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I guess nothing should surprise me any more in the anti-intellectualism, celebrating ignorance, party of Palin, that is the modern-day GOP, but I must admit I’m taken aback by Rick Santorum’s recent remarks. First his claim that President Obama wants kids to go to college so they can be indoctrinated. Where they go in as good little conservative Christians and come out librul, Godless, communists. Never mind that Santorum went to Penn State, Pitt, and Dickinson Law School and it didn’t seem to have that effect on him. I guess he had his Satan shields up at the time.

Then his latest blast at the president, calling Obama a “snob” who wants your kids to go to college so they can be remade in his image. Unfortunately, the appeal to ignorance plays well with some:

“I thought that was brilliant,” said Angie Clement of Commerce, Mich. “Not everybody has to go to college. We need garbagemen, we need welders, carpenters.”

“Everybody can’t be equal,” agreed Paul Murrow of Milford, MI seated nearby. “Somebody needs to do the manual labor.”

Clement’s husband, Stephen, said Santorum was right on the mark when he said that Obama wants to send kids to get college degrees so as to produce more liberals.

“It starts down at the elementary school level with all this bullshit about diversity, pardon my French,” he said. “Diversity and sensitivity and all that crap. That’s the stuff that needs to be taught at home not by my teachers. My teachers need to be academic: Math, science, history, social studies, that sort of thing and keep political opinions out of it, bottom line.”

Yeah, I’m sure you teach what you call “diversity and sensitivity and all that crap” at home.

In his “snob” speech Santorum also had this to say:

“I know what it means to have those manufacturing jobs at that entry level to get you in there, and it gives you the opportunity to accumulate more skills over time and rise, so you can provide a better standard of living for your family.  And those opportunities are for working men and women — not all folks are gifted in the same way.  Some people have incredible gifts with their hands.”  

Mr. Santorum, may I invite you to join us in the 21st century. The days of getting a job on the line at the plant, putting in your 30+ years, and walking away with a gold watch and a pension are relics of a bygone era, kind of like your views on contraception. A piece by Adam Davidson at The Atlantic has two examples of how things work in the modern-day world of manufacturing.

One person went to community college (just what President Obama suggested in a speech to Congress in 2009)  where he studied algebra, trigonometry, calculus, and machine tooling. He makes $30 an hour and has job security at a fuel injector plant in South Carolina. The other person, who works in the same plant, didn’t get the education needed to advance. She doesn’t know trig, calculus, or computer programming language. She makes $13 an hour and can be easily replaced. No matter how gifted with her hands she may be, the path to advancement and the middle-class life she desires is directly related to her level of education.

Education is the key, Rick. Or does that make me a snob?

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