Republican Arizona school Superintendent John Huppenthal admitted to anonymously posting offensive and inflammatory comments to political blogs since 2010. He is now being pushed to resign from his position in light of admitting to writing the posts, like calling welfare recipients “lazy pigs.”
Other than showing outright insensitivity to the plight of poor people, he also railed against abortion advocates with the brazen comment that Planned Parenthood’s founder, Margaret Sanger, “fed 16 million African Americans into abortion mills.” If he’s trying to show some kind of compassion to black people, he’s doing so poorly with that shoddy attempt at race relations.
Yes, he did apologize for using “certain inflammatory words,” but the apology does seem to come off backhanded and disingenuous. He attempted to excuse himself by saying he was merely trying to encourage and participate in public, political discourse.
“I love talking about public policy, and I have a passion for engaging in debate,” Huppenthal said yesterday. “I probably have 300,000 words out on the internet, and 100 of them are getting me in trouble. When all of your missteps are there all together [sic] for people to see, it’s not a pretty picture.”
Remember, he posted all of his comments anonymously. He said he did so because he didn’t want his position to disrupt any open discussions on the internet. That anonymity could have also given him the cover he needed to make his disparaging comments. Would he have been transparent he would not have so openly said what he did, provided he had some common sense.
Granted, it may be that 100 words out of 300,000 getting him in trouble, but those words were horrible and outright ignorant.
One month after his election to superintendent, Huppenthal said, under a false name, that “We all need to stomp out balkanization. No spanish radio stations, no spanish billboards, no spanish tv stations, no spanish newspapers [sic]. This is America, speak English.”
He also commented on how Mexican restaurants should conduct themselves: “I don’t mind them selling Mexican food as long as the menus are mostly in English. I’m not being humorous or racist. A lot is at stake here.”
It’s angering to think that people like Huppenthal are allowed into such highly regarded positions, especially one where he has to manage and deal with an area with such diversity. Huppenthal is up for reelection this year, and it would be a tragedy if he maintained office, provided he doesn’t resign.