The New York Times ran a story yesterday about all the hate the right-wingers are expressing for school teachers. In the opening they quoted placards from Madison, Wisconsin, saying, "You are glorified babysitters who leave school at 3:30 pm. You deserve minimum wage."
They interviewed a 30-year-old second-year teacher who carries 26 grand in college debt. "You feel punched in the stomach," she said. She can't buy a car. She can't buy a house. She has to move back in with her parents. She's educating people's children. And they're out there spitting in her face.
Oh, my God. Where have these people come from? From beneath what rock have they crept? Americans don't hate school teachers. Do they? Every day I read something like this, and at first I'm just speechlessly stunned. Like Martians have taken over.
Who else do they hate? Not Mom! Tell me they're not gunning for Mom now. Maybe tomorrow it will be placards saying, "Mom is a fat hag!" "Eat dog food and die, Mom."
These people are conservatives? My Kansas grandmother was a conservative, a loyal lifelong Republican. She thought public school teachers were saints. Saints.
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This stuff is not coming from any kind of mainstream conservative American tradition. The same Times story reiterated polling data reported yesterday in The Times showing that Americans are opposed by a margin of 2-1 to stripping public employees of their collective bargaining rights.
This other stuff -- this hatred of teachers, hatred of honest lunch-bucket carrying industrial workers, hatred of educated people, hatred, hatred, hatred -- this is all very sick stuff. Jack boot. Crazy. Ugly. Hate junkies.
And you know what? The rest of us had better get up off our duffs and slap some respect and some manners back into these people, or we're going to wake up one day and find them coming down the street after all of us.
I'll give them this. Wherever they come from, Mars or under the rock, they are a real threat to this country. They're not conservatives. We need to find a better word.