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."
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.
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