Sunday, May 22, 2005

Rick Santorum: Give Me a Break
Senator Rick Santorum Photo


I suppose on the whole it seems fitting that I should do a piece on Santorum after the one I did on Terri Schiavo. Santorum was one of the prime movers and shakers behind trying to get congress involved in the circus that developed around Terri Schiavo, in fact he brought the whole thing to the level of the theater of the absurd. You don't like something, it doesn't jive with your values or beliefs, legislate that problem away and damn the Constitution and established law. Yep, gotta love it.

The Times did a fairly extensive article on Santorum in this weekend's magazine (The
Believer
by Michael Sokolove), in fact Santorum made the cover of the magazine, no small thing. I was up early this morning and I figured I'd make my may through it. Santorum is a devout Catholic who seems drawn to and is increasingly supported by the evangelical Christian right in this country. That alone makes me uncomfortable with the man as anyone who espouses the line that God's laws are being violated is running hard against the Constitution as I see it as I have no clue what God we're talking about. Is it the Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, B'hai, Zoroastrian, Hopi, Navaho, Mormon, and on, and on, God? God is not defined in the Constitution, which is a good thing as it affords a level of freedom in this country which allowed it to get past ecumenical differences and grow into a great nation. But Santorum and those supporting him are convinced it's the God of the New Testament that's looking over this country, and it's a Christian line we should all be toeing, so ... well, whatever, that really wasn't what got me ticked regarding Santorum.

So what has me on a Santorum rant? It's the following piece from the article:

Someone else in the audience complained that the local schools were substandard, and Santorum used that as an opportunity to touch a broader theme. ''What's needed,'' he replied, ''is to give parents real control, as opposed to what we have today, the control in the hands of the bureaucrats and the experts.''

God, this torqued me. My experience with parents is that far too many of them don't care what their kid is doing in school. They send little Johnny and Janie off to school and they figure things will get taken care of and that's that. I'm not saying it's the norm, hardly is it that, but there are parents who don't care, and those parents who do care are often as much in the dark about what's to be done with their kids as the teachers are. Teachers aren't necessarily experts in how to teach kids, but they're the ones on the frontline, they're the ones trying to make a go of it, they're the ones dealing with this huge teenage and younger segment of humanity that they're trying to help prepare to step out into a world that's more and more less friendly to people trying to make a living in it. So when it comes to expertise, how in the hell is pushing the education of children off to parents, many of whom are too busy trying to make a living to get truly deeply involved in the education of their children, going to solve the problems associated with schools that are under funded and short staffed? But it sounds good, especially from demagogues, to say something like we need to give you parents control, we need to get the "experts" out of this since they have no clue what they're doing. That's not getting more funds to that school, or addressing why they may be substandard, but it does sound good as it glibly rolls off this man's tongue. And trust me, parents DO have a lot of control over their schools through various organizations tied to those schools, and it's all a matter of getting involved or not.

Maybe I'll make a contribution to the guy running against Santorum next November, even if I don't particularly care for his politics either; maybe he'll at least not be as bad as what's now there.

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