Rhonda Browning, a self-titled “educator” has written a letter that will be useful in a class that I teach.

In addition to teaching American government and history, I teach a class in language and composition. The first thing we work on is the use of language, and more specifically, the clear and careful use of words.

I wonder why she calls herself an educator. I am a teacher. I teach students. Exactly what does an educator do?

Browning is incensed that recent political decisions have not gone her way. Fine. She has every right, in our democratic republic, to make her voice heard, and even to join with others to persuade people to agree with her.

So do the people who disagree with her.

What society should demand of her is that she do so in a civil, coherent and intelligent way. While she may have the right to hurl vicious words at those who disagree with her, I would suggest that she temper her venom, at least in public discourse.

I would further suggest that her faith as a born-again Christian requires that she do so.

Browning claims that, “Politically and socially conservative hate groups masquerade as ?Christian’ and ?pro-family’ to be palatable to ?value voters’ and intimidate lawmakers ignorant or denying of the inclusive message of Christ” have led to a degrading of the “quality of life and economy in Baton Rouge.”

Her language is designed to demonize: They are an “infestation.” They support a “life-sucking perversion of Christianity.” They pressure lawmakers into “infesting Louisiana with bigotry.” They are “extremist political religionists.” They “clearly despise anyone who doesn’t or can’t drive.” They have engaged in a “blistering attack on the children of Louisiana.” They “disdain spending money,” and “freeze funding” making “disadvantaged children attend classes in rotten, dangerous buildings,” and to top it off, they have contributed to the “backwardness of state and local governments,” thereby causing high-tech businesses and educated people to avoid Louisiana.

Wow. I thought it was a poor public school system, poor roads and people who can’t tell the side of the road from a trash can that were keeping businesses from setting up shop in Louisiana.

The people Ms. Browning demonizes with her hate-filled rhetoric are just as entitled to their opinions on matters of public policy as she is. She believes the anti-bullying statute should have become law as written. The other side had problems with specifically protecting one segment of the population.

So argue about that, debate that, hash that out, but don’t write a letter that resorts to name-calling and hyperbole to distort the issues. Civil discourse. Now that would be progressive.

Robyn Verbois


Baton Rouge