Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Cultural Walls

On April 17th, The Arizona Republic published an article featuring Rep Russell Pearce's (R-Mesa) brain child, Senate Bill 1108. I didn't see the article until the 22nd, but it had a profound impact on me. In an effort to avoid partisan pollution, I disclose that I am a democrat; however, I believe Pearce's bill goes beyond simple party lines, contradiction the core values of American politics.

The amendment to the bill aims to stop state schools from teaching "anti-western" ideas, saying they "use taxpayer dollars to indoctrinate students in what he characterized as anti-American or seditious thinking."

The bill already passed in the House Appropriations Committee ona 9-3 vote. Fountain Hills Republican Rep. John Kavanagh, a member of the Appropriations Committee, said "If you want a different culture, then fine, go back to that culture."

Ok, what?

Now, this isn't the first time Russell Pearce has acted on extremely conservative legislation. He has a history of zealously campaigning against illegal immigration, supporting pro-life measures, and fighting excess spending of any kind. Those, however, are all viable concerns. I don't agree with any of them, but I believe he has the right to fight for his beliefs.

However, Pearce also has a history of going too far. The Mesa representative always pushes an extreme version of the conservative agenda. Many publications have attacked him (see the New Times).

Here's what I have a problem with: people elected this man! This man, who has the gal to talk about the founding fathers and Constitution on his website, wants to restrict the education of culture--a blatant contradiction of intent. How can you possibly think that will help anything in the world today? American needs more understanding of foreign culture. Too many times in history America has suffered blowback from cultural misunderstandings and oversights. Too many times in history legislation resembling Senate Bill 1108 has passed--in North Korea, China, Germany, Britain, etc.--with disastrous results.

I simply can not believe people still think this way in 2008. Our country can not afford to support leaders such as Pearce and Kavanagh. They stand in the way of freedom at its most basic levels. Their supporters may disagree with me; however, this particular piece of legislation ironically contradicts our broad America ideals.

If ever there was an answer to our problems, this is not it.

1 comment:

MAD said...

What nonsense. I think it's key that it's characterized as both Anti-Western and non-American information in other sources as well.

The bill has the wiggle room to be interpreted to include communism, anarchism, and various other subcultures of the nondemocratic political system. Public schools do that kind of crap with alarming regularity -- just look at the way most teachers react to the name "Che Guavera."

But to talk about non-Western culture as illegal? I think our involvement in the Iraq war has pretty definitively proven that our ignorance about other cultures (ESPECIALLY in light of their political systems) is extremely detrimental.

When globalization is such an inescapable issue, I don't see how isolation is going to help. America used to be pretty isolated, and look how well that worked out for us (cough-WWII-cough).

Great point. So many people probably don't even know about this issue.