This is a letter to the editor we received ... not a school insider by any means.
I am worried. In recent discussions with friends and longtime residents of
I would caution those who spew hate and racism and targeted anger that this can only end in disaster, for them as well as the rest of us.
All this contentiousness began, it seems, when the CUSD recall came into being several years ago. Extreme elements, angry at a Board they saw as mishandling the district and themselves, and filled with right-wing, elitist political fervor, they had them recalled, despite the fact that those who would replace them were inexperienced and supported by the most conservative of political thinking. They seemed not as interested in the children, as damning “unions.”
Fascinating. “Unions” that once hallowed word that suggested five-day-work-weeks, fair wages, child labor laws, gender equity, among so many things American has become a pejorative term. The “unions” are celebrated on Labor Day, a national holiday. But the term has for so many become negative.. It interesting how the extreme right can take a perfectly positive word and turn its connotation to something ugly. “Liberal” is another example. It simply meant open-minded.
George Orwell the famous novelist and essayist, in his “Politics and the English Language,” called the process “demonizing” the opponent. Likewise, Adolph Hitler, the story goes, said, in German, of course, that if you tell a lie often enough everyone will believe it. Albert Einstein once said: “Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.” There seems to be a connection among all three.
However, the new slate, overplayed their anger and precipitated a counter anger by those seeing the recall as a massive mistake . Now another, more rational group is trying to correct what they see as an error in judgment . We’ll see how that goes. Will the down and dirty partisan politics be neutralized?
Then along came the” Teabaggers “and “Teapartiers,” the self-proclaimed “patriots” who have yet to show anything but anger. “The something for nothing crowd,” as one national commentator calls them. “I want my Medicare and social security, and to hell with everyone else. We hate ‘big government.’”
I heard one of these members at their rally in San Juan. I happened to be passing the park. I stopped to listen for a few minutes. “I…my...mine…the government did this to me and that and etc. etc. etc.” shouted one of the speakers. ” I was struck by his self-identified victimization, as if everyone else and the government had it made, but not he. How sad to see the world through such a simplistic vision. According to the New York Times of a few days ago, these folks and those with their attitude make up almost a third of the modern Republican Party. If this is true, I grieve for the loss of a real political party.
And now we have what might be called the “Arizona Effect”—a harkening back to the days of the Klan and self-victimization along with imaginary threats from “the other.” These are the self appointed border watchers whose mantra is always the same—“Well they broke the law.” As regards to Arizona, even the Sheriff of Tucson says the fear and statistics don’t match the facts. He called it “ginning up fear.” Crime rates in Arizona are not up. They are down. They have been dropping for years. Yes, “frighten the white folks” to stay in power.
And then, lo and behold, in front of the San Juan Post Office stood two, young, neatly dressed men with The Tea Bagger Poster of Obama with Hitler’s mustache and the words, scrawled in the margins, “Socialist” and “Nazi”—mutually exclusive terms. You can’t be both unless you are a verbal contortionist. I let it go, but the longer I stood waiting to mail a package, the angrier I became. Others in line were also disturbed. “Who in the hell are those guys?” one man asked to no one in particular. But I kept myself under control.
On the way out I stopped by the two twenty some-things and asked each calmly if he had been in the military service? They felt something was up. They looked down, became intensely interested in their shoes.
I continued: “I have, my father has, my brother has, my son has, and you haven’t? Have you served on a city council, helped at the boys and girls club, done ecological cleanups, done anything for your nation or community? Do you know what the word ‘socialism’ means? Do you know who Hitler was? You obviously didn’t live through WWII as did I. And aren’t you ashamed to be comparing your President and mine with Hitler?”
Heads bowed, no eyes looking up, nothing but a murmur that I couldn’t catch.
“You,” I said again, “should be ashamed of yourselves or your parents or whoever put you up to this. It is poisonous and, quite frankly, un-American.”
No response. I left.
I came back ten minutes later because in my anger, I had forgotten to mail something.
They were gone.
Those in our lovely little village who use unabated hate and irresponsible name calling are a danger to themselves and the community. It is time step back and really examine what is the basis of your anger. Self-indulgent fury is no substitute for democracy. I fear for San Juan. This is like an infection or worse yet a cancer. As I said earlier, I am worried. This is dangerous. This is not just free speech. This is a crowded theater where you don’t call “fire” for the fun of it.
San Juan Capistrano