Someone suggested to us at the end of Donna Edwards’ concession speech after she lost to Chris Van Hollen for the Senate seat currently occupied by Barbara Mikulski she should have dramatically dropped her microphone.
In her scathing comments she decried the plight of our state as she lamented we were about to send an all-male contingent to represent us in the federal government.
That would be a bad thing according to Edwards.
Her concern, a well-founded one, is that women and minorities are underrepresented in government.
But her logic fails because she implies that under no circumstances should it be okay to have just male members of Congress representing the state.
What if the shoe were on the other foot? What if someone were to say there should be, under no circumstances, an all-female contingent from the state representing us in D.C.?
Why we’d have a politically correct fit and a right proper one at that.
What if we simply demanded that our representatives actually were the best and brightest? Sometimes that might be an all-female, an all-minority or even an all-male delegation.
We have somehow drilled into our collective heads adequate representation means an equal number of minorities, women, men and those of the appropriate religion (Christian of course) commensurate with the breakdown of the actual make up of the population at large.
This is not logical Mr. Spock.
It comes from the realization that we must correct a horrible injustice: for many years women and minorities have been underrepresented and bullied by the federal, state and local government. Social mores have supported racism and discrimination. People have died speaking out against this.
But, tilting the playing field toward helping those who’ve been oppressed still creates a dangerously tilted playing field.
You cannot cure the oppression by taking the role of the oppressor. Martin Luther King had a similar sentiment and he was far better at those things than I. But his sentiment is sound.
In fact when we tilt the playing field to cure injustice it leads to further injustice and to cries of reverse discrimination. It leads to statements like, “You’re only here because you’re black,” or “You only got this job because you’re a woman.”
The playing field becomes a wobbly thing that resembles that scene in an Indiana Jones movie (not that one the other one) where people are scrambling to keep it level and die trying.
Maybe if the playing field is unbalanced someone got the job because they are the best qualified – but it gives the racist point of view a dangerous precipice from which to shout if we determine who is allowed to represent us based on the color of their skin, secondary sexual characteristics or which brand of God they worship.
The local school system is trying to tackle this particular situation right now with its Gifted and Talented program.
Many parents have come to us complaining that the county schools, in an attempt to close the learning gap are doing it by artificially allowing people who are not qualified to be in the Gifted and Talent program enroll in this program for “Non cognitive” reasons.
In other words, according to these concerned parents the school system is considering assigning spots in their highest academic programs based on the genetic makeup of the local school populace.
If 15 percent of the school population is of Asian descent then only 15 percent of the Asian students will be allowed into the Gifted and Talented Program – even if 23 percent of the students who qualify for the program are Asian.
Thus if less than five percent of another minority tests high enough to be in the program – yet the school population is comprised of 11 percent of that minority then people who otherwise would not qualify for the program will be allowed to join the Gifted and Talented group.
Thus the dumbing down of the country continues.
Rather than raise the standards we are finding ways to be all-inclusive despite the need – now more than ever – for qualified and better educated individuals.
Make no mistake. Everyone deserves an equal chance at success. Everyone should have the same paths available to them in education, the job market, in government, health care, economics as anyone else.
The color of your skin, your age, your religion, your gender or anything else should not be used as a way to discriminate against you.
Edwards did herself and the electorate a disservice by implying a privilege to serve which does not exist – particularly when many have pointed out her poor record of service.
The school system, if it changes its criteria as some parents fear it will, may produce more of those people who feel entitled to something they haven’t earned.
In the end we may end up with a Presidential candidate with a bad comb-over, orange “Ooompa-Loompa” facial makeup and a desire to build a stupid wall which cannot be built.