The struggle against ideologies that seek to divide America advances in fits and starts.

This month, we saw great progress in the introduction of a bill in Congress to ban diversity, equity, and inclusion mandates throughout the federal government. But it was a different story a week later, when lawmakers were lobbing rhetorical softballs at Lonnie Bunch, the DEI-loving head of the Smithsonian Institution.

The comprehensive Dismantle DEI Act, if passed and enacted, would systematically eliminate diversity, equity, and inclusion programs throughout the federal bureaucracy and among federal contractors. The bill was introduced in the Senate by Sen. JD Vance, R-Ohio, and in the House by Rep. Michael Cloud, R-Texas, co-sponsored by 20 other House Republicans.

That is not a small part of the economy. According to the U.S. Treasury Department, “federal spending was equal to 23% of the total gross domestic product (GDP), or economic activity, of the United States” in fiscal year 2022.

The Vance-Cloud bill takes a blowtorch to DEI. It would dismantle DEI programs (such as the “anti-racist” trainings that have cropped up at offices and schools and all other areas of American life), rescind President Joe Biden’s many DEI executive orders, outlaw DEI loyalty pledges, etc.

The bill has no chance of passing and being signed into law while the Democrats have the Senate and Biden is president. But it becomes an important stick in the ground.

If former President Donald Trump is elected president in November, this bill should be his blueprint, something he already championed as president.

So far, so good. But DEI is just one front in the fight against ideologies that divide us mostly along racial and sexual lines, based on race and gender theories that are Marxist in their origin.

Another important front in the culture wars is that ultimate cultural institution: museums.

Museums have become the battle theater of those who want to “decolonize” the culture—that is, strip it of any reverence for America. The decolonizers want to turn the museums into institutions propagating a cultural counternarrative.

The Smithsonian is America’s museum, for better or for worse (it used to be for better, now it’s for worse). And while Republicans are giving signs that they finally get the DEI part, they are missing in action on the museum part.

When Bunch, secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, appeared at a June 18 hearing before the Senate Rules and Administration Committee, it was really a replay of the mutual admiration society.

Only one Republican showed up, Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., the ranking member, and her most probing question of Bunch was about the schedule for repatriating Native American art to tribes.

Bunch assured her that the Smithsonian Institution’s repatriation schedule is “very robust. … We want to be able to return what the communities really want.”

For those wondering what this is about, a Biden administration rule has given the nation’s 574 federally recognized Indian tribes effective veto power over what museums can exhibit. If they demand that a museum send back a cultural item, the museum will have to comply. New York’s American Museum of Natural History will close two halls with Indian exhibitions.

This is not something conservatives should want to expedite. They should, in fact, fight this nonsense.

There were no Republicans at the hearing asking about two new museums based on identity politics: the Latino and women’s museums. The first has been criticized by myself and others as a “woke indoctrination factory” that aims to fill Hispanic Americans with grievances, and the second will be no better.

But there were Democrats heaping praise on the effort, and asking for more of the same. Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., asked Bunch what the Smithsonian planned to do about the “African diaspora,” that is, Americans born in Africa, or who are the children of such immigrants. They encounter great success in America, but apparently the Smithsonian also will have to instill victimhood in them.

The African diaspora “is really important” to the Smithsonian, Bunch assured Warner. To which Warner, not missing a multicultural beat, replied: “What are you doing on the South Asian diaspora?”

Bunch is a soft-spoken, likable individual, but he’s embraced all these ideologies. DEI, he has written, is “integral to excellence in museum practice. FULL STOP.” DEI, in fact, should “shape museums,” he added.

Bunch was also an early and enthusiastic supporter of the Black Lives Matter organizations, which were set up by Marxists to transform society.

In 2014, at the height of the BLM riots in Ferguson, Missouri, when Bunch was director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, he assembled his curators and ordered them to collect BLM artifacts and create exhibits.

Black Lives Matter, he said, needed to organize for the long term and come up with a legislative strategy.

In 2020, during the costliest riots in American history, Bunch said that “protest is the highest form of patriotism.”

The fight to take back the considerable cultural ground that has been lost to the Left is too often derided as the “culture wars” by those who want to meet no resistance in their scorched-earth advance.

And it is obviously not for the weak-hearted. Stripping out DEI is a great, brave step. But watch what happens with the museums if you want to know who’s winning.

Originally published by the Washington Examiner