Sen. Jim DeMint: bigotry and sexism belong in the classroom
We all like a taste of the retro now and then: the fashions of “Mad Men,” re-releases of The Beatles albums, remakes of ‘70s sitcoms into movies. Then there are the times when you’re hit with something so retrograde, regressive, and offensive as to completely floor you. Case in point: Sen. DeMint’s comments at a rally in South Carolina, in which he declared that openly gay people or sexually active unmarried women shouldn’t be in our classrooms.
Where to even begin? OK, perhaps first with a brief history lesson: a voter initiative to ban gay teachers from classrooms in California failed dismally. In the 1970s. In other words, voters over 30 years ago were ahead of DeMint on this issue of simple fairness and non-discrimination.
Then there’s that other can of worms: the objection to women who have pre-marital sex somehow being unfit to teach children. Are sexually active unmarried men also a threat? For some strange reason (*cough* sexism), DeMint fails to call out men committing the same behavior.
We’re curious: does DeMint feel that unmarried women should be barred from every other line of work – nursing, the law, owning a business? And what about those sexually active men who, if we apply any modicum of fairness, are as morally repugnant to DeMint as these women? Should I inquire about my accountant’s private life before he helps prepare my taxes?
At a time when our nation is still in the grip of a recession, it hard to believe someone like DeMint is out there advocating for such a pure form of job discrimination against men and women who teach our children. It gets worse, though: Sen. DeMint isn’t just spreading his narrow-minded views – he’s lending key support to fellow right-wingers Dino Rossi and Richard Burr, opponents of Sen. Patty Murray (WA) and Elaine Marshall (NC).
While DeMint’s comments about who shouldn’t be in a classroom couldn’t be more absurd, he does make one powerful argument: unless we pull out all the stops for our candidates and advocates, then we can look forward to a whole lot more of this kind of “leadership” from DeMint and his pals like Rossi and Burr. Click here to contribute to Patty Murray's campaign and here for Elaine Marshall's.
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