Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Partly Cloudy Night 33° Partly Cloudy

Time to mess with Texas

Signe Wilkinson had a provocative cartoon in Friday’s paper showing that students who skipped the “Obama indoctrination” missed out on the indoctrination known as The Pledge of Allegiance. Schools also implement programs such as Character Counts. The crux of the controversy isn’t whether something is indoctrination; it’s whether you agree with it.

Some opponents pinpointed suggested lesson plans offered by the U.S. Department of Education, which they said were designed to enhance the cult of personality surrounding President Barack Obama. Those plans were then rewritten to address the objections. In Texas, the board of education is trying to settle on an acceptable history textbook for the post-Reconstruction Era. A draft was released in July, and the Talking Points Memo blog has reported on it.

Indoctrination foes should be mortified.

One section says, “Describe Ronald Reagan’s role in restoring national confidence, such as Reaganomics and Peace with Strength.” Another wants students to “identify significant conservative advocacy organizations and individuals, such as Newt Gingrich, Phyllis Schlafly, and the Moral Majority.” No liberal counterpoints are mentioned.

Normally, I wouldn’t care, because I don’t live there, but textbook publishers are very interested in what Texas wants because it has the second-largest student population in the country. If they can sign up Texas, that’s money in the bank. But to do that, publishers might have to put up with those partisan lesson plans. And because it’s not cost-effective to produce multiple versions, the texts can end up in other states.

Keep in mind this is merely a draft and there will be a lot of debate before a final version is produced. But opponents of indoctrination ought to get busy.

Liars. Now Democrats have a Joe Wilson they can be mad at. He’s the congressman who called President Obama a liar during his health care address to Congress. It would be easy to join in the bashing. It’s a no-brainer, which is the kind of thinking I do best.

But I have to confess that when I re-examine what happened I can’t get too excited. He said what he honestly was thinking at an inappropriate time, apologized and came out of it the loser. Now some Democrats are pressing the issue by saying the apology wasn’t sufficient.

In other words, this mini-scandal is following the same script as all of the others. Dumb thing is said. Speaker is bashed. Apology is issued. Apology is deemed insufficient. Congress would do this nation a great service if it passed a law mandating the proper way to apologize, though it would rob cable TV of hours upon hours of programming.

I appreciate the concepts of civility and comity as the nation debates the great issues of the day. But when you have to be dishonest to uphold those principles, it all seems so absurd. And it happens in Congress every day.

Republican: “My esteemed colleague from the great state of Massachusetts would have you believe that a socialist solution that would warm the cockles of craven communists’ hearts while chilling the liberties of freedom-loving Americans is the best course for this great nation to take. I humbly submit that this nefarious proposal from the gentleman from Massachusetts would erode the very foundation of this great republic.”

Democrat: “While normally dazzled by the impressive intelligence of the senior senator from the rarefied Republic of Texas, I cannot condone the ruinous rhetoric that might as well be emanating from the despicable public relations departments of the greedy special interests that the humble servants of this great body are attempting to corral.”

I humbly submit that this is an exaggeration, but not by much. I don’t condone name-calling, but can we hold the baloney, too?

Smart Bombs is written by Associate Editor Gary Crooks and appears Wednesdays and Sundays on the Opinion page. Crooks can be reached at or at (509) 459-5026.
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter

Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.