More broadly, I’m regretting the kind of discourse I fear will invade the Capitol when New Mexico’s 30-day legislative session heats up next week.
A Twitter response Wednesday to an innocent-sounding tweet by Skandera illustrates my concern.
The controversial education secretary-designate tweeted in the morning that her “little sister” — referring to the Big Brothers, Big Sisters program, a longstanding volunteer youth mentoring program that I much admire — was joining her for a day at the Roundhouse.
“Excited to have my little sister join me in the Capitol today (Big Brothers, Big Sisters day)! Happy to be a part of such a great program,” Skandera tweeted.
Fourteen minutes later, someone identified as @AngryNMTeacher, tweeted a response, attaching it to Skandera’s cheery note.
“Are you teaching her to lie to our citizens or ignore research, teachers, and parents like you do?” asked @AngryNMTeacher.
My point is not to defend Skandera’s policies, so intensely opposed by many educators. I’m just here to say that lack of respect, or hate, doesn’t help advance or resolve any debate.
Here, insults are perceived by both sides.
Many teachers think it was disrespectful for Republican Gov. Susana Martinez to appoint someone with no regular classroom teaching experience to mandate policy to the people who are doing the work every day in New Mexico public schools. The administration and many government observers think Democrats in the New Mexico Senate are disrespectful in trying to deny the governor the choice of whom she wants to carry out her administration’s policies.
My argument is that you have to bury the hatchets somewhere, that respect has to be given wherever possible, in order for debate to proceed and resolutions to be reached. Otherwise, it’s just Hatfields and McCoys, just a gang war.
And look at who gets caught in the crossfire. I can only hope that Hanna Skandera’s “little sister” didn’t see the tweet from @AngryNMTeacher.
I know it’s only a tweet. But tweeting clearly has become an element of public discourse, available for anyone to see.
I started tweeting only last August, figuring I needed to keep pushing my dinosaur bones forward. But I vowed when I started that Will Rogers would be my role model: If I didn’t have something good to say about someone or something, I wouldn’t say anything at all.
Today I am breaking my vow. @AngryNMTeacher made me do it.
I’m still cringing at the hateful-sounding suggestion that Hanna Skandera would teach her little sister to lie.
@AngryNMTeacher, I unfollow you.