When we first brought you the story of the CSU East Bay teacher who was fired for refusing to sign the state’s antiquated loyalty oath (she later got her job back) I called for a legislator to “write a law to repeal this waste of paper.”
Yesterday’s Mercury News reports that State Sen. Alan Lowenthal has stepped up to the task:
The Long Beach Democrat has introduced a bill that would scrap statutes allowing teachers and other public employees to be fired for being members of the Communist Party.
The measure, scheduled to be considered Wednesday by the Senate Education Committee, also would drop a requirement that representatives of organizations seeking to use school facilities sign a form stating they do not have communist affiliations.
Lowenthal said the measure would drop old laws that were adopted at the height of the Red Scare following World War II and that have been found unconstitutional by the courts.
“Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the threat between us and communism just isn’t there…,” he said in an interview. “They are not a danger to our liberty, and the courts have uniformly said that.”
It’s been nearly 20 years since Communism ceased to be a threat to the United States, and 60 years since the height of the Red Scare that produced the current version of the oath. It has absolutely no value or relevance to the present day, and even in the 1950s was really just a tool to remove politically incorrect educators from the UC system, as well as a political opportunity for Earl Warren’s reelection bid.
Even a member of the Yacht Party, Chuck DeVore, agrees with this – last year he proposed eliminating the anti-communist language from the oath, only to replace it with language allowing the firing of teachers who “support terrorist groups.” That last part is very slippery language indeed, as both “support” and “terrorist group” are so vague and undefined as to be a threat to civil liberties (and besides, there are numerous federal laws dealing with the matter).
Still, most California wingnuts are apoplectic at the very idea of rolling back their beloved McCarthyism:
But some conservative groups and bloggers have sharply criticized the measure, contending it would lead to the indoctrination of students.
“Less than 20 years after the fall of the communist Soviet Union, California lawmakers are eager to once again begin advancing a political ideology responsible for the deaths of millions of innocent people,” Karen England, executive director of Capitol Resource Family Impact, said in a statement.
“Instead of promoting communism in our schools, lawmakers should be focused on actually teaching students to read, write and think for themselves.”
Right, because there are just SO many Communist teachers out there just waiting to turn their innocent young students into cadres for Raul Castro and Hu Jintao. But then again, if these wingnuts want to make these kinds of silly arguments, who am I to stop them? The more they expose themselves as so radical that they’ve lost touch with reality, the less Californians will listen to their ideas.
So kudos to Sen. Lowenthal for wanting to restore some sanity to state employment. As to groups like Capitol Resource Family Impact, don’t you have some more pressing concerns?