Monday, January 23, 2006

Who Is Willie Horton?

I am. And you are.

Actually, Willie Horton was a dangerous criminal, trotted out by George Herbert Walker Bush and Lee Atwater to frighten America.

He’s not an altogether handsome guy, and you’d probably hesitate to invite him over the house for spaghetti. But what message was George Herbert Walker Bush sending when he plastered him all over America on TV ads?

There's the standard message of fear, of course. And if you’re inclined toward racism, fear was not quite everything. But nowadays, racism is no longer as chic as it once was. Bob Dole, in fact, renounced it directly at the 1996 Republican Convention.

Then he started trashing teachers. Teachers, correctly perceived as mostly liberal, are very convenient targets. How many of them vote for Republicans anyway?

Moreover, education is supported by taxes Steve Forbes needs not pay. Just last week, John Stossel did a hatchet job on education and teachers in America, and that may mark the beginning of open season on all of us.

In 2004 it was homosexuals and “defense of marriage.” It’s still, apparently, socially acceptable to discriminate against gay people. How on earth will prohibiting gay marriage defend anything? Wouldn't it be more productive to rail against divorce? Or adultery, perhaps?

Well, I suppose as teachers, we'll just have to share the mantle with our gay friends. Perhaps they could be Willie and we could be Horton.
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