I asked my parents about what they would think, theoretically, if I joined the military. As proud Americans with the utmost respect for our armed forces, I figured surely they would not have a problem with this idea.

Much to my surprise, the first words out of my mother’s mouth were, “With the way this country is headed, what will there be left to defend?”

These words struck a chord with me. I knew she was not doubting America’s values or the worthwhileness of military service. Rather, she was coming from a place of concern for America’s future, foreseeing a world where its greatness would be attacked from within.

The more I reflect on her comment, the more I worry alongside her, specifically, when viewing the rising popularity of critical race theory. This hateful ideology preaches against American principles and may undermine the future of America’s military.

Critical race theory asserts that the United States is systemically racist. It follows Marxist ideology by breaking people into groups of oppressors and oppressed based on their race. Making race the focus of all things, the adoption and teaching of critical race theory leads to institutionalized, state-sponsored racism.

This is contrary to the principles that have shaped the U.S. Since the country’s inception, the goal was to create a land of opportunity. As put forth in the Declaration of Independence, all men are created equal, with the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

While our country has not always embodied these principles throughout its history, the relentless pursuit of these truths has saved the nation from the depths of slavery and racism. America has passed constitutional amendments to guarantee equality and has also outlawed racial discrimination with support from both political parties. 

However, critical race theory would reverse the country’s progress. Critical race theory teaches that certain people deserve preferential treatment based on their skin color, while other races should be punished. This is ironically similar to the racism it claims to extinguish.

These teachings have become a controversial problem within America’s military.

The Navy’s professional reading list includes books on critical race theory and identity politics. What’s even more worrisome is that the military has not been receptive to anti-critical race theory arguments. In May, Lt. Col. Matthew Lohmeier was fired as commander of a U.S. Space Force unit for offering a different opinion about the military’s critical race theory teachings.

Many Americans see the dangers of this ideology. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., and Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, launched a tip line in May for active military members to report critical race theory in their “diversity training” programs. They have received hundreds of tips.

As The Heritage Foundation’s Dakota Wood explains, “Success in combat depends on the cohesion and competence of the forces involved. … Critical race theory and other such divisive concepts would destroy all this.” (The Daily Signal is the news outlet of The Heritage Foundation.)

Critical race theory is also invading our school systems. It teaches America’s future leaders—and potential warfighters—certain classmates are evil because of their skin color.

Our service members take an oath to defend the Constitution and the U.S., to the point of putting their lives on the line. Why would America’s youth step up to do the same when they are taught that this country is inherently evil?

As military recruitment continues to dwindle, this is all the more concerning. Less people are pursuing a career of military service. The ones who are are being indoctrinated with this racist ideology.

The U.S. must return to its founding principles in American culture, our military, and the classroom.

We need to restore an understanding of America’s founding values. ­­This will determine the future of our national security.

We need to teach America’s youth that America is worth fighting for. If we don’t, there’s no telling where our country is headed.

Consider my mother’s warning. Make sure that there will be something left for your children to defend. Critical race theory threatens the integrity of our republic. Let’s stop this from getting further out of control.

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