Texas has never been the most enlightened of states, but a potential new member of the Texas Board of Education might be poised to drag the state even further back into the dark ages. Mary Lou Bruner, 68, is a retired school teacher from Smith County, Texas. Back in 2010 she testified before the board that she believed "Middle Easterners" were "using their influence" to "get what they want" into Texas textbooks. (What exactly "Middle Easterners" wanted to insert into textbooks was never made clear.) Now she's running for a seat on the board herself. She only received 48 percent of the vote in a three-person GOP primary, but according to the Washington Post, she'll likely win in the run-off election and go on to beat her Democratic opponent.
However, one of the reasons Bruner failed to win the full 50 percent is because of her incredibly troubling social media presence. A bipartisan watchdog group called the Texas Freedom Network recently published a series of Bruner's actual, real-life Facebook posts, and let's just say the're more than a little problematic. In one she wrote:
“Climate change has nothing to do with weather or climate; it is all about system change from capitalism (free enterprise) to Socialism-Communism. The Climate Change HOAX was Karl Marx’s idea. It took some time to ‘condition’ the people so they would believe such a ridiculous HOAX.”
She also takes issue with President Obama:
“Obama has a soft spot for homosexuals because of the years he spent as a male prostitute in his twenties. That is how he paid for his drugs. He has admitted he was addicted to drugs when he was young, and he is sympathetic with homosexuals; but he hasn’t come out of the closet about his own homosexual/bisexual background.”
And with Islam:
"Islam is not a religion. Islam is an inhumane totalitarian political ideology with radical religious rules and laws and barbaric punishments for breaking the religious rules.”
Texas' Board of Education already has a questionable history when it comes to approving the content of textbooks. As the Post points out, the Thomas B. Fordham Institute gave Texas' standards for social studies textbooks, which were passed in 2010, a "D" rating. "The document distorts or suppresses less triumphal or more nuanced aspects of our past that the Board found politically unacceptable (slavery and segregation are all but ignored, while religious influences are grossly exaggerated)," the institute wrote in its review.
It went on, "The Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) has openly sought to use the state curriculum to promote its political priorities, molding the telling of the past to justify its current views and aims. Indeed, the SBOE majority displayed overt hostility and contempt for historians and scholars, whom they derided as insidious activists for a liberal academic establishment." Based on what we know of Bruner, she's likely to carry on that tradition.