You know how they say a little learning is a dangerous thing? I have never seen this adage more proven out than this week when the Tea Party circus came to town in Golden Valley and I went on down to get my fair share of abuse at the Golden Valley “town-hall” meeting, 6/17/13.
Golden Valley, Arizona is the bowl-shaped unincorporated community I live above, up in the hillside neighborhood of So-Hi, at the foot of the Cerbat Mountains. Every time I look out my front door, I literally see below me the Golden Valley, just like Woody Guthrie once sang. Though “unincorporated,” there are as many as eight thousand of us nestled between the Cerbats & the Blacks, most of us hunkered down on 1-10 acre plots, our own oasis of independence in the middle of the desert. We do have a governing body, the local fire board, which is led by some of Mohave County’s most rabid Republicans and this week, when the state legislative session ended w the passage of Medicaid Expansion for AZ (in essence an acceptance or approval of Obamacare and guaranteeing about 300,000 of the poorest of Arizonans access to health care), the local Tea Party leaders were up in arms, literally.
The ACA by itself is such an affront to the “let my fellow citizen suffer as long as I’ve got mine” mentality of Mohave County’s Tea Party, that they have called for everything from lawsuits, to presidential impeachment, to armed rebellion itself to try & stop the ACA from being implemented here in AZ. When the woman formerly known as the “Wicked Witch of the West,” AKA Jan Brewer, also took to supporting it, locally her own party took to insulting and harassing her far worse than we Dems had ever thought of.
THEN, when our own three-times elected GOP LD5 State Representative Doris Goodale also voiced her support and began working to promote its passage, the local Tea Party launched a hateful a withering tirade of abuse against their own very popular leader, calling for her immediate recall and labeling her a traitor while foaming at their collective mouths. The calls of condemnation were so hate-filled & disrespectful, Rep. Goodale decided to forego even attending the meeting. Rather than support their colleague, Goodale’s fellow legislators Kelli Ward & Sonny Borelli cleverly, carefully stoked the flames of intolerance against her, all the while appearing to maintain a semblance of decorum, yet mining all the standard GOP tropes.
For me, the most interesting moment came when Rep. Borelli attempted to fan the flames further by segueing from the ACA to the other currently hot Tea Party topic, the upcoming implementation of the national educational program called Common Core. Bug-eyed w paranoia, Borelli warned of some unseen force out to brainwash our children by rewriting history and he even had proof. Unlike the Texas School Book revisionists who had labored to insert creationism and remove Jefferson from Texas textbooks (SEE http://www.therevisionariesmovie.com/ ), Borelli had different “conspiracy” in mind. He brought in a Lake Havasu high school history book to demonstrate the textbook’s evil intentions and devious tricks, such as using the phrase “Radical Republicans” to describe the dominant political group following the Civil War. Borelli repeatedly insinuated that this phrasing is the result of the evils of the impending Common Core curriculum, poisoning the minds of young people and imploring us to protect students from the wickedly subversive New World Order propagandists disguising themselves as high school teachers, when they’re actually secret socialists out to indoctrinate young minds.
Borelli himself had apparently been successful in protecting his own mind from learning much history while he was in school, or he would have known that the term “Radical Republican” is the original term from the 1850s and has been in continuous use as the preferred term to identify the group of politicians who controlled Congress during and immediately following the Civil War. A recently retired history teacher, I attempted to explain to Borelli that he had nothing to fear and that the term had enjoyed common usage long before the advent of Common Core (which btw, is the current version of a national standardization push that was started in the late 80s by those two notorious pinkos Lynne & Richard Cheney) But before I’d even gotten to the dependent clause of my introductory sentence, Ward cut me off and explained that the Common Core’s influence was so insidious and pervasive that not even supposedly experienced teachers, such as myself, were trained enough to recognize that the use of the textbook’s use of the term “Radical Republican” wasn’t accurate reporting or history, but actually part of Common Core’s secret “Agenda 21”-type code. Borelli was then quick to clarify that that’s what he meant all along. And all our local Tea Partiers nods amen in agreement.
Now I would never suggest that not knowing about the “Radical Republicans” is (in & of itself) sufficient grounds to distrust an elected representative, but attempting to lie one’s way out of getting caught not knowing is. So is working that hard to deny hundreds of thousands of poor Arizonans healthcare. And attempting to destroy the careers of concerned legislators who happen to be in your same party, but won’t go along with your self-serving plans? Well, that’s just pathetic.
Whereas the Radical Republicans of the 1800s worked hard to improve the lives of the poor and marginalized of their era, the Rabid Repugs of our era merely want to make matters worse. A little learning in some cases is a very dangerous thing, but it only takes a little story like this to learn all we need to know to know the AZ GOP must be challenged. They aren’t merely “radical,” more importantly, they’re wrong.
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