We have become used to bizarre news items coming out of Red States. They’re full of Tea Party-types, white militias, and religious fanatics, after all. But what is wrong in Texas that it seems to be the epicenter of so much craziness?
Like the fourth grader in Kermit, Texas who was suspended for making “terroristic” threats with a ring that doesn’t exist. Nine-year-old Aiden Steward told a classmate at Kermit Elementary School that he’d use his “One Ring” – forged in Mount Doom of course – to make him disappear.
I could see suspending somebody for threatening to shoot somebody – guns do exist – but how can you threaten somebody with something that not only does not exist, but cannot?
And if it’s bad science, its bad fiction too, because the One Ring doesn’t make other people disappear, but its wearer. Counsel young Mr. Steward for failing to understand Tolkien if you want, but suspend him? Really? Why isn’t everyone involved just laughing, or at least saying, “Well, he’s a kid.” I mean, he’s NINE. Not only was nobody hurt, but nobody could be hurt, for crying out loud.
If that is not bad enough, we’ve seen Texas declare Moses a Founding Father. If Moses is a Founding Father, what’s wrong with magic rings? I’d volunteer to be disappeared. Get me out of here. Now.
Texas Governor Gregg Abbott – yes they can find governors stupider than Rick Perry in Texas – thinks he can change the essential nature of math, falling into the trap of totalitarian states that there is such a thing as Communist math, or National Socialist math, that is somehow superior or more true than, well…just math. You know, like in the Common Core.
I know they do teach things differently these days, and there is a learning curve for parents, but they taught things differently when I was a kid too. Parents of my day had a hard time helping kids with math too – the “new” math – which was different than the “old” math of their childhoods. Teaching methods change. And that’s what’s key here: the math doesn’t change – it stays the same – just the teaching method changes.
I’m not sure Gregg Abbott understands that, and I don’t think glasses are going to help him any more than they are helping Rick Perry. Nor will other conservatives who have a firmer grasp on our shared reality, like radio host Bill Bennett, a conservative, who tried, futilely to explain to Abbott Sunday that he was hurting his state by rejecting Common Core.
Chris Wallace of Fox News even tried to explain some facts – yes, facts to Abbott:
“Your state of Texas got an overall grade of C minus and ranked 39th among the 50 states. Meanwhile, the top nine states, in terms of their performance, governor, all have adopted Common Core.”
When Abbott argued for “local control” (and I think he just proved that’s a bad idea), Bennett dropped the logic bomb:
“You’ve got local control, you decided that Common Core wouldn’t be in Texas so it’s not in Texas. And Texas can teach math any way it wants, but what Texas can’t do is change the nature of mathematics and what mathematical reasoning and mathematical sequence becomes.
No arguing with that, right? Abbott did, saying, “I’ve got to strenuously disagree with that.”
“Of course you do,” we all want to say by now. It’s Texas, after all. And this may all be moot anyway, if a Texas legislator gets his way and gives teachers permission to shoot students. I would imagine schools would empty out pretty fast. Let’s face it, better ignorant than dead.
And what would Texas be without Islamophobia? First we have Christian terrorist Christine Weick, daring Franklin Graham to take over a mosque and “have a service there.”
Let’s bring in our Bibles, let’s bring in our liturgy, let’s bring in the hymnals, let’s put up crucifixes where we acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord, and let’s go into their mosque and do that. I guarantee you that will never happen because they scream tolerance of everything, and yet they’re not tolerant of us – at all.
Um….because taking over a mosque is tolerant?
Or attacking an imam for praying over a rodeo? That’s tolerant, right?
On Sunday, January 25, Moujahed Bakhach of the Islamic Association of Tarrant County led a public prayer at the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo. The reaction was anything but friendly, as The Dallas Morning News tells us, with the stock show’s Facebook page filling up with comments like this:
A sampling of the sentiments expressed: “I for one won’t attend an event that allows a darkness to be spoke over me,” “Muslim/Islam has no place in this country” and “I just will choose NOT to go somewhere that embraces a religion that wants me, my family and my people DEAD.”
Well, we’ll just forget that part in the Old Testament then where it says to stone all non-believers dead. And that part where it says to turn the other cheek. And to love your enemies.
This episode brings to mind the Texans who got upset that Muslims weren’t publicly decrying terrorism, but when some of them tried to do just that at a conference, were told by home-grown, white Christian terrorists to “Go home and take Obama with you.”
Even though America is their home, just as it is the home of Moujahed Bakhach.
And we can’t leave without mentioning the spate of open-carry episodes recently, with open carry advocates storming the capitol and forcing legislators to vote panic buttons into existence, because, you know, it’s rather hard to focus on debating legislation with a bunch of armed people standing over your shoulder telling you how to vote.
More pointedly, why did a nine-year-old get in trouble for threatening to use a non-existent ring and a bunch of people with real guns didn’t?
I feel bad for sane Texans – I do – but really, we don’t deserve this as a country. The sort of pig-ignorance you find in Texas these days is dragging us all down, embarrassing the entire country. I mean, how valuable a part of the country is a state Allen West flees to when Florida becomes too smart for him?
I’m sorry folks, but it’s time to break up with Texas. Or maybe we can borrow that magic ring…
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.