Joe Henderson: Questioning America doesn’t mean you hate America
Marco Rubio.

Marco Rubio's argument about UCF's social justice program makes even less sense than usual.

One of the pillars that made America the greatest nation on Earth is that its citizens can freely point out flaws that keep it from being the greatest nation on Earth.

Oops. Did I just commit treason by suggesting certain parts of America might be less than perfect?

In Marco Rubio’s world, I might be guilty.

Rubio made even less sense than usual Wednesday during an appearance on “Fox & Friends.” Without factually backing up his point (we don’t need no stinking facts), he said a program at the University of Central Florida is “teaching our young students how to hate America.”


He referred to a graduate certificate students can earn for completing a course called Social Justice In Public Service.

Oddly, he doesn’t like a program that prepares students for public service. After all, that’s the activity in which Rubio is involved as a U.S. Senator.

Here how UCF describes that program.

Students will explore factors that contribute to inequity among various groups, with a focus on providing a theoretical background and methods to analyze social justice issues in public service.”

How does that teach anyone to hate America?

Students can take electives covering Women and Public Policy and Social Inequalities in Health. They can choose Peace Studies or Environmental Security. They can even study Leadership in Public Service.

Rubio might want to sign up for that last one. That’s because true leadership doesn’t mean trying to silence anything with which you might disagree.

Instead, he came up with this description of social justice for the Fox audience.

“It’s a theory that says the following,” he said: “The world is divided up between oppressors and the oppressed. And that’s the story of America in their mind — oppressors and the oppressed. OK? The system, our system of economics, our government, our laws, our educational system, everything.”

By oppressors, maybe slave owners? Or modern-day politicians who make it harder for minorities to vote?

Sometimes, oppressors just take a knee — and not as Colin Kaepernick did. The world saw what Derek Chauvin did to George Floyd, while three other officers stood and watched.

People took to the streets in protest all over the country, including in Florida. The state’s response was to pass an anti-riot bill that critics say could have a chilling effect on the First Amendment right of assembly.

According to the Mapping Police Violence database, police killed at least 229 Black people since the day Floyd died. Shouldn’t people demand answers about that?

America gets better when its people question authority.

If college students didn’t take to the streets in the 1960s and into the 1970s, the Vietnam War might never have ended. Protesters heard the same junk back then that Rubio says now.

You were a Commie if you questioned the war. America, love it or leave it.

Meanwhile, our government sent thousands of young Americans to their deaths — not to mention the appalling loss of life by the Vietnamese.

These protesters, by the way, more than likely came through a public school system that stressed red, white, and blue. Mine did. We started each day with the Pledge of Allegiance and learned songs like “America The Beautiful.”

Vietnam is just one example of why citizens must question their government. Hell, Republicans do it to Joe Biden every day, and that’s just fine. After all, a lot of us used our free speech rights to excoriate Donald Trump.

Rubio says, “the faculty in a lot of these universities, frankly, are filled with just nutty, crazy people who, now, you can’t even fire them unless they murder some people.”

Well, Rubio serves close to people like Marjorie Taylor-Greene and her merry band of loonies who spread the lie about a stolen election. I guess that makes him an authority on nutty, crazy people.

So, Senator, I’m glad UCF offers this program.

I don’t believe the vast majority of young people hate America, nor do I believe UCF teaches that.

And just we’re clear, I don’t hate America either.

I’m not a fan of self-righteous, pandering politicians, though.

Joe Henderson

I have a 45-year career in newspapers, including nearly 42 years at The Tampa Tribune. Florida is wacky, wonderful, unpredictable and a national force. It's a treat to have a front-row seat for it all.


  • Charles

    May 26, 2021 at 7:07 pm

    1. Questioning America is good.
    2. Dishonesty in journalism is bad. Being a political hack is bad. Selectively reporting the news is bad. Being a biased journalist is bad. Being a hypocrite is bad
    Unfortunately you fall into category two.

  • Ron Ogden

    May 26, 2021 at 8:06 pm

    “How does that teach anyone to hate America?”
    Well, I’ll tell you Joe. It teaches that people have a right to envy others whom they view as possessing something, whether it is material or philosophical, that they themselves don’t possess. It permits that envy to grow into jealousy–especially material jealousy–and it stands by while that jealousy morphs into hate. It is jealousy and hate that exists in the minds of people who see themselves as victims and everyone who is not a victim as a victimizer. It is hate not for the Rocky Mountains or Mount Rushmore (although that is growing), but for a system that will not guarantee equality of outcome, a system that will not excuse the fault of people who refuse to get along, a system that demands that individuals have the strength of character to submerge their petty particularism beneath the glory of a national purpose and the surge of a national effort. Rubio is right Joe; you really ought to admit it, and you really ought to admit this is AIN’T 1965 anymore and the day of you burnt out hippie intellectuals is past.

  • Tom Palmer

    May 26, 2021 at 8:11 pm

    Rubio is a lightweight political hack and so are the people who get upset if anyone asks questions about how this joint is run.

    • zhombre

      May 27, 2021 at 9:16 am

      You, sir, are a lightweight hack and troll without a coherent thought in your puny brain.

  • Cj messina

    May 26, 2021 at 10:24 pm

    Sir, I respectfully request that you study your US history and the United States Constitution before you make your pro-communist / socialist manifesto apparent. Perhaps you should relocate to Cuba or some other nice communist country where you are viewpoints would be in line with their policies.

  • zhombre

    May 27, 2021 at 9:15 am

    Questioning the coutry’s founding, asserting 1619 and not 1776 is the foundational date, asserting the foundational principles are not based on aspirations to liberty but upon preservation of slavery, racism and neverending oppression, rendering the entire nation rotten at its core and incapable of redemption, yeah, that means you hate America.

  • Joseph Brown

    May 28, 2021 at 11:49 am

    By trying to stop a university from offering a course, no matter how much you might disagree with its aim, is one step away from book burning. Our nation can withstand an honest teaching of its history. We have survived much worse.

    • zhombre

      May 29, 2021 at 3:19 pm

      CRT is not honest teaching. It is propaganda, polemic and indoctrination.

Comments are closed.


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