Thursday, March 10, 2005

The Rabidly Self-Righteous

Wow, the Ex-Recall folks are going rabid, now that the pilot schools have been announced. Truth is irrelevant, they just wanna bite somebody.

On their blog, paranoia strikes deep. Here's from a blog post titled, "'Zealots' and 'Extremists' or The Intolerance of the Left":
As we have seen, right here in our own Montgomery County, the 'politics of deceit' mandates that people who speak up about the bias of the left (or the bias of the new curriculum or the bias of the CAC) must be silenced. Their most effective weapon is to brand people 'homophobes', ' zealots', 'religious extremists' and the like. We have seen this name calling happen already on PTA list servs, newsletters and on certain websites and blogs where 'supporters' of the new curriculum try to close down any chance for a rational dialogue in this way.

'Homophobes', ' zealots', 'religious extremists' and the like. Uh, yeah? And the part that's wrong is ... what? The part that I disagree with is the idea that saying these things is "our most effective weapon." No, I'd say "telling the truth" is our most effective weapon. And the truth is: yeah, we do see them as a bunch of radical extremists trying to impose their bizarre beliefs on the public school district. Homophobes, zealots, yeah, we see that. I don't have to say it nice, I prefer to say it straight.

Ex-Recall wants you to think they're under attack for "speak[ing] up about the bias of the left."

Well, I can only speak for myself. I'm just a blogger here, a kind of ordinary, kind of rednecky straight white guy, and I'll tell you -- I was kicked out of "The Left" years ago. I am not a "good liberal." Nice try, but that is not what this is about. I'm a freedom-loving red-blooded American, in cowboy boots, no less, and I don't like a bunch of holier-than-thou religious extremists telling me what my kids should be learning in a public school. It doesn't matter what I think about abortion, or affirmative action, or immigration, or welfare, or social security, or the war in Iraq, or anything else -- no, this isn't "The Left" speaking. I just don't want these radicals taking over the schools. See? It's not a "lefty" thing, it's an "American freedom" thing. Gay people have the right to be whatever nature made them and by giving them that right and the respect that goes with it, I take for myself the right to be whatever kind of person I am, warts and all. They don't have to explain themselves to me, and I'm not explaining me to anybody.

Liberty works that way: you give a little, you take a little. You put up with people, and they put up with you.

Ex-Recall's shrill press release calls David Fishback, the chairman of the citizens advisory committee that proposed the curriculum, a "gay activist." Doesn't it seem a little strange to be a straight "gay activist?" How would it sound if you called a white guy a "black activist?" No, that isn't "gay activism," the curriculum recommended by the committee is simply common sense.

The Ex-Recall people are extremists who have, for some reason I'll never understand, decided that gay people are going to be the downfall of our society. They have even found a couple of obscure quotes in the Bible, saying that homosexuality is just as bad as letting your meat touch your cheese, and so they think God backs 'em up on this. In the 1950s it was rock-n-roll, then it was Negroes, then it was hippies, then video games, and now it's gay people who are going to send us to hell in a handbasket, according to these guys.

So all of a sudden it's earth-shatteringly important to keep all of our kids in the dark about the very existence of homosexuality. If we talk about it in the schools we'll "normalize" it, they say, we'll "promote" it. Well, some kids are growing up in families (yes, families!) with gay parents; some kids are growing up gay themselves; some kids are growing up teasing gay people and hating them without ever thinking about it. The schools are teaching about sex and leaving this important subject out? Naw, it's time to talk about it. At least tell the kids what it is.

And look, here's "Bianca M.", representing the Ex-Recall group, telling some conservative web site that "We have recently obtained a copy of the new condom video in which the school system now wants to instruct children in anal sex."

Now, I saw the video, and I know it doesn't do that. It might mention anal sex, I can't even remember, it was so shocking. It would be appropriate to mention anal sex in a discussion of condoms, in a sex-education class for tenth-graders -- but "instructing children in anal sex?" "Bianca M.", that's a lie.

The interesting thing to me is, the holier-than-thou crowd wants to complain about AIDS but they don't want to mention anal sex, which is a common way the virus is spread. They think students should end up with the idea that AIDS is spread by ... being gay.

No, the virus is not spread by being gay, it's spread by the exchange of body fluids, especially into absorbing tissues like those in the rectum. Trust me, your kid will not be damaged by hearing that from a health teacher.

And lots of hetereosexual people engage in anal sex, too, y'know, since you brought up the subject, "Bianca." And lots of heterosexual people get AIDS.

And also, now that I think of it -- lesbian gay sex is probably the safest category of sexual behavior there is. The incidence of STIs is very low among lesbians. Doesn't this kind of spoil the idea that homosexuality is a "public health hazard?" Or, would it be OK with you, since it's not a "health risk," to teach about lesbianism, and not male homosexuality? My guess is, no, that would not be all right with you: two-mommy families would still be bad, even though the health risk is low. One sees the tip of the iceburg of hypocrisy, dontcha think?

I say, if certain sexually transmitted diseases are epidemic in the gay population, then let's address that. Let's get information out there about how to avoid those diseases, how to treat them, how to know if you've got them. Same for the straight population. Let's fight these problems by using our intelligence, not by closing our eyes to them.

Certainly you can't blame the worldwide AIDS epidemic on some middle school or high school sex-ed course. A lesson in a health class is not going to turn anybody gay, it's not going to make a modest student promiscuous, and it's not going to give anybody AIDS.

Let the self-righteous indulge in their convulsions of indignity. Let them accuse, let them distort and lie. In the long run, all that matters is whether the school board decides to keep the new curriculum or not. Let them file their lawsuits, let them try to recall the board -- hey, let them run for office if they think they won't be laughed out of the county. The piloting will proceed, and the question now is an empirical one -- does the curriculum succeed in teaching what it is supposed to teach?


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