Monday, October 11, 2010

Black Holes of Davida: Jim DeMint

Should certain people be barred from teaching? Apparently South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint thinks so. DeMint, who’s now running for a second term, said at a church rally on October 1 that homosexuals and sexually active single women shouldn’t be allowed to teach. This isn’t the first time he stomped on civil rights: during a debate in 2004, when he was first running for office, he stated that openly gay people should be barred from teaching. When further asked about his stance, he defended himself with “I would have given the same answer when asked if a single woman, who was pregnant and living with her boyfriend, should be hired to teach my third-grade children.” The reasoning behind his prehistoric attitudes? “We need the folks that are teaching in schools to represent our values.” Isn’t this country supposed to be a melting pot with varied opinions? Can’t people value gay rights?

This situation actually reminds me of a play I saw a little while ago, Abraham Lincoln’s Big Gay Dance Party. The play is about a gay teacher who writes Lincoln’s possible homosexuality into a fourth grade Christmas play, her subsequent dismissal, and the trial against her, plus the controversy between the opposing lawyers and the prosecutor’s son’s homosexuality. The play really explored the concepts of bigotry, especially homophobia, and how it needlessly ruins so many lives.

Terry O’Neill, the president of NOW, released a statement regarding DeMint’s chauvinistic comments saying, “[DeMint] thinks gay women and men and sexually active single women should be banned from teaching, but he said nothing about sexually active, single straight men.” Double standard much? What if his third-grade children had a single, sexually active male teacher who was living with a pregnant girlfriend - would he feel that he should be fired for his sexual activity?

Randi Weingarten, the openly gay president of the American Federation of Teachers, said, “On a personal level, as a gay woman, I am very disappointed that a senator would place more emphasis on who we are as human beings than on what we do as professionals. That is not the UNITED States of America.” Ms. Weingarten really summed it up in my opinion. A teacher’s personal life is none of anybody’s business. They teach. As long as they do their job, who cares if they’re pregnant out of wedlock or gay?

Jim DeMint also opposes abortion even in cases of rape and incest, unless it endangers the mother’s life. So if a woman teacher is raped and gets pregnant, she can’t teach anymore, but she can’t get an abortion either…makes a lot of sense.

His opponent, Inez Tenenbaum, was State Superintendent of Education from 1998-2007, and became the head of the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission in 2009. Ms. Tenenbaum is not Jewish, but her husband Samuel is, and she is actively pro-Israel. While she is pro-choice, she voted against gay marriage. (Hey, at least she’s halfway there…)

I dub Jim DeMint into Black Holes of Davida - people who let us feminists down by advocating misogyny, sexism, abuse, and other anti-woman thoughts and actions.

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