A part of me is ashamed for even sparing an eyeroll for this. After all, Texas lawmakers have repeatedly proven themselves to be some of the most idiotic, craven, low effort thinkers on the political landscape.
From rewriting history textbooks so as to better reflect THEIR version of this nation's founding and its leaders - "Eff reality, we don't need no stinkin' reality" - to being a state that actually had a law on the books making it illegal to purchase a dildo (I'm not kidding) - Texas is not exactly the land of the free thinker or the home of the brave forward thinkers.
Now, if given their way, the Texas GOP will make sure we are not the land of critical thinkers either.
When the Republican delegates met earlier this month to approve their agenda, many sections stood out as eyeroll worthy.
Take the "Educating Our Children" portion. Ahh yes, let's bring back corporal punishment because I personally want someone else making the call as to when to hit my child. Sorry, asshats, NOT. I don't hit my children, and I'll be goddamned if YOU are going to appoint yourselves judge, jury, and executioner.
If YOU spank, hit, belt your child - that's YOUR business. And we have had that debate here before. I believe it is not necessary, and have proof of that in three high achieving, respectful young ladies. It takes creativity, patience, and most of all, consistency and follow through. Three things sadly lacking when a parent makes the kneejerk reach for the belt around their waist.
(Sorry, but if you make a threat and then don't follow through? You deserve what's coming your way in the form of a child who doesn't take you seriously, doesn't fear a single consequence because none ever truly come to pass, and who WILL up the ante in the egregious behavior stakes.)
As for hitting kids in school? I don't need some overworked, overtired, at-the-end-of-their-rope, had-a-bad-week educator taking their frustrations out on any child. Frankly, if parents were doing a better job of parenting, schools would not be the Lord of the Flies arenas they are. Teach it at home, reinforce it at home, and they take it with them when they are not at home.
But back to the document...
In true head-in-the-sand GOP style, their agenda also pushes for Abstinence Only teaching in schools. Because we all know how effective "Just Say No" is when it comes to teens and sex. Let's not arm them with FACTS, information, education. *GASP!* If you explain to them how they get pregnant, then they will get pregnant, right? Idiots. Let's just give 'em a Bible, preach hellfire and damnation at them, let them educate each other with crap they make up or read on Facebook, and then act shocked, SHOCKED I tell you, when they end up pregnant.
(Or, if you are Sarah Palin, parade them as some badge of courage at every election stop.)
Look, I HAVE 3 daughters. I have also had an open dialogue with them from a very early age. About everything. Information is power. Information makes for better decision making. Especially when it comes to their bodies. And that is exactly what I have stressed - these are THEIR bodies. Not mine. It is not up to me what they do with them. They have been taught everything about them, about boys' bodies, about sex, about the recreational appeal of it, about the biological parts of it, and about the allure of it in the romantic realm.
They have also been taught the consequences. Now, it is up to them to each make their own decisions about when, how, with whom.
The Texas GOP also comes down against mandatory preschool and kindergarten. OK, I will give them the nod on the mandatory PreK issue. Some children are simply not ready to enter a structured environment at 3 or 4 years of age. Mine were, they embraced their preschool, but not every child is like that, and not every parent can afford a private preschool.
As for Kindergarten? It is GOOD for children. It begins a crucial socializing process, is for many the first brush up against sharing, taking turns, learning compromise. Not to mention ABCs, 123s, and the intricacies of macaroni art.
Texas Republicans are not the only ones taking on Kindergarten. In a truly I-shit-you-not moment if ever there was one to tell here at DGMS, New Hampshire Republican Representative Bob Kingsbury told a GOP convention Monday night that kindergarten leads to higher crime rates.
Yeah, chew on that nugget a moment.
Now, here - have a breath mint - as that nugget was pure GOP bullshit.
This braintrust also concludes that a lack of high school boxing classes also contributes to higher crime rates.
You know, Bob, I could argue that kindergarten and a lack of boxing classes also contributes to two A students in college (one with a perfect 4.0), and a soon-to-be high school junior on track for both academic and athletic scholarships to her choice of colleges.
