In a stunning reminder that too many of our politicians have very little understanding of our nation’s (and humanity’s) history — and aren’t embarrassed to display it, Tipp City (Ohio) Board of Education member Anne Zakkour gave a Nazi salute and proclaimed “Sieg Heil” during a school board meeting earlier this month.
To be clear, she said the hand/arm gesture and repetition of the Nazi victory salute was meant to be “a sarcastic” gesture because she did not like the way then-board president Simon Patry ran meetings, according to media reports.
Perhaps part of what bothered Zakkour was that in 2021, when a group called Tipp Concerned Citizens filed a legal complaint to remove Zakkour and another board member because of what Miami Valley Today called “concerns about micromanagement of school administrators, mismanagement of district funds, abuse of power and violations of Ohio’s Sunshine Laws,” and the Tipp City Education Association issued a vote of no confidence in Zakkour because of her public comments, Patry also issued “resolutions of censure” to the entire board, alleging misconduct.
Though it is unclear whether Zakkour’s brazen salute and proclamation were the last straw, Patry resigned at the end of the meeting. The Dayton Daily News reported he, Dunaway and Zakkour did not file for re-election this fall.
There’s that, at least. But even if she is gone, the image of a person who was elected to help guide an entire school district with her arm out in front of her proclaiming like a 1930s Brown Shirt will stick in the minds of parents for years. It should.
Anyone who has such a poor grasp of the horrors and atrocities of Nazi Germany that she would believe a salute that symbolized the evil madness that gripped a nation responsible for the deaths of millions upon millions of our fellow human beings is appropriate to be publicly directed toward a school board president with whom she disagrees is unfit for the office she held.
This is who we’re electing. This is the consequence of electing those who have figured out how to score political points by appealing to the worst of us, and of seeking to teach our children less and hide the darkest parts of our history. Zakkour’s act must serve as a reminder and warning to us all.