Arizona legislators: beware the Dark Side


If you've ever watched Star Wars, you might notice that it's really easy to pick out the bad guys. Their lightsabers are red, while the good guy lightsabers are almost always blue or green.



If only it were as easy to distinguish the ""good guys"" and ""bad guys"" among our state's politicians, whom are color-coded in all the wrong ways.

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In this galaxy, ""red"" and ""blue"" indicate differences in ideologies and interpretations, not moral leanings. Unfortunately, there seems to be more than sufficient reason to judge anyone with a different colored lightsaber as the ""dark side"" of the Force.



If we hope to get anywhere, we need to at least come to a consensus that when it comes to navigating the complexities of electing officials to run our government, gross generalizations based on party lines are not the droids we're looking for.



Thankfully, the recent elections have made it more than obvious that there are new Sith among Arizona's legislature, and it's got nothing to do with political affiliations.



Enter Darth John Huppenthal, newly elected superintendent of public instruction, who, prior to his election, promised to ""take his fight against ethnic studies programs to the University of Arizona if he is elected state superintendent of public instruction,"" according to an October issue of the Arizona Capitol Times.



That's right, folks. Huppenthal promised to take Tom ""Palpatine"" Horne's insidious banning of ethnic studies classes to the next level, using his Board of Regents vote to determine which races and cultures we can study at the UA. If that doesn't sound like the slimly machinations of a Hutt, I don't know what does.



According to an interview with local news station KGUN9, Huppenthal asserts that, ""No school district has a right to provide incorrect, unfactual American history that pits a class against another. It's unhealthy and if that's what(‘s) going on, there's going to be a confrontation.""



Sounds good, but it might just be another Jedi mind trick. To help you decide, let me just share an excerpt from an August interview with Huppenthal from the Tucson Citizen:



John Huppenthal: The Founding Fathers …



Tucson Citizen: Even Jefferson who owned slaves?



John Huppenthal: Even Jefferson who owned slaves.



Tucson Citizen: How is that freedom?



John Huppenthal: Well, he was the writer of the ""Declaration of Independence.""



Tucson Citizen: He also owned slaves.



John Huppenthal: Well, there's no problem with that.



It's the realistic possibility that Huppenthal was elected solely because his name was tied to a divisive color-coding system that discourages us from making critical decisions to separate candidate from the party line they represent.



Huppenthal's opponent was a decorated educator with years of experience with school administration on a state level. Despite serving on committees dealing with education in the Arizona Legislature, this is Huppenthal's first education appointment. He has never taught a class, never worked in a school with students.



To quote a certain smug-faced smuggler, ""I've got a bad feeling about this.""



You'll note I never indicate the political party of any of the politicians mentioned in the article.



Why would I? It would add no further context to the stances and experience of either candidate. All it would do is muddle the issue into a game of team loyalties that had done nothing but undermine the principles of our government for decades.



And yes, it's easy to point fingers and make judgments retroactively, but that's not the point. After all, it's much easier to make productive observations when there's no election at stake.



Instead, I hope that by illustrating situations like these, where under-qualified candidates with questionable agendas are poised to restrict our educational experience based on something as silly as race, we'll be motivated to do something about it in the future. We'll do our part as voters and as responsible human beings, to look past party politics and evaluate each politician based solely on their merits as a person.



Do or do not. There is no try.



— Remy Albillar is a senior majoring in English and creative writing. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.



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