Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Ignorance abounds in Alabama… but, there are signs of hope & change!

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, March 18, 2014

I wouldn’t have believed it had I not seen it with my own two eyes.

Alabama State Senator Bryan Taylor's (R) response to a query on McCarthyism.

Alabama State Senator Bryan Taylor’s (R) response to a query on McCarthyism.

In a recent news report, it was mentioned that Alabama State Senator Bryan Taylor – whose Twitter presence and moniker is @SenBryanTaylor – recently Tweeted in response to a query mentioning late former United States Senator Joe McCarthy, that “Never heard of the guy, so I guess I’ll have to get the book, study up on him, and see if its credible.”

I’ve had at least an opportunity, or two, to engage Sen. Taylor on Twitter, whose less-than-erudite answers, and questionable comments in his capacity as an elected official startled me, and others. Sen. Taylor has also opposed the Common Core curriculum, which has been approved by 45 states, and is in the process of consideration in Alabama. His opposition to the enhanced and improved standards for curriculum is shared by most – if not all – Republicans in elected capacity at the state level. And, it was in context of Common Core that his remarks were made.

Alabama State Senator Scott Beason, also a Republican, and who is not seeking re-election, was commenting about some of the literary works cited in the Common Core curriculum in a story reported by the Anniston Star.

Reporter Tim Lockette wrote that, “Beason put his own flag on “The Crucible,” Arthur Miller’s play about the Salem witch trials. The senator thinks it’s unfair that the textbook attached a sidebar asking students about parallels between the witch trials and Sen. Joseph McCarthy and the Red Scare of the early 1950s, in which numerous writers and others — including Arthur Miller — were accused of having communist sympathies.

McCarthy was right about most of the people he accused, Beason claims.

“So we’re comparing the McCarthy investigations of the 1950s, in which he turned out to be right, with the Salem witch hunts,” Beason said.”

Several found Sen. Beason’s remarks startling, and I found Sen. Taylor’s remark equally startling, and sadly ironic.

The news article was at length, and had even more sad information as follows: “In a conversation Friday, (Talladega County Republican Party Chairman Danny Hubbard, a Common Core opponent – no relation to Alabama Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard) Hubbard walked the list back, saying his real concerns are about only two listed books: Morrison’s “The Bluest Eye” and “Dreaming in Cuban” by Cristina Garcia.

“”I don’t think anybody’s opposed to ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,'” he said. “It’s a classic. I believe it’s written by a fellow from Montgomery.””

Harper Lee, of course, is the Alabama author of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” however, she is a woman, and resides in Monroeville – not Montgomery.

What I find most dismaying about Sen. Taylor as an elected official is his utter ignorance.

On his official Alabama State Senate web page, he asserts himself as being an “Iraq War veteran, a Major in the Alabama National Guard, a practicing attorney, and a small business owner.” Most attorneys, if they are in private practice (as opposed to corporate practice), are considered businessmen by virtue of the services they provide. So holding oneself out as “a small business owner” in this case, would certainly have very little significance.

If he, as an attorney, and an officer in the Alabama National Guard (especially as an officer), does NOT know who Joe McCarthy is, he is a very ignorant man – ignorant of a very important part of our national history, and one that is not very distant at all.

Number two, if he is a product of Alabama schools, he is – by virtue of his remark – perhaps the best argument that could be made for seeking change in Alabama schools’ curriculum. For that one man’s name (Joseph McCarthy) should be upon the tip of every school child’s tongue, just as are the names of George Washington, Aaron Burr, Thomas Jefferson and Dwight Eisenhower.

Yet even more shocking is that Sen. Taylor was in an advisory capacity to former Governor Bob Riley, where he was Policy Director and Legal Counsel, and later resigned from the governor’s staff so he could seek the office vacated by former Alabama State Senator Sen. Wendell Mitchell (D), who held that position 30 years.

If Sen. Taylor is an example of what Alabama has in elected office, may God help us all.

There is a bright spot on the horizon, however.

In late October 2013, Sen. Taylor announced that he would not be seeking re-election to that office, and would re-enter private life.

UPDATE: 24 March 2014
The story earlier incorrectly identified “Hubbard” as Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard. In fact, “Hubbard” refers to “Talladega County Republican Party Chairman Danny Hubbard, a Common Core opponent.” There is no kinship between the two men.
We are happy to make the correction.

Official web page for Alabama State Senator Bryan Taylor (R)

Official Alabama State Senate web page for Alabama State Senator Bryan Taylor (R)

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