Friday, May 14, 2010

Maine Republicans vandalize public school classroom

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It’s been said for a long time that the far-right is becoming increasingly anti-intellectual and anti-education, but you probably didn’t think they would actually do something selfish and childish enough to basically cement such a reputation in place. Well, the Maine GOP just settled it:

The Republican convention was at the Portland Expo, but participants went to the nearby King Middle School to hold their caucuses. While there, they went through eighth-grade teacher Paul Clifford’s items, opened sealed boxes, stole a prized poster, and vandalized the room with Republican slogans. Some details on what they did:

– For seven years, Clifford has had “a collage-type poster depicting the history of the U.S. labor movement” on his classroom door. He uses it “to teach his students how to incorporate collages into their annual project on Norman Rockwell’s historic ‘Four Freedoms’ illustrations.” When Clifford returned to his classroom on Monday, after the GOP caucuses, the poster was gone; in its place was a sticker reading, “Working People Vote Republican.”

Republicans opened a “closed cardboard box they found near Clifford’s desk” and later objected to the fact that it contained copies of the U.S. Constitution donated to the school by the American Civil Liberties Union.

– After the caucuses, “rank-and-file Republicans who were upset by what they said they had seen in Clifford’s classroom” began calling the school, objecting to student art they had seen and a sticker on a filing cabinet reading “People for the American Way — Fight the Right.”

I suppose I should be disappointed in myself for being even slightly surprised at such news. After all, it had become only too evident, what with the endless queue of unscientific and revisionist bullshit that right-wing cranks keep peddling into public classrooms, that they would eventually engage in little more than petty vandalism to try and further push their rightist propaganda (because there’s certainly no better word for their generally retarded message and equally retarded manners of spreading it). Really, though, it’s just all the more ironic considering their self-avowed “belief in the US’s schools” and education for children, that they would turn around and, well, contradict just these very principles the first chance they got.

Naturally, some at the school objected at their classroom being turned into a GOP showroom without their knowledge or permission. Several students sent letters, and Maine GOP officials were forced to apologize for the vandalism, though they kept up the whine about how the content featured in the classroom didn’t “give a more balanced view”. This is utterly irrelevant; that classroom could’ve been filled with radical leftist material, and the Republican conventioneers still wouldn’t have had a reason to complain about anything, much less take matters into their own self-righteous hands. If you’re graciously allowed to host your gathering in a public or private locale, it’s rather basic courtesy that you at least leave everything the way it was, and even, that you shut up about the decor if it doesn’t suit your ideology, unless your opinions are specifically requested. Especially considering that this was a public classroom, wherein the works themselves were of an educational nature and many of which were even created by the students themselves.

But, hey, it could’ve been worse. At least they didn’t hoist a confederate flag on the classroom wall or some similar crap … yet.

(via Pharyngula)