Commentary: What a disaster Susana Martinez has been!
Recent investigative journalism suggests that some of her apparent “pay-for-play” conduct involved law-breaking, at least by the folks who paid her to disregard our interest to serve theirs; and her Education Department has released new anti-science rules for teaching science.
She wrongfully destroyed mental health facilities to clear the field for Arizona companies that had contributed to her campaign.
According to The International Business Times, investment firms that gave Martinez and her supporters $1.2 million saw huge amounts of public money (in educational retirement funds and state investment funds) move from safer investments to those firms, with nice management fees. Those deals may have broken federal securities laws. State Rep. Bill McCamley has asked AG Hector Balderas to investigate whether they broke state campaign laws. Martinez chairs the State Investment Council, which oversees about $20 billion in state funds. Will those funds go the way of our mental health facilities?
Meanwhile, her Education Department wants to weaken the teaching of science by avoiding evolution, ignoring the scientific consensus that the Earth is nearly 4.6 billion years old, and hiding our heads in the sand about global warming. A national team of scientists and teachers developed a plan for science teaching; but either Susana knows better or it's politically inconvenient to teach science honestly.
Will teachers tell students that heavy things may fall toward Earth when they're dropped, because God has a heavy hand? Lion cubs may result from adult lions mating. The seas may be rising because God is blowing them up like a balloon.
I'm all for healthy skepticism about scientific conclusions. Leeches and shock treatments were once standard treatments. Eggs are healthy or unhealthy, depending on the decade.
But science is right more often than it's wrong. It reaches conclusions by the method best calculated to approach Truth: the scientific method, stessing experiments and evidence, not the pronuncements of some seer, potentate, or astrologist. Test everything – then test it again.
I loathe what Susana and her minions are trying to do because I like honesty, candor, and evidence-based arguments. I dislike greedy politicians telling artists what they can create or scientists what their experiments should and shouldn't discover. I respect people's religions and ideas, and fight for their rights to express them; but I'd appreciate the same courtesy. Let our government govern, not waste time trying to protect religious beliefs. It's no coincidence that just when New Mexico is “adjusting” science to religion, Turkey's government is doing the same. No one religion or nationality has a corner on the arrogance market. There are stupid leaders everywhere.
Everyone from unemployed workers to the Chamber of Commerce says we need business development. All the experts say an educated work-force is one major quality companies look for. Many are tech companiesm whose products are based on science.
For businesses to function in this modern world, a solid knowledge of science is essential. Imagine trying to build ships to navigate the universe if we still taught that the flat Earth was its center. If Earth is a few thousand years old, as some religious extremists say, were fossils and petroleum inserted into rocks by mischievous atheists?
Republicans would offer us Steve Pearce as our next act. Someone who thinks women should obey their husbands; and whose political success depends on pretending global warming is a myth, oil and gas never pollute wells and streams, and solar energy is impractical.
Political corruption knows no party. Like science, democracy is a process. We need to be skeptical of all political candidates. Test them. And monitor results closely.