Friday, April 24, 2009

On Politics and Dissecting Wee Beasties

Okay.... I suppose I can begin offending people now. With "1" follower, and a newly found love of pontification, I feel sufficiently strong enough to spew out my opinions. Reader be warned, I have strange, intersecting, often borderline hypocritical opinions... but hey! I am a sociologist! Being borderline hypocritical should be part of the job description.

The state of Connecticut is considering making into law a bill that outlines a student's rights to abstain from the dissection of critters in science classes via moral objection.

I am not kidding. Really. Shut up! (Perhaps I will begin calling my little rants "Shut UP,"which is intended to mean: get out, no way, you can not be serious, etc.)

Hmmmm. How do I feel about this. Let me think for a nanosecond. WHAT? Why is it that we feel, as a society, this need to protect everyone from things that in the long run won't harm us, and yet we can not seem to figure out how to adequately provide ourselves with the basics like education, clothing, or shelter, and on and on?

Perhaps I should take a moment to add a qualifier: Let me be honest about my politics.

  • I am uber liberal for the most part
  • I truly believe everyone should have the right to do with themselves what they want. This belief includes choice of any kind: Pro choice on abortion, on suicide, on drug addiction and use, on self mutilitory practices, on anything that pertains to the self. It's your body you deal with it.
  • At the same time I have libertarian leanings. The kind that call for strapping on your gun and protecting your own property. (But I have to admit that I am a borderline agoraphobic as well as hypocrite, so this leaning may belong to that particular psychosis)
  • I am a socialist at heart. I believe that a doctor should want to be a doctor no matter what the pay scale. All the lyrics from John Lennon's "Imagine"... you get the picture

So there you go... I am a liberal, libertarian, socialist who votes democratic because democrats can't seem to get their message straight-- which is convenient because I am always able to find a candidate as confused about their stances as I am. Phew... now I can continue.

It isn't that I support cruelty to animals. I do not. It isn't that I want children to be exposed to things that would truly, psychologically harm them. I do not. It isn't even that I think children don't have rights.... well, I am still thinking that one through.... okay I thought it through. Yes, children do in fact have rights.

The Shut UP factor is this: When did we take this decision away from the educators? A good teacher (and yes I know I am being idealistic here, but someone has to) A good teacher would know the student and be able to judge that level of discomfort for themselves. Biology teachers across the country have been doing this just fine on their own. A few maybe not so good, but in that case, in a case where a teacher is inflexible, we have to ask questions about the instincts and fairness of our educators, not legislate an edict from on high that will allow "moral objection" to be abused... and it will. Mark my words.

I would have had a moral objection to the entirety of high school if given the chance. Sheesh.

Just in case you missed it, I am not opposed to free speech or protests. As a matter of fact here is the link to a site that can tell you all about students rights to object to animal cruelty:

The thing that scares me the most is what I remember about learning. I know that the things I hated learning; Latin, geometry, the layers of rocks, algebra, and yes, dissection of frogs, are the things that I remember, and still learn from. This can not be coincidence. Learning is not easy, or pretty. We all forget the fluff.

The thing that I am opposed to, is the idea that we take experience, or any other teachable moment, away from the kids and the educators who care enough to do their very best.

Now.. if you want to outlaw the entire practice, that is another story.


  1. Dear Professor Palmieri,

    I’ve been reading your blog, and I remember you mentioned that we could ask you to write about a topic. Could you write about partisanship and the budget? I’ve been following Governor Rell’s budget proposal, the Democrats’, and the Republicans’ “No Tax Increase Budget.” I’m more familiar with the Republican’s proposal since I had to write an article about it for my internship. This semester is coming to an end, so we won’t have time to discuss this in class, and I value your opinion an admire your ability to articulate your thoughts.

    So…before I continue to ramble, I wanted to know how you felt about the Republican’s alternative balanced budget. They’ve announced that their approach to Connecticut’s fiscal crisis would not raise taxes or cut municipal aid. However, given our state’s deficit and needs, that promise requires cuts and sacrifices elsewhere. For example, in order to uphold their promise, they would eliminate “unnecessary” and duplicative programs in Connecticut, by shrinking and streamlining 23 government agencies into 6. I am most interested in how this would impact the employees that work in these agencies and the families/people these agencies serve. The welfare system as I understand it is already complicated, now Republicans are suggesting that we put the CDA, CHFA, and CII into the DECD…that we consolidate the DPH, DCF, DDS, and DMHAS into the DSS, but isn’t this asking for a lot of changes? Are they really looking to cut/eliminate agencies because they feel it is unnecessary to have so many? Have they considered who is most affected by “rolling these agencies together” and “consolidating” them? Can the Department of Public Health, Dept. of Children and Families, Dept. of Developmental Services, and the Department of Social Services truly afford to be cut into the Department of Human Services?

    Furthermore, the No Tax Increase Budget would eliminate the Citizens’ Election Program and Funds, which would save the state $60 million dollars currently administered to provide candidates with public funding money for their campaigns, provided they agree to strict spending and fundraising rules. Now, I don’t know much about the distribution of these funds among candidates, but wouldn’t eliminating this hinder a candidate from a lower socio economic background from running for the state? Further, doesn’t this money allow candidates to run for office free of special interest money?

    I lied about rambling as you can tell, and I know you're busy, so I'll stop. I apologize if my e-mail doesn't make much sense, but I'm trying to understand this budget language myself, so...whenever you have time if you get to it and decide to write about it, I'll enjoy reading it!



  2. Sure! Let me do some research and I will blog about it tomorrow. Best!