By Gary Berg-Cross
The Texas Republicans have been meeting in convention at Fort Worth. They are approving their 2012 platform which has some strong conservative notes. They are sour ones to me. One Texas commentator (Richard Whittaker,in the Austin Chronicle) bulleted them as follow:
-Abstinence-only sex ed (yeah, because that's worked so well so far.)
– Trying juveniles as adults
– Faith-based drug rehab should be emphasized (Scientology front operation NarcAnon should be rubbing its hands at that one)
– Oppose the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (Yeah! Who's the UN to tell us we should ban child slavery?)
– Flat rate income tax (go Team 1%!)
– Repealing the minimum wage (suck it, wage slaves!)
– Opposing homosexuality in the military (don't ask, don't tell, and don't do that!)
– Opposition to red light cameras (because if you run a red, kill someone, and there's no witnesses, was the light ever really red?)
– Oppose the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, because firms should be able to fire people for what they consider "sinful and sexually immoral behavior." Like, say, growing a beard?
– Continued opposition to ACORN (even though it has not existed since 2010)
– Opposing statehood or even Congressional voting rights for the citizens of the District of Columbia (who writes this crap, Rand Paul?)
– And no-questions-asked support for Israel because, and this is another direct quote:
"Our policy is based on God’s biblical promise to bless those who bless Israel and curse those who curse Israel and we further invite other nations and organizations to enjoy the benefits of that promise."
I noted that they insist that school principles need to be citizens but the item that is getting national attention such as at HuffPo is in the section titled "Educating Our Children," . Include in here the statement that that "corporal punishment is effective" and recommends teachers be given "more authority" to deal with disciplinary problems. It goes on to opposes mandatory pre-school and kindergarten, saying tht parents are "best suited to train their children in their early development."
But the position that has stirred the most controversy is the one stating that:
“We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.”
What the argument? It’s straight out Chris Mooney’s Republican Brain and Lakoff’s writings on Moral Authority. They worry that it might challenge "student's fixed beliefs. " Fixed by group decision and closed minds with no discussion allowed.
The language of undermining "parental authority" can be understood from Lakoff's discussion of the Strict Father model:
This model posits a traditional nuclear family, with the father having primary responsibility for supporting and protecting the family as well as the authority to set overall policy, to set strict rules for the behavior of children, and to enforce the rules. The mother has the day-to-day responsibility for the care of the house, raising the children, and upholding the father's authority. Children must respect and obey their parents; by doing so they build character, that is, self-discipline and self-reliance. Love and nurturance are, of course, a vital part of family life but can never outweigh parental authority, which is itself an expression of love and nurturance—tough love. Self-discipline, self-reliance, and respect for legitimate authority are the crucial things that children must learn.
I imagine it is sad for quite a few Texas parents critically contemplating the long-tern implications.