Republican delegates got a gift in the mail today – a trifold pamphlet outlining the evils of the so called “Common Core” program in Education, claiming that it is an insidious and underhanded way for the federal guv’met to take over our schools and, therefore, our kid’s fragile little minds!
The reality, of course, is that core standards upgrade curriculum so that the state produces a higher quality of student. Good thing, right? I would say so. After all, good students mean quality students, quality students mean skilled workers, skilled workers mean higher pay, higher pay means higher quality of life, and Utah becomes an all around better place.
But none other than the infamous Gayle Ruzicka (seen here diligently defending Utah – Thanks Pride In Utah) of the Eagle Forum feels that Republican delegates need to know about the core curriculum, and more importantly, who voted for it – especially before this Saturday’s Republican Convention.
Now, I count about nine different ways I can take this blog post at this point: do I take the easy route and talk about how Gayle is up in the night? Do I support the core curriculum as a step in the right direction for our schools? Do I talk about how the Eagle Forum has far to much power in this state when their only real claim to fame (as near as I can tell) is that they are fantastic at harassing lawmakers? No, no, that is far too easy.
No, I want to talk about one line I found in the Tribune article that brought this all to my attention: “Ruzicka said the pamphlet isn’t the work of any group. She said there is one man — whom she would not name because he wants to remain anonymous — who paid to publish and mail the brochure.”
Yes, an anonymous backer is pumping , by my estimates, some $2,500 directly into our election process by attempting to directly influence delegates and, therefore, our elections.
$2,500 may seem like small change, and in many elections it is, but let us focus on the principal of the matter – our democratic system is so vulnerable to intrusion that an investment of a very cheep car could have a dramatic effect on the state for years to come.
In a related story, another wing nut, anonymous individual recently sent out a letter degrading Sen. Curt Bramble (R-Provo) in a presumed attempt to oust Bramble from office. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not a fan of Bramble in particular and the Republican party in general, but stories such as this point to the fundamental problem with our current election system. Anonymous individuals can easily influence a select group of individuals with very little effort.
The irony is that this happens to also be the strength of the delegate system – a candidate with passion and determination can, theoretically, oust a long time politician if they are better on the issues. But in that situation we know exactly who is funding the campaign and the motives behind their actions. Here we simply have a lone wolf who got a bug up their butt and feel it is far more important to promote their own agenda rather than think about the interests of the state of Utah. Even worse, let us consider the possibility that this individual actually does feel that they are promoting the interests of the state; if that is the case, than this individual does not have the conviction to stand behind what they have produced, depriving the public (or at least Utah Republican Delegates) of a fair and proper debate – and, in my mind, that is almost worse.
By depriving people of debate while simultaneously promoting your own agenda, you show that you care little for our democratic process. You show that you have no problem perverting the system that, when used properly, elevates the rights and dignity of people. Faceless individuals such as these are proving that there are deep cracks in our system and, perhaps, we should reevaluate the delegate system here in Utah and either reform or remove it from the process. The delegate system is proving to be moving away from its intended purpose of allowing the “everyman” to be elected, and instead is showing us just how easy it is to entrench candidates and influence elections.