It seems like a good time to catch up on some needed cleanup work. The opinion page and some guest columns have included several notions that need clarification and fact checking.
First: Critical race theory is not part of any elementary or high school curriculum in Arizona. It is not being proposed as such by any school board or district. CRT is a topic of postgraduate specific studies — there is no attempt by anyone to change that. Teaching of American history must include the ugly story of slavery and non-inclusion. “We the people” of the Constitution didn’t include nearly all the people at its inception. It took a Civil War and many civil protests before African Americans and even women could vote in this country.
Second: If we waited years before using any new vaccine to stop deadly diseases, we’d all be dead before any benefits could be rendered. COVID-19 is killing people at, once again, alarming rates — vaccines have been proven to be effective in preventing spread, serious illness and death. It’s time to stop the anti-vaxing/anti-masking movement in its dangerous tracks. Get vaccinated and save lives now!
Third: President Biden, as each of his predecessors since George W Bush, inherited an unwinnable and unending war in Afghanistan. The previous administration entered into an agreement with the Taliban that is now seeing completion. Getting out of Afghanistan was never going to be easy or without serious costs — yet President Biden made the difficult choice — he put country over political gain. As of today, there have been over 125,000 evacuated under the most dangerous of conditions. In contrast, Trump didn’t lift a finger to aid our Kurdish allies in Syria from impending slaughter from Turkey.
As the inane actions of Arizona’s Republican Legislature continue to cluster up, one wonders how any rational person could continue to support their wild policies. Two recent examples show just how wild. Let’s begin with the needless Maricopa recount being run by a company that embraces the Stop the Steal conspiracy theory and QAnon. They’ve only counted 10% of the ballots and won’t come close to finishing before their Coliseum lease is up. Observers are told to sign non-disclosure statements. What’s the point of observers that can’t speak to what they observe? They are actually searching ballots for bamboo fibers in the paper, as there’s “suspicion” that ballots were sent from China or “some other SE Asian” country with votes for Biden. They had to be told they couldn’t use blue or black in their endeavors. Real credibility!
Then there’s the recent proposal to punish teachers who “don’t teach” both sides of a “controversial” issue.
Arizona can’t attract teachers as it is, let alone under the threat of legal and financial penalties. This is ridiculous. Teaching about Biden’s election would have to be followed by a study of the Stop the Steal lie. The moon landing followed by "it was filmed in a studio". A biography of Hillary Clinton followed by Pizzagate. And most timely, a lesson on vaccines followed by an examination of Soros and Gates microchipping anyone who takes the vaccine. The Alex Jones/InfoWars curriculum. This is your Arizona Republican Legislature. 2022, and they need to go.
I got a kick out of the Dispatch editorial of Feb. 20. The premise is that HB2309, proposed by LD11’s Roberts, is meant to address “violent or disorderly assembly." Anyone capable of reading between the not so subtle lines knows full well that the real intent is to intimidate and curtail all peaceful protests — a serious First Amendment assault!
To make sure everyone fully understands the impact HB2309 might have, here’s a little dose of reality. Let’s say a new enterprise opens near your home — High-Times Cannabis or Pulled-Muscle Massage Parlor or Find-Your-Way-Back Halfway House. Perhaps you and your neighbors are opposed to such an establishment, you might believe your property values would be negatively impacted. After a meeting of the minds, you convince several people to peacefully picket/protest the impending intrusion. While your small group walks the sidewalk, someone decides to throw a rock through a window — OMG, as the organizer of the event, Rep. Roberts’ bill will cause your arrest and place a felony conviction on your otherwise clean record.
We know that there are already laws that protect people and property from violent and disorderly assault or damage. HB2309 is not intended to provide any enhanced protection — it’s meant to scare you and me from exercising our First Amendment rights. Isn’t this as sacrosanct as the Second Amendment? Support it or not, but make your decision on reality!
Ruth Bader Ginsburg. You did more to protect our democracy than anyone else. It wasn't fair that you had to be the firewall to the Supreme Court whims of Trump and the Republicans, but you stayed in. You should've been enjoying retirement years ago, but you kept fighting. You did what you could, and now we have to hold Mitch McConnell accountable. He cannot be allowed to shove a nominee through with less than two months until the election. He made the precedent with Merrick Garland, and that was far before the 2016 election.
I fully expect McConnell to "change his mind," though. He and his compatriots in the Senate don't care about how it would look. Morals and honor don't matter to them. But they do to me and the Democratic Party. And they did to the Notorious RBG. Rest in peace, Ruth. We will continue your fight.
I must admit that it takes quite a bit to get my jaw to drop these days. Too many wild and crazy events and stories have dulled senses and sensibilities. Yet, I nearly fell out of my Saturday morning chair when I read the letter posted by Brad Marsh of CG.
Mr. Marsh accuses “New Democrats” of spreading mantras of “hate and disinformation” via letters to the Dispatch editor. He does this without citing a single specific example. OMG folks, when did providing actual facts become hateful disinformation?
As one who reads the Dispatch every print day, I have yet to see any Democrat write anything except to call out the dishonesty and incompetence of the administrations at the federal and state levels. Is it hateful to question Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis that has America with the world’s most infections and deaths? Is it disinformation to highlight Ducey’s late response or LD11’s Leach threatening of cities and mayors trying to protect their citizens?
What we’re seeing in the daily briefings does not match the truth at the front lines of the virus battle. While what I call #FauciFacts are helpful, most of these events have become campaign rallies. Reporters get humiliated — governors pitted against each other — self-praise as hundreds die each day. I can’t stand to watch any more of it. Regardless of your party affiliation, I urge you to look for the facts. I beseech you to trust and believe the experts and scientists. I hope that you and your family stay safe, as does our nation and our democracy.