Editorials: End the churches’ veto on sex education; and Today’s Republicans

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What do those who marched against it know about the Law 61 sex education proposal?
A Spanish-language video report by Mauricio Valenzuela and Hugo Vera.

 

Time to take away the churches’ veto on sex education

Astroturf is imitation grassroots. Astroturf is a march against sex education in the public schools, largely composed of religious school students and their marching bands whom religious authorities have drafted into the cause. Astroturf is the draftees and the true believers marching through the drizzle and the reverends of would be mega-churches that they hope will pay very high salaries riding in an SUV. Astroturf is a political campaign that, notwithstanding the Bible’s injunctions about about bearing false witness, is founded upon lies about the sex education programs that are contemplated. Astroturf is about a significant but relatively small minority of the population insisting on a “consensus” that allows them to veto any public policy reaction to the on average 32 teenage girls who get pregnant every day.

Sex education in the schools is a no-brainer, and proposed Law 61 is a modest and way overdue step in that direction — a giant stride for Panama in the face of bad faith objections and scare tactics that have worked here for many years. But then, followers possessed of faith without brains is a lucrative business for some.

 

Trump is a symptom, but the problem is the GOP

I’d much rather find out whether or not anchor babies are citizens because a lot of people don’t think they are. We’re going to test it out.
Donald Trump

 

Donald Trump has “moved toward the middle” — of the Republican Party — with his choice of Indiana Governor Mike Pence as his running mate. That’s a problem for America, because Mr. Lincoln’s party is way off the deep end these days.

In the first two Republican administrations, between 1861 and 1865, Americans fought a terrible Civil War in which more than 600,000 people were killed. In the aftermath of that war, a republic that was Republican-dominated at the time passed the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments to the US Constitution. The 13th banned slavery and the 15th banned discrimination against former slaves. The most far-reaching of the post-Civil War amendments protected people from punishment by the states without due process of law, extended federal concepts of equal protection under the law to states and provided that every person born in the United States is a citizen of both the United States and any state in which she or he might reside.

Donald Trump promises to defy the constitutional principle of birthright citizenship, using racist slurs to justify it. Mike Pence also sponsored legislation while he was a member of Congress to define away that right.

In Congress, and repeatedly as governor of Indiana, Pence has promoted unconstitutional measures to establish his personal religious views — he’s a convert to a particularly hardcore sort of Evangelical Protestantism — that bar business dealings with homosexuals, insurance companies covering birth control services, and of course, abortion under any circumstances.

The old conservatism of avoiding anything too novel, paying for government programs as one goes rather than running up debts, maintaining the rule of law and paying attention to the traditional views of the broad mainstream of “Middle America” are out the GOP window these days. Today’s Republicans are the party of mass imprisonment, race baiting, gay bashing and female servitude. Their latest platform plank, a gesture to the Bundy family and the “sovereign citizen” and “patriot” militias who outright reject the validity of the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments, is to privatize most of the federal lands in the western part of the country — including the national parks that were set up by a Republican president of yesteryear, Teddy Roosevelt.

It promises to be an ugly presidential race between two unpopular major party nominees, but there is and will be a difference. The United States might muddle along by making a few changes around the margins to a corrupt and dysfunctional system that many American, probably most Americans, dislike. The Republican alternative is a return to the plantation economy.

 

Bear in mind…

It may be necessary temporarily to accept a lesser evil, but one must never label a necessary evil as good.
Margaret Mead

 

The best means to prepare citizens to satisfy their future responsibilities as those who are governed or those who govern is to make use of the right to an education.
Ricardo J. Alfaro

 

Every new opinion, at its starting, is precisely in a minority of one
Thomas Carlyle

 

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