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Going Soon, To A Re-Education Camp Near You!
February 25, 2004
By Kelley S. Willis

I've been thinking about the hatred and suspicion Republicans have for anyone who does something for reasons other than money, and how this continues to underlie their true attitude towards public education. And today we get to see it underlined again, by Secretary of Education Rod Paige, the Salesman from Houston, when he calls the largest union of teachers in the United States "a terrorist organization."

Remember how the Republicans turned "terrorist" into the cue word for a Pavlovian response from Americans? Remember how Republicans arose and howled about the use by two of the 1500 public entries at MoveOn.Org's "Bush In 30 Seconds" ad campaign of comparisons of Junior to Hitler? Do you seriously think that Paige's comments were not vetted by a White House campaign office? That the head of the Education Department, which the Republicans have been trying to eliminate since the Reagan Administration, would open his mouth at a Washington function for a Governor's convention, and just be speaking off the cuff, is preposterous for anyone from this most on-message White House.

From Junior to Paige to Rush and all their fellow-travellers, they hide behind the children, they claim that teaching is an honorable profession, even an exalted one (hell, teachers need something to compensate for the poor pay, long hours and work that no CEO could do, let's "exalt" them), but as soon as they organize, by God they're terrorists!

Does anyone really wonder why we can't find enough teachers? Why is it, in this era of saturation neo-con media, 24-7 on every AM station, on FOXNews, MSNBC, CNBC, and even on the old-line broadcasters, that no one except the most thick-skinned and driven become teachers? Why do neo-cons and the neoRNC fear teachers so much? Because they're the last front that hasn't bought the neo-con, the new swindle, that Ron Regan was the Second Coming, that doing anything for any reason but money is anti-American, and that questioning the GOP is a crime.

Because (let's be honest) Republicans don't want public education to recover. They've done everything they can to kill this common experience, this public institution, this bastion of people learning and exploring and helping each other, because that is so antithetical to their concept of America.

And they sure hate the fact that teachers see through them, and organize against them, and spend dollars against them, and rail against their attempts to set the bar lower by shoveling creationism, and school prayer, and intelligent design, and eliminating funding for anything that a corporation can't use directly in an office drone. So out with art, with music, with phys ed, with recess...defund construction, defund maintenance, and (as exemplified by Gov. Bush's crony capitalism in Texas) get a handle on the teacher's retirement funds, and skim off the top while reducing the value of the rest, so those damned teachers have even less to donate to the battle against Republicans.

No wonder Paige calls them terrorists; this is their true feeling. They're the people out there creating more little terrorists every day, in every class in every public school in America. Because a terrorist is someone who isn't a Republican. You heard them say it!

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