It has been a few weeks since I have posted an episode of Rhubarb Ruminations. It’s not that there hasn’t been plenty of Rhubarb in the news of late. Frankly, the truth that is the world of news is almost always stranger than fiction. Besides, the insanity that is college football has taken my attention away from the insanity that is the news of the world. But it is now time for yet another dose of Rhubarb-ination. Once again, I will run the gamut from sport to religion and politics. Strange bedfellows, indeed.
1. Speaking of strange, as in “the land of strange drug testing and athlete doping stories”, we have none other than cyclist Alberto Contador and runner LaShawn Merritt. Rumor has it that Tour de France champion Contador ingested some clenbuterol in some Spanish meat. Sounds plausible, yes? Perhaps. But how about the plasticizers that the drug police found in his blood along with that clenbuterol? Yummy. Innocent until proven guilty, Alberto, but one has to wonder.
And in the “are you serious?” category – LaShawn Merritt, 400m gold medalist in Beijing, received a 21 month suspension. The charges? He tested positive for an over-the-counter male enhancement product. No witty repartee necessary here, but I have to admit that that is the craziest drug offense I have ever heard.
2. This certainly won’t be the first or last time that you’ll hear me discuss the First Amendment and the separation of church and state. How a Canadian living in Texas has managed to find this so important, while most Americans just don’t seem to care, bewilders me to no end.
With that in mind (and taking in a deep breath), we can now note the strange world of the Texas Board of Education.
Apparently, they have resolved that there is a “pro-Islamic/anti-Christian bias” in social studies texts. I guess that the net results of that should be reflected in the young adults of our country who have been exposed to all of these “inequities”, yes? I can’t say that I have witnessed this in our popular culture. Oh, and I suspect you haven’t either.
So what’s the deal here? Just remember – the Board has a GOP majority. It is a group that has been known to start meetings with Christian prayers. Let us not forget that these people are also responsible for the education of our youth, and the future development of (what we hope will be) responsible adults that will attempt to have a reasonable and responsible view of the Constitution and that sacred First Amendment. As the LA Times noted,
It's particularly odious to see a government agency, especially one responsible for educating children, single out a religion and seek to diminish its status in world history.
Frankly, I want my church and state separated – hold the mayo, and with a side order of rhubarb, of course.
3. And while we’re talking about the First Amendment – let’s discuss none other than Christine O’Donnell, Delaware Republican senatorial candidate. Ms. O’Donnell was involved in a debate with Democrat Chris Coons at Widener University Law School in which she made a public display of her ignorance of none other than the First Amendment:
"Where in the Constitution is the separation of church and state?" O'Donnell asked him.
When Coons responded that the First Amendment bars Congress from making laws respecting the establishment of religion, O'Donnell asked: "You're telling me that's in the First Amendment?"
I would suggest that that alone would be reason enough to not vote for her – Republican or Democrat alike. An understanding of the Constitution and Bill of Rights certainly would be helpful for someone attempting to lead the country.
Though she eventually lost the election, she did gain 40% of the popular vote. That, my friends, is the bigger concern. Ponder that for a moment – 40% of Delaware voters were quite prepared to overlook her ignorance. Maybe politics has just become yet another reality TV show gone awry. Our Founding Fathers must be rolling in their graves at this very moment.
Photo credit: abesselink