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Welcome back, state's rights.
January 6, 2001 5:49 PM   Subscribe

Welcome back, state's rights. As if Dubya's comments following his "ethnic" Cabinet appointments wasn't enough retrograde logic -- roughly: if blacks and hispanics (would only?) work hard and make the right choices in life -- he's now using language that has been used to mask agendas based on race from before the Civil War through the fight against integration. And it looks like that fight ain't over, if you read "states rights" in today's context to mean the right to spend public funds on getting (primarily) white kids out of (primarily) black schools.
posted by subpixel (13 comments total)

 
Funny how an outspoken advocate for states rights went scurrying to a federal supreme court when things didn't go his way. We've discussed that thoroughly in a previous posts, so I'll leave that be.

Dubya's school 'reform' proposals are indeed cause for alarm. Aside from the bizarre notion of taking funds away from ailing (and often primarily minority) schools, instituting local control over education makes for some backward lessons.

Let us not forget that this is the same man who refused to acknowledge that there was anything wrong with a school district that disavowed the theory of evolution and taught only creationism (creation being defined, of course, by whatever the Christian Bible says).

While I fear the Republican's record on the environment, and their penchant for helping the rich get richer, it's this idea of school reform that I find most troubling. Perhaps it's because so few people understand what 'school vouchers' really are . . .
posted by aladfar at 7:16 PM on January 6, 2001


Sigh . . . always preview your comments. You might do something stupid like forget to close an italics tag . . .
posted by aladfar at 7:17 PM on January 6, 2001


HMM... the italics tag is bleeding over to all the posts.
posted by tiaka at 7:45 PM on January 6, 2001


It's italics run amok! Oh wait, no.
posted by zempf at 8:26 PM on January 6, 2001


And I suppose we should turn off the bold, too, while we're at it.
posted by Aaaugh! at 9:33 PM on January 6, 2001


Bold? What bold?
posted by aaron at 10:50 PM on January 6, 2001


What? Did Dubya come in here and post something and I missed it?
posted by ZachsMind at 2:05 AM on January 7, 2001


sorry - i wanted to link to it but the nytimes story is archived. to paraphrase: dec 18, when w. bush made several black and hispanic appointments, he was asked if he was trying to send a message by making minority appointments right out of the gate. his response was "you bet i'm sending a message, that if you work hard and make the right choices in life you can accomplish anything." the context is much clearer in the original story, but the implication is that most blacks and hispanics are not working hard or making right choices. the dubya solution? caninet-level tokenism.
posted by subpixel at 9:33 AM on January 7, 2001


I didn't vote for George W, but I think there is some validity to the states' rights arguement.

By giving states more power, you're lessening the effect of the tyranny of the majority. When the majority determines the way things are in the United States, you can have very large minorities left out. When the same decisions are made on a state by state level, you're much likely to have solultions targeted to different constituencies. The tyranny of the majority still exists, but the minority is smaller, and has options to go elsewhere.

That doesn't mean I'm against a strong federal government on a number of issues, but there's room for a balance.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 11:09 AM on January 7, 2001


[aladfar] Funny how an outspoken advocate for states rights went scurrying to a federal supreme court when things didn't go his way

"State's rights" doesn't have to mean states have supreme authority on every issue. If GW believed that the Florida Supreme Court was not following the stipulations of the Constitution or of Constitutionally-supported federal law, then "scurrying to the federal supreme court" was the appropriate action.

[subpixel] if you read "states rights" in today's context to mean the right to spend public funds on getting (primarily) white kids out of (primarily) black schools.

[aladfar] so few people understand what 'school vouchers' really are . . .

I think that a school voucher system, properly implemented, could work well for bringing quality education to every child. I also think that strictly public education, properly implemented, could work just as well. Undoubtedly, whatever voucher system is proposed will have some problems. I have no idea if a specific plan has been presented, I'd be very interested to see it. I find it hard to believe that one would think the current system is working for everyone, though.
posted by daveadams at 12:29 PM on January 7, 2001


[daveadams] i agree that there are likely areas of governance in which state policy should be allowed to function without undue interferance from the feds. the problem is i can't think of any and the record on this issue shows that "state sovereignty" is often a cover for getting away with what local govt. approves of but what the country as a whole does not.

- in the west they want to open protected land to development and drilling. the locals want it, the state govts want it, but should that be a local issue? i dont think so.

- republicans are calling out for "local governance" of schools and (local) "accountability". i'm from south carolina, and if you look at 1) the quality of that state's education on a whole and 2) the difference in quality of education between black and white districts you get a pretty good ifea of what local control boils down to: a system that sucks eggs and is accountable only to some backwater schoolboards who can't do anything anyway.

the real problem is that when you say STATES RIGHTS as a president of the US you should be aware that that is a loaded and contemptible phrase (if not every idea that is represents) and GWB does not and that gets my liberal panties in a big ol' wad!


posted by subpixel at 1:29 PM on January 7, 2001


Let's give more power to those individuals where the system is already fucked up for some people (inner city communities) so there own neighborhoods will reap the benefits.

Mr. Bush, the people who head the states, will continue to look out for their own, and I mean there "own". And those other people, we only refer to when there's something wrong will be left out or overlooked as usual.
posted by passionblack at 8:25 AM on January 8, 2001


his response was "you bet i'm sending a message, that if you work hard and make the right choices in life you can accomplish anything."

Alternatively, if you loaf about and have the right relatives/contacts/judges, you can also accomplish everything.
posted by holgate at 11:35 AM on January 8, 2001


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