism into the community. From racial justice to gay rights, Mr. Gray has used his pulpit to preach his activism; even going so far as to speak at the local BOE meetings in favor of pornographic material in schools while reasoning the Bible is as explicit, or worse, than such materials.
Upon the decision to implement a constitutional flag policy and seeing the widespread support it enjoyed from the local community, Mr. Gray connived to triple down on the tactics of division; he immediately filed a request for use of the town library to host a drag queen story hour for kids and advertised it under Enfield Pride, an organization he runs. The community was rightfully outraged in response and flooded the library with calls and emails in protest. As an example, an ardent and prominent vocal supporter in the local pride community stated publicly “I think there’s far better choices to educate children on diversity….I feel that it would not be appropriate”. Residents found and exposed the individuals hiding behind Enfield Pride to the public, including current Enfield BOE member Scott Ryder.
Those attuned to the manipulations of our contemporary culture will recognize the familiarity of what occurred next: after accusing your enemy of that which you are guilty, always the perpetrator must vociferously pretend to be the victim….and play victim Mr. Gray did- with the help of a compliant media. Mr. Gray canceled the show in the face of loud backlash and cried to anyone with ears that “insinuations of violence” was the reason. While the media parroted Mr. Gray's nonsense without the slightest evidence or inquisition, the community, by and large, wasn’t buying it.
Outside the United Congregational Church there still stands a statue in memory of Thomas Abbey, a vestige of both Enfield’s proud heritage and Americana that has not yet been torn down. On April 20, 1775, when word arrived by post rider that shots had rang out in Lexington, Enfield had no church bell, so Thomas Abbey gathered his drum and sounded the alarm. A large contingent of the men of Enfield left the next morning, ready to fight.
What is the ability of a people to recognize the times in which they live?
If history is our guide, the odds may not be in our favor. But we are Americans, and there is still revolution in our blood.