The Arizona Senate has just decided to hand over its education system to a woman who believes the Earth is 6,000 years old, President Obama is poisoning its people with “chem-trails,” and American citizens should be forced to attend religious service. State Senate President Andy Biggs selected Senator Sylvia Allen (R-Snowflake) to be the chair of the Arizona Senate Education Committee, where she will serve as a “gatekeeper” for important education-related decisions and legislation. Because why not entrust your children’s education to a religious fundamentalist and conspiracy theorist?
Allen’s record is utterly disgraceful on a number of counts. It goes without saying that her rejection of modern science should immediately disqualify her from any position of educational leadership. Although science tells us that the Earth is over four billion years old, Allen accepts the fundamentalist Christian doctrine that the Earth is only 6,000 years old. She has even argued that because the Earth has been around for 6,000 years, we don’t need environmental regulations! Second, she appears to have no regard for the U.S. Constitution.
Earlier this year, Allen interrupted a discussion on gun control in order to promote a law that would make religious attendance mandatory. “Probably we should be debating a bill requiring every American to attend a church of their choice on Sunday to see if we can get back to having a moral rebirth.”
Third, she is an open conspiracy theorist. In 2013, she posted a lengthy message on Facebook endorsing the renowned (and baseless) conspiracy theory that the condensation trails that are sometimes visible behind planes are in fact chemicals that the government is spraying on us for some nefarious purpose. “I have watched the chem-trails move out until the entire sky is covered with flimsy, thin cloud cover.” Unfortunately, there is a much more plausible explanation for such trails, like condensation.
Finally, Allen shows no regard for the law, either. According to Navajo County Sheriff K.C. Clark, Allen interfered with an investigation into her son-in-law, a corrections officer, after accusations that he was sexually assaulting female prisoners. “She was interfering in the investigation,” Clark said. “At one point, I had to go to the county attorney and say if she gets in my way, I’m going to book her for interfering in the criminal investigation.”
Allen does not appear fit to serve in any public office, but as chair of the Education Committee, she will exert power over important decisions regarding educational funding, curriculum, and more. Doubtless, she will attempt to use such power to promote her fundamentalist, science-denying, paranoid worldview, all at the expense of Arizona’s schoolchildren. With these kinds of “leaders,” it is no surprise that America fails to make the top 20 nations when it comes to children’s education. We weep for the children of Arizona this night, and wonder how the hell anyone could possibly consider this woman qualified to be dog-catcher, let alone a senator.
Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.