Meet Senator Josh Brecheen, Part I: Fire From Heaven
What a go-getter! "You have to take what's thrown at you."
Except you don't - at least not in the context he's chosen for his little melodrama. That's why they give you a glove. So you can catch stuff. Just letting it bonk off your face is either reckless or clueless.
You're doing it wrong.
I'd let it go as just local political ad silliness, except it so perfectly represents how Brecheen uses whatever props are at his disposal - baseball equipment, Common Core documents, random phrases from scripture, etc. He straps them on and has a little morality play, but one whose meaning is predetermined by his unwavering agenda - not by anything his props actually do, or say, or mean.
I'm not suggesting he's necessarily dishonest. It's entirely possible he's genuinely that ignorant and self-deceiving. I'd like to give him benefit of the doubt, however, and assume he's merely cynical and exploitative, twisting the weaknesses of those he serves to promote his own agenda. I'm optimistic that way.
You may remember the Senator's famous diatribe against Common Core some time back on the floor of the Oklahoma Senate:
Weighty rhetoric. I can only wonder... WTF? What is he even SAYING?
I've no wish to challenge the assumption that Old Testament excerpts are an appropriate basis for educational legislation, but at least use them correctly.
"I'm amazed people don't know this." Yeah, me too, Senator - especially when they're reading it into the record. When relying on a holy book largely centered around a God so particular that minor violations often led to severe illness or the deaths of everyone you love, perhaps a little accuracy would be in order.
"Choose this day who ya who ya gonna serve" is not Elijah - it was said by Joshua in the 24th chapter of his own book in the Old Testament, not long before he died. Elijah DID ask, "How long will you waver before two opinions?" which is a similar sentiment, but said in a very different context.
Joshua was speaking to the chosen people of God at the end of a long period of relatively good times. His question was part of an extended recount of all the ways they'd been blessed by God, not from anything they'd done, but simply by being born into the right demographic. It could be paraphrased as "so you can keep going with the system that's worked out fairly well for you and left everyone else pretty much damned, or turn your back on a good thing and suck along with them."
This is not mockery of God or the Hebrew children, by the way - it's just that the rules were different back then. It was a harsher time with harsher gods, and a favorite source of inspiration for those today who find the inclusiveness and self-deprivation of the New Testament rather nice in theory, but annoying in practice. So... we quote the Old Testament.
Even if not always taken literally, it offers nice analogies for people doing pretty well today based on being born into the right demographic but believing they must really have accomplished something, and who feel spiritually or morally superior, seeing as how things seem to keep turning out so well for them - unlike those... 'others'.
So, yeah - I see the appeal of this for Senator Brecheen. But keep your Bible straight, son.
The story to which he intentionally refers is Elijah on Mount Carmel, as told in I Kings 18. Elijah is never a happy prophet. He's not generally welcome anywhere he goes because he's always criticizing the way leadership is doing things. He speaks a bit bluntly and sometimes people have no idea what he's talking about, but his words have power.
I'm a fan.
At Carmel he's pissed because the folks who are supposed to be running the government are repeatedly shown to be self-absorbed, lying, hypocritical bastards. They exploit and use those in their care, and serve gods of convenience and worldly pleasures rather than Yahweh - the "love your neighbor and don't be a perv" alternative.
Senator Bercheen successfully cast Common Core as Baal - a twist he'd have been able to identify as "irony" if he'd been schooled in its ten 'Anchor Standards of Reading', especially #4. (See what I did there? I cited my source accurately and used it in context to support my point. That's the kind of anti-American time-wasting I'm doing in class instead of having my kids memorize Emma Lazarus.)
But, let's go with that - Common Core is Baal. We'll even let Bercheen be Elijah - who calls down literal fire from heaven to consume the sacrifices being offered. He then orders the losers to be chased down and murdered with swords - literally, in Elijah's case, but hopefully metaphorically in the case of education reform.
But what a mindset! We're not debating pedagogy; we're destroying the unclean who refuse to follow our dogma.
It wasn't my example, folks - I'm just cleaning up the record. And it's irrelevant at this point whether you liked Common Core or not - that's not the issue. The issue is the character, methods, and goals of Senator Josh Brecheen and his ilk. If men of good conscience and some awareness wish to debate what's best for our children, let's have that discussion all day long. If they wish to sweep aside reason and experience to play the trump card of holy justice, then save it for the Middle Ages.
And before you accuse me of being too unfair, everying I'm using is from HIS YouTube channel and videos HE'S chosen to represent himself to the people.
You know it just got real when the dramatic strings drop out and it's just the reverb drums for awhile. It goes on for minutes and minutes, but this was my favorite bit:
Totes adorbs on the little helly-flames for SFC! Burn, you anti-Josh f*ckers, burn! Our little Elijah certainly is a feisty fella'.
Too bad there's not a Stand for Grammar group he gets along with. They could help with the sentence structure.
Brecheen does have some fans, however:
Hey hey hey! He certainly seems down-home values to me.
Well, there you go, then.
Brecheen may believe he's standing up for truth and justice and such. He just thinks those who disagree with him are hell-bound, at least metaphorically.
That's no excuse for not getting your facts straight, however - whether in regards to the scripture you're quoting or the curriculum standards you're opposing. Next time I'll finish looking at his convoluted condemnation of Common Core as a tool not of poor pedagogy or even Corporate Edu-takeover, but as a plot to turn your kids into little perverts having much better sex than you. After that we should probably break down the APUSH bills themselves and try to figure out which parts are openly insane, and which are thinly veiled harbingers of bigger, weirder things.
Some even weirder than this:
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