But then, there I go using critical thinking skills...
Which brings me to that portion.
A section which truly stands out and exemplifies exactly what the GOP stands for is this:
Knowledge-Based Education – We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.
Let's examine that, shall we?
Critical thinking - the ability to analyze, QUESTION assumptions, decide if something is true, partly true, or total bullshit, and then take steps to form one's own opinion, view, stance.
That surely must be scary to a party whose lifeblood is to feed a steady diet of lies, rhetoric, and fear to its constituents. Heaven forbid voters actually being cognitively able of questioning the BS of those running for office, or worse, in office.
Now let's look at their justification - critical thinking is bad because it challenges "fixed beliefs" and "parental authority."
Fixed beliefs - ie: racism, bigotry, homophobia, religion, or any other area TAUGHT to a child. Sorry, but religion IS taught to you, (just as hating a black person or a gay person). It was taught to you as a child by someone who had it taught to them as a child and so on. Call it faith, belief, spirituality, whatever - you did not spring from the womb quoting scripture or facing Mecca. YOU WERE TAUGHT.
(As for homosexuality? They don't leave that stone unturned, no ma'am. From the document:
Homosexuality ― We affirm that the practice of homosexuality tears at the fabric of society and contributes to the breakdown of the family unit. Homosexual behavior is contrary to the fundamental, unchanging truths that have been ordained by God, recognized by our country’s founders, and shared by the majority of Texans. Homosexuality must not be presented as an acceptable “alternative” lifestyle, in public policy, nor should “family” be redefined to include homosexual “couples.” We believe there should be no granting of special legal entitlements or creation of special status for homosexual behavior, regardless of state of origin. Additionally, we oppose any criminal or c entitlements or creation of special status for homosexual behavior, regardless of state of origin. Additionally, we oppose any criminal or civil penalties against those who oppose homosexuality out of faith, conviction or belief in traditional values.
Such a load of horse shit. Save your religious justification for your CHURCHES. I don't care if you believe the garbage drafted into this document and practice it wholeheartedly in your churches, as long as it stays IN YOUR CHURCHES.
Here's their fear - young people are more and more comfortable with coming out into the light of day and being who they were born to be - READ: SOME ARE HOMOSEXUAL - and more and more of their peers are realizing that there is nothing wrong with their friends. Homosexuality doesn't tear at the fabric of society or threaten families any more than GOP lawmakers cheating on their spouses, divorcing them on their hospital beds, or playing fast and loose with young pages in the House.
And the danger to these stodgy, God fearing, Christian Taliban members is that the up and coming generations will use critical thinking to realize they are ALL full of shit, that their ideas are hateful, bigoted, and ignorant, and that they will turn away.)
Critical thinking may lead a young adult to question what they have been taught, and that is a good thing. It doesn't automatically mean they will leave their church, abandon their faith system, or start drawing pentagrams on the side of the house. But it does mean they may start to see people in a different light. Not as THE OTHER, but as just another human being. Worthy of equal rights, considerations, and liberties.
As for parental authority? Sorry, parents, but you don't know everything. And if your own mind is shut down to critical thinking, questioning, learning, then there WILL come a day when your child is smarter than you, has a wider scope on the world than you.
Thomas Jefferson got it. He wrote, "I think by far the most important bill in our whole code is that for the diffusion of knowledge among the people. No other sure foundation can be devised, for the preservation of freedom and happiness...Preach, my dear Sir, a crusade against ignorance; establish & improve the law for educating the common people. Let our countrymen know that the people alone can protect us against these evils [tyranny, oppression, etc.] and that the tax which will be paid for this purpose is not more than the thousandth part of what will be paid to kings, priests and nobles who will rise up among us if we leave the people in ignorance."
Yet somehow, in the year 2012, we have a political party fully, openly embracing the dumbing down of the electorate.
And sadly, they are banking on that electorate already being too stupid, too lacking in critical thinking skills to question WHY.
To hell with it, I'm going to go buy a dildo. If I'm going to get screwed, I may as well enjoy the process.