Wednesday, April 4, 2018

#1991: Al Melvin

That there is a strain of anti-science and anti-reason in some state legislatures is hardly a surprise, and the Arizona State Senate is an example. The Arizona State Senate used to feature Al Melvin (2006–2014), who had – note – also teaching background from the University of Arizona. In 2014, Melvin voted against implementing Common Core in Arizona public schools, because (he had heard that) some of the reading material is borderline pornographic, and that the program uses fuzzy math, substituting letters for numbers in some examples. That’s right: Math with letters is a liberal conspiracy (presumably because letters often don’t have fixed values).

The same year he received some attention for his interview with Anderson Cooper regarding his support for Arizona SB 1062 (passed in the Senate but vetoed), designed to allow religious people to discriminate against others (particularly the LGBT community) if they felt offended by the existence of those people. Melvin was unable to come up with a single example to justify the bill, which was ostensibly introduced to protect “religious freedom” (with Melvin being presumably dimly aware that citing bigotry on its own wouldn’t rub well with his audience), but instead tried to reassure his audience by stating that he was himself unaware of anyone in Arizona who practiced discrimination against gay people, which is, needless to say, not particularly reassuring.

Diagnosis: One might wonder what effect Melvin’s approach to math might have had on Arizona’s budget discussions (or perhaps he doesn’t want the good people of Arizona to be able to double check his numbers). But as much as he is a moron, Melvin is at least equally a bigot. Fortunately he got knocked out in 2014, but you never know when and where people like him might reappear. 

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