[This is an update to my previous post, Texas conservatives screw history, so you should read that first to get your blood to a rapid boil before reading this.]
The Texas State Board of Education member Don McLeroy -- creationist, antireality promoter, and stander-upper to experts -- was interviewed on ABC TV's Nightline program. Give this a listen, just in case you were thinking of cutting him a break... for whatever reasons I cannot fathom. Yes, how magnanimous of the rich white men to allow women the vote, or to give the blacks equal rights! [If the video doesn't load for you, go to the Nightline web page and click on Thursday's listing of Texas Textbook controversy, which should be up for a few more days.] I have been active on Twitter today mocking the new textbook standards, and a handful of people have taken me to task thinking I was mocking all Texans. That's ridiculous; I am clearly ridiculing the ten people on the Board who rammed this revisionist nonsense through... though you may feel free to expand that to the people who support them. And to the commenters on my original post and elsewhere defending McCarthy because there were in fact communists in America: shame on you. Seriously, shame on you. What McCarthy did -- and yes, it was a witch hunt -- was directly opposed to all the ideals of this nation: free speech, liberty, presumed innocence until proven guilty, and many more. He was only able to ferret out a handful of so-called communists, but even if he had been 100% successful in his efforts what he did was an abomination for anyone in this country, let alone a seated Senator in the United States Congress. He engendered fear and suspicion, a paranoia and chilling climate from which it took years to recover. He betrayed precisely what he claimed to be trying to protect, and will stand as an object lesson for future generations on what happens when our system fails so utterly. That is, he'll stand as that lesson for those who will listen. Clearly, some people didn't. It's a crying shame that this includes a majority of the Texas State Board of Education, because now it's entirely likely the lesson will be missed by a decade's worth of schoolchildren, too.
Tip o' the ten gallon hat to Robert Luhn of the wonderful National Center for Science Education for the link to the ABC interview.