The State Board of Education, as the whole country knows, has a history of attracting candidates whose idea of “education” is cramming extremist ideology into Texas curriculum and textbooks. Extremist, however, may be too mild a term to describe the comments attributed to Mary Lou Bruner, a tea party-endorsed candidate in this year’s Republican primary for the board’s District 9 seat.
What I really would like to say about Ms. Bruner’s views would be unkind. So let me let her speak for herself.
Here are some of her more outrageous, prejudicial and head-in-the-sand pronouncements and viewpoints, according to a compilation by the Texas Freedom Network:
# “Obama has a soft spot for homosexuals because of the years he spent as a male prostitute in his twenties. That is how he paid for his drugs.”
# There were dinosaurs on Noah’s ark, but they “may have been babies and not able to reproduce.”
# Slavery was a minor issue in the Civil War and there is no need for Black History Month, Mexican-American History Month or any other formal recognition of the historical contributions of minorities to the United States.
# “Islam is not a religion. Islam is an inhumane totalitarian political ideology with radical religious rules and laws and barbaric punishments for breaking the religious rules.”
# “The Climate Change HOAX was Karl Marx’s idea.”
# Conspirators in the Democratic Party had President Kennedy assassinated so that they could promote Lyndon Johnson – “a socialist and an unethical politician” – to the White House. “They got rid of the good guy; in the end, they got a socialist president which is what they originally wanted.”
The list, I am told, goes on.
District 9 is an open seat because, unfortunately, the incumbent, intelligent Republican Thomas Ratliff, one of the better SBOE members of either party, is not seeking reelection. TSTA is supporting Keven Ellis, the Lufkin ISD school board president, in the District 9 Republican primary race. He not only knows a lot about education and cares about students and educators, but his views also are grounded in reality.
The winner of the Republican primary likely will win the general election because the district, which stretches across a large part of East Texas, is heavily Republican.
Don’t be misled by the unfortunate fact that Bruner is a former teacher. I have great respect for teachers and am grateful that she no longer is actively polluting the classroom. That will change, however, if she wins this election. Let’s keep her on the sidelines.