It’s been really tough to understand Arizona lately. Governor Jan Brewer is more frozen in the pendulum swing of the Tea Party than is any other politician on the national stage. She snubs the President face-to-face; they snub her for not arresting him; she hunts down illegal immigrants; they want Obama’s birth certificate; she offers to read them Hop on Pop before they go to bed, and they demand Goodnight Moon.
It is the price one pays when dealing with an fringe group: the term “fringe” means a desire for everything with willingness to compromise nothing. Just ask a Marxist if they’d be cool with meeting you halfway.
This week in the Southwest, that was the case yet again.
Two days ago, Brewer vetoed a bill that would have allowed packed guns in state buildings. Mind you, it would have been in places without guards or metal detectors – like libraries, senior citizen centers or city halls – and, mind you, Tucson, the town where Jared Lee Loughner hails from, is just 100 miles away from Phoenix. The Tea Party was furious, but Brewer had a bigger gift for her little kiddies (besides the post-20-weeks abortion ban passed last week). This one is a bit more Biblical.
In an effort to rewrite the Arizona education agenda, Brewer is clearing the way for legislation that will bring the Old and New Testaments to public school. As of now, the education law runs strangely parallel to the First Amendment – “all books, publications, papers and audiovisual materials of a sectarian, partisan or denominational character” are prohibited. But the new law will allow the Holy Scriptures to be placed under the category of “Doesn’t Apply” and create a class that teaches young Arizonans how the Bible has influenced Western civilization.
Here’s a snippet of the possible curriculum, taken from the Arizona bill itself:
“The contents, characters, poetry and narratives that are prerequisites to understanding society and culture, including literature, art, music, mores, oratory and public policy.”
“The influence of the Old and New Testament on laws, history, government, literature, art, music, customs, morals, values and culture.”
Yes, the kids will be all right. How could they not be, while learning that the story of Jonah in the whale completely revolutionized the maritime industry? Or that the Egyptians enslaving the Jews was the first ancient example of distinguishing ‘illegals’ from ‘natives’? And who could forget the family values of Sodom and Gomorrah? It has “poetry and narrative” taken from all over the known world pre-1492 – that’s the kind of education we need to be teaching in order to prepare our children for the globalized market. What do you think the Chinese kids are learning?
Regardless of the ridicule this bill will receive (and dutifully deserves), it is another example of how desensitized our political culture has become to a temper-tantruming nitwit like the Tea Party. Jan Brewer is like the obedient mother who will do anything to please her child out of fear of blowback – think Aunt Petunia and Dudley Wuddly from Harry Potter, or Veruca Salt and her cash-blowing father in Willy Wonka.
We’ve all seen this mother-child relationship in public: the kid wants a red balloon (WED BAWOON) and demands that his mommy gets it for him, even though it’s always in a place where balloons are scarce and hard to find. And, once the kid does get his prized balloon, he’ll crush any other child’s balloon that represents competition: in this case, the House struck down an amendment that would have given the Book of Mormons a seat in the classroom, too. Only one special balloon for a special child allowed here, Joseph Smith.
After the balloon pops, the kid will scream at the top of his lungs, asking now for a lollipop (in the middle of Guam). And the political drama of the Tea Party and Jan Brewer continues. God, someone get this kid a Bible just to shut him up.