The Comedy of Terrors

I really have to thank the teachers’ unions. They have no reason to reinforce my arguments, but yesterday Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis and the Pennsylvania State Education Association unknowingly teamed up to illustrate how they can hold two mutually exclusive positions.

On Wednesday, Lewis compared Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner to an ISIS recruit. Yesterday, she defended the comparison with this tweet:

OK. Here’s the definition of domestic terrorism from the U.S. Code:

“Domestic terrorism” means activities with the following three characteristics:

* Involve acts dangerous to human life that violate federal or state law;

* Appear intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination. or kidnapping; and

* Occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the U.S.

We have to agree that Gov. Rauner’s actions occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the U.S.

So it was with an impeccable sense of timing that this story appeared, about a Pennsylvania state senate campaign. One Republican candidate, Mike Regan, was miffed that another Republican candidate, Jon Ritchie, was accepting contributions from unions, including the Pennsylvania State Education Association.

“It’s like Al-Qaeda saying they back George Bush,” he said.

PSEA responded with a press release, quoting union president Jerry Oleksiak and PSEA-Retired member Paul Wade, a Navy veteran.

“Any elected official who compares teachers to terrorists owes every educator in Pennsylvania an apology. Mike Regan should know better than to make such a ridiculous and outlandish claim,” Oleksiak said. “I’m sure the people who live in the 31st district are as disgusted by this as I am. It’s an insult, an outrage, and another example of why political discourse has sunk to an all-time low.”

“I served my country in the Navy for 20 years and then served kids every day in the classroom for another 20 years, and I don’t think I’ve ever heard anything as insulting as this,” Wade said. “This is the kind of politics that we should all reject. Al-Qaida is a brutal, murderous terrorist organization. Using their name to score political points cheapens the sacrifices made by America’s veterans, including my son, a Marine who served two tours in Afghanistan. Mike Regan owes me, every teacher I know, and every veteran I’ve ever served with an apology.”

Wade was wrong. Lewis was wrong. Rod Paige was wrong. One reader wondered if I reserved my criticism only for union officers who use the terrorism analogy. You can check out Item #3 from the February 23, 2004 EIA Communiqué to see if I’m consistent on the issue.

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