Republican leaders share contempt for science, education

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Dear Editor:

If Elsie Arntzen were your batty aunt, she’d be kind of fun, inspiring incessant family gossip. As in, she did what? Noooo! Tell me more!

The problem is, she is our state superintendent, Montana’s chief public education officer, and she is doing a simply awful job of it. Her management has caused 90% of the Office of Public Instruction staff to abandon ship, fleeing her fanatical temper tantrums. Without their experience, OPI is no longer functioning, and superintendents across Montana are in open rebellion, circulating seething letters denouncing her leadership.

Probably she is incompetent, maybe even deliberately sabotaging public education. We might expect she would be alone in this, an outcast from the Republican Party, condemned for failing our children. But she isn’t. Other Republican officeholders, including Governor Greg Gianforte and Attorney General Austin Knudsen, all too clearly share her contempt for public education, professionalism, and science.

Governor Gianforte may be the single largest donor to a Biblical Creationism museum in Glendive, where visitors are informed that the earth is young and “the creation of all things occurred in six natural days.” Attorney General Knudsen recently dispatched a highway patrol officer to intimidate medical professionals into giving a major Republican donor horse deworming medicine to treat her COVID—the medical equivalent of bloodletting.

It is as if the whole purpose of the Republican Party is to turn Montanans into a herd of heavily armed hillbillies, ignorant, barefoot, and pregnant.

Wade Sikorski

Baker, Mont.