Labeling opposing group ‘terrorist’ does not garner support for anyone

When airports are inspecting shoes for bombs and snatching up nail clippers like they were machetes, it is apparent that the United States is not taking things pertaining to potential terrorism lightly. It would, however, appear that a member of the Bush administration cried wolf, but not in regards to al-Qaida or other evildoers. Instead, it was in response to criticism from educational organizations.

According to The Associated Press, Education Secretary Rod Paige referred to the National Education Association, the largest teachers’ union in the nation, as a “terrorist organization” at a private meeting with President George W. Bush at the White House.

It is completely moronic for a government official to imply that a union of educators that advocates better public schools nationwide is in any way affiliated with terrorism. The NEA’s most recent campaign is “Read Across America Day,” according to the official Web site, not “Teaching Kids How to be Suicide Bombers Day.”

Gov. Jim Doyle, D-Wis., told AP, “These were the exact words, ‘The NEA is a terrorist organization.'” There is no misquoting a comment as audacious as that.

President Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act has been a large focus of many governmental campaigns, so it is apparent that education is a priority on both sides of the political spectrum.

“(Paige) was implying that the NEA has not been one of the organizations that has been working with the administration to try to solve No Child Left Behind,” Gov. Bob Holden, D-Mo., told AP.

“(Paige) is, I guess, very concerned about anybody that questions what the president is doing,” Holden said.

It would appear then that Holden should check the primaries again, as it is pretty obvious that there are quite a few people in the United States who question what President Bush is doing.

Gov. Jennifer Granholm, D-Mich., told AP that Paige’s comments were supposed to be interpreted as meaning “we can’t be supportive of the status quo, and (the NEA is) the status quo.”

“But whatever the context, it is inappropriate,” Granholm continued.

That may well be the understatement of the year, as in no context what so ever is it appropriate to refer to an organization as a group of terrorists, except, of course, for terrorists.

The president of the NEA, Reg Weaver, issued a statement in response to Paige’s comment where he referred to it as “morally repugnant.” Weaver implied a lack of surprise from the comment as he stated, “… this is the kind of rhetoric we have come to expect from this administration whenever one challenges its worldview.”

It seems childish to start calling those who have different views names. Especially when those names are as controversial as a group known for causing an entire country damages in both material and psychological ways.