FROM THE TINFOIL HAT FILES. For those of you not in the know, a tinfoil hat or helmet protects you from the thought waves of evil governments. The tinfoil hat brigade was the name given to those who worried about the lack of transparency in U.S. elections in 2004. Drawing any attention to oddities in the election results got one transferred into this brigade which largely marched outside the field of vision of the mainstream press carrying large placards screaming "Stolen Elections!"
POLITICAL REALITY SHOWS.Glenn Beck being hired by ABC's Good Morning America and now the rumors that Michael Smerconish is being considered for a talk show of his very own on CNN made me think about how close these political talk shows have grown to reality television. The more outrageous the better, especially if the host is from the radical right wing of the political spectrum. It's as if we decided to create an opinion show on peas, with some people liking them and others not caring for them very much, and the obvious choice for a host would be someone who routinely sticks peas in his nostrils.
Remember Title IX, the federal legislation that guarantees equality by sex in education? It was passed in 1972, on the heels of racial integration, and with a rather similar rationale: Separate was not deemed to be equal either in law or in educational outcomes. By 1995, only three sex-segregated public schools remained.
Fast forward to September 2006, and what do you find? More than 40 totally sex-segregated public schools and another 200 with sex-segregated classes in topics other than sex education or sports. What happened? Have we backpedaled on gender equality in education?
We liberals have a lot on our consciences. Who taught the right wing how to use religion for social causes during the Martin Luther King era? Who showed them that discrimination on the basis of race or sex was not something most Americans see as part of the generous bounty of this country? It was us, and now we reap the harvest of all these past successes: The Christian right has stolen our toolkit and is busily using it to demolish the human rights we so laboriously built. They tell us that religious people are the real victims of discrimination and they tell us that what really oppresses them is…human rights. Who would have thought.