This is my recommended weekend read - if you read nothing else, read this.
A look through the isinglass at the fiery furnace of Tea Party insanity from Pierre Tristam who gives us an overview of the Tea Party fight against common core education in one locale.
There are no more lethal death panels these days than tea party meetings, at least as far as truth and reason are concerned. But even for Flagler County’s tea party group, last Tuesday’s meeting on common core was a new low. The guest speaker was Diane Kepus, a retired auditor who now calls herself a researcher and speaker, and who is devoting her days and nights to putting on a stand-up version of Glenn Beck as she attempts to demolish the new common core education standards coming down the pike.
When she said she wasn’t an educator, she wasn’t kidding. Her inability to distinguish fact from fiction clearly showed that she would be the first candidate for a little bit of common core, if not common sense. Her talk was a mass of inventions, conspiracy theories and outright lies—lies about our own school board, about charter schools, about what sort of algebra will be taught in what grades and of course about the conspiracy to teach sex education to your children. One can only dream of such a conspiracy, but rest assured, common core isn’t about to deflower our national prudery on that score.
But Diane Kepus delivered common core creationism to the sort of audience for whom distortion is intellectual Geritol, so she felt right at home. When embarrassing fantasies pass for fact before a sizeable audience of ostensibly educated grownups, we’ve obviously crossed a Rubicon of lunacy. But that’s been our culture’s common core for a couple of decades now, ever since it’s become acceptable for astounding proportions of society to confuse creationism with science, to deny global warming in the face of irrefutable evidence, or to imagine that fetuses masturbate.
“They deserve hell because you disagree with them?” a friend wrote me when I described Kepus’s tea party talk. “Think how dull this world would be if we all agreed.” There are disagreements. Then there’s the outright denial of reality, the manipulation of half-baked evidence to fit outlandish conclusions. Holocaust deniers have a right to speak, too (at least they do in the United States; they don’t in Europe), and I’ll defend their right to speak, but I don’t have to respect them, or give them the respect due reasonable argument.