Fox News culture warrior Todd Starnes is appalled -- as are some of his fellow wingnuts, including a rather famous one from Alaska -- because a completely fictional class assignment in a Florida high school bears a disturbing resemblance to ... the completely fictional thing wingnuts found in the Affordable Care Act a few years ago:
A classroom of 14 and 15-year-old Illinois high school students were assigned the task of deciding the fate of ten fictional characters in an exercise that critics called a lesson in death panels.Yeah, right -- this assignment is preparing impressionable young people to accept a thing that doesn't actually exist. You'll recall that what the right referred to as "death panels" were actually completely voluntary end-of-life medical planning sessions. The Affordable Care Act, as originally written, would have covered the cost of these sessions. But they were struck from the bill because right-wingers were horrified at what they thought the discussions were (or, rather, what political hatchetwoman Betsey McCaughey claimed they were).
The assignment was part of a sociology unit for freshmen and sophomore students at St. Joseph-Ogden High School and was first reported by writer Lenny Jarratt.
The lesson involves 10 people who are in desperate need of kidney dialysis....
But there's a problem. The local hospital only has enough machines to support six patients.
"That means four people are not going to live," the assignment states. "You must decide from the information below which six will survive."
According to the worksheet I received, the student opted to spare the doctor, lawyer, housewife, teacher, cop and Lutheran minister....
Among those unceremoniously dispatched to the hereafter were an ex-convict, a prostitute, college student and a disabled person.
It sure looked like a lesson on death panels to Jarratt.
"The first thing I thought was they were desensitizing kids to death panels," he told me. "They are preparing them for it."
And as for this completely fictional classroom assignment? Brian Brooks, the principal of the school in question, strenuously disputes the wingers' interpretation:
The assignment you are referring to is not a "Death Panel" assignment. The assignment is one in the sociology unit of our Introduction To Social Studies class. The purpose of the assignment is to educate students about social values and how people in our society unfortunately create biases based off of professions, race, gender, etc. The teacher's goal is to educate students in the fact that these social value biases exist, and that hopefully students will see things from a different perspective after the activity is completed. The teacher's purpose in the element of the assignment you are referring to is to get students emotionally involved....Well, Sarah Palin is certainly emotionally involved:
Friends, please see the article linked below. Consider this school teacher's assignment which mandates that kids undertake the task of deciding the fate of characters in an exercise that can obviously be considered a numbing lesson in "death panels." Unbelievable.What does this have to do with American exceptionalism? Or Steve Lonegan? Beats me. I don't even know what the hell it has to do with the government, or D.C. The point is to get kids thinking about ethics and values and prejudices.
We’ll be in NJ this Saturday to rally for Steve Lonegan for the U.S. Senate to thank his supporters for pushing back against Obamacare and to halt D.C.-inspired nonsense like this.
We should hope that influential adults could teach the next generation that it is never ethical, it is never right, for our government to take steps towards the destruction of the sanctity of innocent life. And the way to do that is for our culture to condemn and reject the insensitive callus that grows in a society by this kind of thinking. The teacher could hopefully explain how Orwellian and wrong this thinking is. And she'd go on to declare our right to LIFE, liberty, and the pursuit if happiness, upon which American exceptionalism was built. I challenge her to do so.
And by the way, Sarah, there's a thing called triage that is an actual part of actual medicine. Real medical professionals sometimes actually have to decide how to apportion limited medical resources. It's even constitutional!
But no, this has nothing to do with "death panels." Now, I only hope, for their sakes, that this teacher and principal have unlisted phone numbers. And bodyguards.
(Via Fox Nation.)