They’re at it again! A group of Republican lawmakers here in AZ have proposed a bill to censor the speech of teachers. Evidently some teachers have been using naughty words and corrupting poor innocent high school students–as if!
Seriously though…they are actually proposing to limit the speech of teachers to words approved by the FCC for network broadcast. This law would apply to anyone who works at any public preschool, K-12, community college or university. So that means Charter schools get a pass, right? Boy, charter schools getting to do whatever they want seems to be a developing trend. I have a problem with this (obviously) for several reasons.
First, it’s unnecessary. School prinicipals and district administrators should have all the power that they need to discipline teachers for inappropriate language and conduct. It’s called an Employee’s Manual along with a Policy and Procedure manual that defines expected professional behavior. Second, why is it only applying to public schools but not private schools. They are supposed to serve the same population, our kids, and though charter schools are technically private, almost every private school in this country gets some tax dollars. Many laws (but not all) that apply to charters should apply to public schools and vice versa. This proposed law is the perfect example of the double standards “privatization” champions are constantly pushing on the public sector. Third, don’t our state legislators have anything better to do? It’s not as if the state is facing record budget shortfalls, like a $1.5 billion projected shortfall in 2012. And its not as if our Educational system doesn’t need some major work. Arizona was ranked 45th among the states in 2010. That’s pretty embarrassing. I could go on and on about things that need immediate attention in this state and high school teachers cussing isn’t one of them.
Fourth, why put this limitation on college level teachers. Students in community college and college are legally adults. They can serve in the military and get their heads shot off. I can guarantee the average 17 year old going into the military will hear and learn a lot more swear words at Basic than they will in their entire educational career (including pre-school through graduate school). Saying that a college professor can’t use a curse word in front of adult students is absurd. I’m not advocating that they do that (as cursing rarely has a place in the classroom) but to make a law to prohibit it is just offensive.
The fifth and final reason relates to a principle. Conservatives claim to hold dear the idea that the government should intrude into our lives as little as possible. However, there are some topics on which they simply cannot restrain themselves from intruding in our personal lives. Basically, how can conservatives say they want LESS government but constantly be proposing and passing bills that actually puts MORE government into our lives? Here is a list of the things that the GOP in AZ and nationally want to do to increase the size and reach of government.
1. New “volunteer” state militia to secure border costing taxpayers $1.9 million to start and answerable to the Governor’s office only since she can put anyone in charge of her little army she wants…no qualifications specified in the law*. Must be nice to have one’s own private army. Who does Gov. Brewer think she is, some kind of Somalian Warlord?! Furthermore, there is no idea on what it is projected to cost in future years to maintain. It takes a hell of a lot of money to train that many men, administrate that kind of organization and pay out in law suits when they screw up….and they will, eventually. Give any human being a gun and some authority, mix that with jingoistic pride and a lack of ongoing training and multiple balancing agencies watching over them and you have a disaster in the making. If you want to see what happens with groups like this, look no further than the Brisenia Flores murder. Oh, and never mind the redundancy–we already have the National Guard with troops on the border, not to mention tens of thousands of Border Patrol agents and active duty military personnel on the border. Oh, and never mind Gov. Brewer’s complete lack of constitutional authority over border security.
2. The initial refusal and then slowness in implementing new Medical Marijuana law. The Federal courts threw out Gov. Brewer’s case to delay the implementation. Then she said she will have the Dept. of Health issue licenses for dispensaries just as soon as a State court judges whether the rules created for the dispensaries are legal or not. This excuse was just more delay tactics by her office. Finally the State Judge said, “implement the darn law” (paraphrasing of course). If the GOP is so “less” government interfering in our lives, why on earth are they coming between sick people and their doctors who believe nothing else will relieve their suffering?
3. And speaking of getting between patients and their doctors, the state of Arizona requires women to appear in person to sign an “informed consent” form the day before the procedure. There is no logical reason for this to occur since it is standard practice for the Doctor and the patient to have consulted face-to-face previously to even schedule the procedure. Ultimately the state government is trying to make it more onerous on women to have the procedure done, to stretch out the time between a woman’s decision and the actual procedure, and to give time to anti-choice protesters the time to rally forces and be present when the poor woman does go into the procedure. BTW, these protestors will sometimes follow women who sign a consent form one day by tracking their car, going to their house, place of work, etc. If that’s not “harassment by proxy”, I don’t know what is. Now here’s the insult to the injury….Arizona only allows abortions to save the life of the mother….but the state also says that health care providers now have the right to NOT discuss the option of abortion, emergency contraception, or birth control. That’s right…the state has authorized doctors, nurses, pharmacists the right to simply not mention what could be a life-saving procedure to a woman, which violates thousands of years of tradition in the medical community to give a patient all of the available LEGAL options, the risks, and let the patient make the choice. Now they can simply avoid discussing it entirely and if the patient is not educated enough to ask about those things, then oh well, they’re just SOL. That sounds like BIG, BIG government to me.
4. SB1070 the strict immigration law making it a misdemeanor to be in AZ as an illegal immigrant. Specifically the law says that officers when making a “lawful stop, detention or arrest” can also detain a person on the charge of being here illegaly “when there is reasonable suspicion that the individual is an illegal immigrant”. The “lawful stop” part is fine. Reasonable suspicion is fine….it’s the part about “reasonable suspicion of illegal status” that is the problem. So the minute an officer asks you for papers, they have to already have a “suspicion” and it has to be “reasonable”….but how can you tell illegal status? By their race? By the way they drive? By their clothes? By their speech? By their lack of documents? Guess what…within hours I can find dozens of very brown people who only speak Spanish, don’t have documentation on them but are indeed U.S. citizens. Hell, I don’t carry my Social Security Card around with me, because it’s just asking to have someone steal it and then my identity. I have on occasion been pulled over for speeding and have been unable to find proof of insurance and struggled to find my registration (once I had forgotten to renew it). Under this new law, I could have been deported for crying out loud! I can also find people who are blond or red-head who speak English fluently and are actually Hispanic or of some other origin who are not citizens. What about someone in U.S. military uniform…I bet the police wouldn’t suspect them of not being citizens, right? Guess what….There are soldiers in Afghanistan (and were in Iraq) that are fighting for the U.S. but are not citizens. So how can an officer form a reasonable suspicion EXCEPT by using racial profiling, which has been illegal for quite some time? A recent study has found that since the increase in deportations under Pres. Obama and the shortening of the time it takes to deport someone, thousands of U.S. citizens have been illegally detained and deported. The ability to take away someone’s freedom is the most dangerous power we give to the government and it should be the power that we restrict the use of the most. Yet the GOP in AZ (and any Democrats acquiescing to such nonsense) are allowing the systematic violation of this most important right every day.
5. Arizona Republicans love them some “eminent domain”–when the state/city forces someone to sell their property so the government can build something else on that spot. Eminent domain was used in the Light Rail project in central and downtown Phoenix, to put up a police substation in Mesa (note that author of that was one of the biggest supporters of SB1070), and to take land away from the Federal Government (yes, you read that right).
This post would be pages and pages long, if I were to list the stuff that has happened in other states and what is being proposed by many of the Republican nominees such as a ban on all contraception. So next time a conservative starts spouting off about liberty, ask them why they’re okay with taking people’s homes and businesses or controlling what happens in a woman’s uterus. Odds are they will change the subject.
*Anyone want to lay bets that Sheriff Joe, if he is forced to resign from MCSO or if he decides to retire (with full pension), will be appointed by Brewer to head up the new “militia”?